Training Camp - How to

Despite the fact that there are already some threads about “Training camps”, I haven’t found any information on the following questions yet:

  • At which time of the season should a training camp be planned?
  • What should the time before and after the training camp look like (e.g. break between training blocks and before/after the training camp)?
  • How long should the training camp be (days, weeks, …)?
  • Which workouts should it include (e.g. sprints only :D)?

Any suggestions / ideas?

Thank you!

Existing comments from the guys on camps:

From this thread:

The typical answer is, it depends. When is your season, what adaptations are you looking to achieve, where do look to go to for the camp. Who else will be there for group rides.
I’ve found it takes 2 weeks after a camp for the benefit to come through. One mistake UK riders going to Mallorca make is doing too much. They’re used to riding 8hrs a week, then try for 25hrs in a week because the suns shining and their mates are there and no one has the sense to have rest days. Result is over reaching and catching a bug on the flight home!

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It really depends what you want to get out of a camp to answer your questions.

For example, you may want to hold an off-season camp for the sole purpose of breaking up the winter indoor training and using it to really work on extensive endurance/aerobic work that is an utter chore to do on the trainer for 4-6hr rides. Alternatively you could use a camp as a primer a few weeks before key race (allowing time for taper) so that you can solely focus on some of the pointier end things, or practice team tactics/lead-outs, skills/handling, etc.

Having attended a few team camps I’ll throw my 2cents into the mix in terms of feedback, as i’ve seen good and bad.

  • there needs to be structure, and this goes beyond just route planning. If the purpose is just to get out and ride and meet new teammates fine, but make that part of the structure and make sure everyone knows. If the point is to work endurance then make sure that’s communicated. Camps fall apart when people don’t know the purpose and there is no structure. No one ends up happy.
  • You can’t make it a smash-fest everyday. Going to the point raised by someone else, you can’t go from 8hr weeks to 25hr weeks and have it all be full-gas all the time. Likewise you need to build in adequete recovery.
  • Figure out your food situation in advance. If you’re cooking, having catering, going out, sort it all out before you go. There is nothing worse than coming back from rides, everyone tired and hungry and then trying to make plans, get food, sort out who is cooking. Catering for large groups is far easier/cheaper than people think and it takes a lot of hassle off the table. Just build it into the cost.
  • Have tools/workstand. Especially with larger groups something is going to break or need work. Making sure amongst the group there are the right tools there is key to avoid wasted time/days. Likewise don’t everyone bring everything, get a list in advance of key tools/items and delegate. If your bike needs specific tools bring them yourself. If you ride campy…go find a wizard somewhere else.
  • Pre-plan routes and days, but have bail-out options and flexibility. Weather happens, road issues happen, things go wrong. Your plans need to be able to be adjusted to deal with unforseen events.
  • To go along with the above, rider meetings are helpful in the morning to go over routes, talk about plan for the day, but also to point out potential issues you’ll find out on the road (ex. OK this stretch from C to D is a transition zone with minimal shoulder. Folks need to be single file and aware. etc) Plan the coffee stops/lunch points, point out where folks can shorten or extend routes if needed.
  • Another big issue i have seen is big discrepancies in riders at camp. We did a full team camp a few years ago with everyone from Cat4 to Cat1, mens and womens teams. Cat1 guys wanted to go long/fast, some of the women wanted shorter days…chaos. Plan for it, have ways to address it, be prepared to split on the road if needed
  • Number 1 rule…don’t ride like assholes in a big group…in team kit.
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