No Training Vacation? Try a Training Long Weekend Instead

by | Mar 12, 2021 | Lifestyle, Mindset, Training

Even in the ‘before times,’ often we’d hear from cyclists and runners who wanted to have a serious training block, but couldn’t take a full two-week riding-specific vacation, due to work, family or financial constraints. But here’s the thing: as we heard from researcher Alex Coates in her recent podcast episode, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, training camps are awesome—we love going on them and running them!—but they do need to be approached with caution and with a structure in place if you want to get results… and what we’ve found is that for a lot of people, holding your own long weekend DIY training camp at home can be a good way to boost training volume and get out of a motivational rut if you can’t get to a far-flung destination for training.

Pick your 3 or 4 day block

This could be in conjunction with a long weekend, or if you don’t have one coming up, try to take a half-day on Friday (or a full day off if possible). Put it on the calendar, and alert your family and friends that this weekend, you’re in full-on athlete mode. You can get a lot done in this time!

Prep your space

Do what you would do at a training camp: Get your gear in order, go on a grocery shop and pile in the healthy foods and snacks to fuel a big weekend. If you want to take it a step further, you could consider booking a hotel in your area to get out of the house and away from all the normal life stuff that’s going to suck you in—but that isn’t required by any stretch!

Make your plan

This is not a license to do a 20-hour training block in 3 days, unless that’s what you and a coach have decided on. Think quality training, not quantity, and plan to carve out time for things like mobility and yoga and walks in addition to your actual training. And are there bike skills you can work on? Does your in-run fueling need some practice? This is your chance to focus on that stuff as well as the training itself. For example, a three-hour ride on Friday plus 45 minutes of yoga, before having a healthy dinner and getting to sleep nice and early. Then, Saturday might have a trainer-based interval session in the morning, followed by a longer outdoor ride in the afternoon with some skill drills in a field, plus a mobility session in the evening—and again, getting to bed nice and early.

Set up a watch/listen/read list

Get motivated by reading some books about training and racing (ahem), listening to podcasts (ahem), or watching documentaries about racing instead of just scrolling on your phone over the weekend. Real talk: Molly re-reads Ironwar and Born to Run anytime she’s losing motivation and needs to get pumped up—even the night before a race!

Think about what you love about training camps

Normally, what is it about training camps that you love—or, more specifically, what is it about training camps that you love that you can do at home? Is it the fact that you book yourself a massage? Is it the camaraderie of riding with your friends? Is it the post-ride beer? Is it the feeling of being exhausted after a few hard days, feeling like you’ve made some significant progress on the bike or run? If you’re missing the friend/training buddy element, try to convince one of your normal riding or running friends to do this training camp with you virtually (or meet up for your training IRL if appropriate). Get creative, use social media and post about your #hometowntrainingcamp, whatever it takes to get excited. You’re not alone: Pro racers around the world have been forced to stay local for most of their training this season.

Treat yourself

If you normally do go on a training camp on a yearly basis, you’re probably saving a bunch of cash this year by skipping it. So—and this isn’t mandatory—maybe you need an external motivator of a new kit for your DIY training camp, or a new piece of gear. If there’s something like a new jersey that will get you stoked about going hard and taking this camp seriously, do it!

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