So this year was interesting coming off that big camp week. Every year I learn more and more about what the human body is capable of. A lot of that learning stems from the open mind I have been determined to keep when it comes to my own training and following the plan my coach sets out for me each week. I've written recently about going into training sessions without pre-conceived notions- I do believe that we convince ourselves we are tired/fatigued long before we are actually as tired/fatigued as we think we are (did that even make sense??)... Concrete point here- I would have thought maybe coming off a big solid block of work at camp that I'd want/need at least a few easy days to recover. Coach had a different take on it and I admit I gasped and laughed out loud when I saw the plan he wrote for me for the days following camp.
Had I been stuck on conventional wisdom or based my plan on what the triathlon magazines would have me doing, I'd have taken a few easy days. Maybe even a whole easy week! But the fact of the matter is, the sessions at camp went really well, I felt good, and I wasn't dragging ass at the end like one might anticipate. I noted that in my PWN on Training Peaks and coach read it and made the call to keep the ball rolling. So in the end, instead of a 5 day camp block, I really had more like a 10 day block with one easy day and now onto another normal week, which isn't altogether different than what a training camp might look like. #mylifeisatrainingcamp
The thing is this- you might think I'm an anomaly, but Kelly and Pam both finished camp then went home and raced on Sunday setting new PRs at 1/2IM and Olympic distance races. And I've seen power/garmin files from several others who attended camp and they were solid... not dragging ass but instead showing a nice fitness boost. So I think the keys to getting that boost in the aftermath of camp are as follows:
~Be as fit as you can be going in- the fittest athletes recovered the fastest.
~Execute camp workouts as intended (ie don't race every session).
~Fuel appropriately all the time (before, during, and after sessions).
~Get enough sleep.
~Don't shut it down completely immediately after camp- keep it rolling with active recovery sessions.
~Start back into training with some short HARD intervals to get your engine revving again.
~Don't let your brain get in the way of what your body can actually do.