The grueling cold wet Irish winters can take there toll physically and possibly more importantly mentally as we all prepare for our goals, personal performance & season ahead…. So is it a yea or nea…It’s a huge yes for me.
My warm weather training really is vital preparation for the outdoor season, with the climate one of the fundamental reasons for travelling abroad. And a fundamental part of my sporting preperation jigsaw puzzle year on year for the last 10yrs.
So yes, the main benefit of training overseas is the sun. Getting up in the morning for training is much easier when you don’t end up getting soaked with rain before you’ve even reached the swimming pool and even riding up hills is a joy when you have the sun on your back. However the sun isn’t just a great motivator it also has wider training benefits.
Cold weather can tighten muscles increasing the risk of injury, especially if you haven’t done a decent warm up or if like me just rush through a quick cool down or possibly not at all on the way to picking kids up from school dropping to swimming or athletics or music.
With out a doubt in warm weather your muscles are more pliable and the risk of pulling or straining something is reduced, the fact my blood and joint fluids are running in the body at a better tempature means the recovery rates faster day after day allowing a more progressive block of critical training.
During the winter we often see media reports about people suffering from a lack of vitamin D, especially amongst those that do not get enough sunlight, which is a natural source. Research has suggested not only that a lack of vitamin D can lead to sporting injuries but that the vitamin can actually improve muscle strength, speed, stamina and reaction time.
I often say that “a change is as good as a rest” and many of the benefits of warm weather training are psychological. Ive said before it’s easier to be motivated when the sun is shining but there are other benefits. Training away from the normal routine and away from work and other responsibilities can give athletes the space to refocus on their goals and objectives. Often athletes suffer from a mid-winter lull but exploring new training rides and meeting new people can give an athlete a much needed boost.
There are however a few pointer to look out for to training overseas. The first one is to make the mistake of training too hard, too quickly and burning yourself out early on. This is especially true when going on a group training camp where people can feel pressurised to train too much or too fast. While it is worth using the positive motivation of others be careful & confident to work & stick to your own requirement and stragity.
Another is the high risk of sunburn or dehydration but this can easily be avoided by using sun cream and drinking enough fluids. It might also be an idea to drink electrolyte drinks or take salt sticks which can replenish lost sodium.
A mistake that some athletes make is not having enough recovery following a block of overseas training. The training volume is inevitably much higher during a training holiday and the body will need some to recover. I usually rest for about 3 days after returning home and then ease myself into full training again. The body will probably be fatigued for quite a while afterwards so don’t be put off by this. The benefits will soon start to come through. Keep this in mind when planning races as you don’t want your A race to be too soon after your return.
Today the sun is but a short flight away and while dramatically the cost of travel makes that simple task possible. Add in the simplicity of air Bnb and your base is established, which has worked really well for me in Tenerife, lanzarote ,mainland Spain or France.
This midterm i opted for Something really different and broke the mould in my plans possibly as my hand was forced with the juniors in the black household bitten by the same adrenaline sporting drug as myself. This year we joined the Sean Mc Fadden la zenia group training camp, suited to a Wide and varied sports enthusiast from a runner – cyclist – swimmer or simply strength conditioning. Sean’s the driving force & his positive get up and at it attitude wins through, the motivating positive energy of others both youths & older alike make at times the tough training sessions seam easier… I couldn’t recommend it enough Sean & his wife irene forge a great partnership in creating a great all rounded Warm weather training camp environment where you feel free to opt in and out … from long days in the bike saddle to shore front runs and open water swims all achieved with good quality, friendly smiles & those all important recovery coffee stops on the way home. Sean also brought in the services of orihuela costa cycling with route lead guide & owner Noel o Mahoney. His professional assistance taking all the guess work out of routes & finding those epic climbs.
The personal benefits of warm weather training, if done properly i find, far outweigh the negatives and will help increase fitness,tune technique & translate into improved performance for my coming 2017 season…
First up is UCI World Cup endurance Race across Italy starting on 29th April..Race across Italy is an Ultracycling non stop 808km solo race with over 10.000mtrs of climbing making it one of the worlds toughest ultra-adventure battle grounds.
Bring it on.