Wednesday, February 17, 2016

On What It Takes To Succeed At Camp

I've attended a couple of training camps as an athlete, and I've run several as a coach. I've witnessed athletes have amazing breakthroughs and I've also witnessed major meltdowns. Here are some of my thoughts about what it takes to end up in the former group vs the latter...

~Have some solid fitness going into camp. You don't have to be in the shape of your life, but you don't want to be untrained either. Backing up 4-6 days in a row of big solid training requires a minimum level of fitness to achieve. Plus, the fitter you are, the better you'll absorb the work you do. If the camp completely thrashes you and you need two weeks to recover from it, you did it wrong.

~No matter how fit you are, be prepared to be humbled. Most athletes show up to camp with a desire to get their asses kicked, and they are ready to work hard. And while not every session is (or should be!) a race, when you gather up a bunch of fit and motivated athletes and set them off on their bikes in a warm climate, the pace is eventually going to ramp up. You'll probably find yourself on the rivet and it likely won't be you at the front. Having the opportunity to be around athletes who are fitter and faster than you should be a source of motivation... maybe a bit eye opening and maybe you leave camping thinking Wow if I want to be as fast as him/her I need to work harder.

~Have a good attitude and keep your negative thoughts to yourself. Everyone gets tired and grumpy and everyone is a bit out of their comfort zone, but if you're the one constantly verbalizing it you may find others wanting to avoid being around you.

~Take care to fuel and hydrate really well. You need to eat and drink more when training big and if it's warmer than you're used to (likely!), hydration becomes a bigger factor than it is at home. Screw this up one day and you might find yourself paying for it for the rest of camp.

~Above all, remember that camp is supposed to be fun! Look at your training sessions as opportunities, not as threats. Make an effort to get to know your fellow campers. Socialize. When you're done training, put your feet up! Drink a beer. Relax in the evenings. Enjoy the break from your normal life. That's why you came to camp!


Running hill reps were on the schedule today. I took the campers on a tour of my neighborhood hills... I still can't run so I stood on the sidelines and barked orders.

Maia led the athletes up the hill.

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