Fall Camp Wrap Up

Fall Camp Wrap Up

This year Endurance Corner hosted its first Kona Prep Camp in Tucson, Arizona. Since we actually had athletes racing a few different events we nicknamed the camp “Fall Fast Camp.” At the camp we had two athletes preparing for Kona, three preparing for IM Louisville (same weekend as Kona), two racing IM Chattanooga (Sept 25) and one prepping for ITU Long Course Worlds (Sept 25). This made the camp specifically geared towards peaking for events taking place 14-28 days from the conclusion of the camp.

Coach Marilyn Chychota designed the overall training schedule which included:

Arrival. Most athletes arrived early enough to include a moderate ride and run. I was also able to get an easy swim done since I landed at 9:00 a.m.

We began with a long morning swim primarily built around a lead in pull set and long main set of 100s above race pace. Total volume varied by ability with total duration coming in around 90 minutes.

Shortly after the swim we did a long aerobic ride up Mount Lemmon (20.5 mile climb) with a 50-minute hilly brick run at the top (8000 feet). Then we rode down working on keeping leg speed high and not simply relaxing.

We started the day with a ride up Mount Lemmon including a full TT of the climb from Mile 0 to 20.5. We followed this up with a transition run in Tucson with a fartlek main set. In early afternoon we did a one hour swim with a speed focus that concluded with a long relay race that was allowed to be approached any way the team felt was most strategic. We finished the day with a panel discussion that began covering specific information about Kona and then branched out on an ad hoc basis.

Our final day kicked off with a longer run at the track with a 10-13 mile main set targeting 10-15 seconds quicker than IM target pace. I often refer to this as “core pace” which I first heard from Gordo Byrn. The idea is that splits in IM often don’t reflect the speed in aid stations or other dynamics in the race. Chances are you spend a good amount of time slightly above the splits you generate.

Some of my takeaways from the camp:

  • I really enjoyed the dynamics of this camp as it was the first time we pulled together a group of athletes that were preparing specifically for a race in the very near future. This meant that athletes were both highly motivated and, in most cases, the fittest they have been all year. I believe everyone enjoyed the break from their normal training routine at home to get in some focused work with like-minded people. Everyone who had a previous PR on Mount Lemmon set a new one so there was an objective measure to the effectiveness of this group dynamic.
  • The Lemmon bike/run brick on the first day of camp was surprisingly challenging. I always take note of sessions that seem to simulate specific demands of long course racing and Marilyn nailed it with this one. I believe there is a lot of upside to running off the bike after a long climb (without descending first). I plan to start incorporating this into my training from time to time in Boulder.
  • The swim speed workout on day two was definitely more effective with the relay aspect. Getting in fast work when it is also fun makes for a highly qualitative session. A nice injection of low key competition can go a long way when everyone is pretty tired from training earlier in the day.
  • The longer track workout was a great session for athletes to work on pacing and for them to easily stay on top of hydration and cooling in the warm weather. While a long solo session on the track might seem a bit mundane, the group dynamic made for a great atmosphere. It also allowed a broad cross section of speeds to train together when they otherwise would be spread far apart.
  • Coach Sue Aquila mentioned a recent study about taking hot baths post-training to assist in heat adaptation. I found this interesting and read up on it after the camp.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to train with the team in Tucson this September. Many of the athletes had been with us at our February camp so it was fun to see how fit they have become since then.

Best of luck to all you at your races!

Categories: Training

About Author

Justin Daerr

Justin Daerr is a professional triathlete. You can follow him on Twitter @justindaerr.