I’m just back from a fantastic week of triathlon training at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. I’ll split my re-cap into two parts, as there is so much to share from the past week!
The trip was organised by my club Havering Tri, as a chance to achieve some quality training across all three triathlon disciplines in preparation for the season ahead. The week away was also a great chance to relax, enjoy the sun and have some fun as a team. There were 8 of us Havering Tri members on camp, plus 6 friends and family members so we had a real mix of abilities.
It was an unforgettable week, which I feel has made me stronger, fitter and more confident. Completely focusing on training for a week has brought out my strengths, as well as highlighting the areas I need to work on.
We were given a structured schedule for our training, but there was also freedom to get involved in the other activities on offer at the resort. Club La Santa is a purpose-built sports complex which is a training destination for both pro and amateur athletes. The resort features over 30 different sports, with a huge range of facilities, equipment and classes on offer. We were able to hire bikes, swimming aids and make use of the spa facilities on site.
We shared the lovely apartments in groups of six…
Over the week, I completed 106 miles of cycling, 20 miles of running and 6 miles of swimming…. my week of training looked like this…
1.4 mile swim, 3.1 mile run.
25 mile cycle, 0.9 mile swim, 2 mile run.
Duathlon (1.5 mile run, 9 mile cycle, 1.5 mile run)
Aquathlon (200m swim, 1.8 mile run)
Dynamic Yoga Class
Morning Aerobics, 1.3 mile swim, 43.5 mile cycle
0.8 mile sea swim, 6.5 mile run
0.6 mile swim, 29.2 mile cycle
Morning Aerobics, 0.6 mile swim, Body Bike Class, 3.1 mile run
The resort features three Olympic sized pools, which we had the opportunity to swim in twice daily. Our coaches had reserved several lanes for our use as a club, and provided us with swim sets to work from. It was lovely to have such a wide lane to swim in, although the 50m length seemed endless when I’m used to a 25m pool! I took the chance to really focus on my bilateral breathing, which definitely improved over the week.
On Wednesday, we made a trip over to Puerto del Carmen, a tourist resort on the opposite side of the island. This resort hosts Ironman Lanzarote every May, which is considered to be one of the toughest triathlon events in the world. Several club members have completed this Ironman, so they took us on a recce of the course starting with the sea swim.
The swim is made up of two 1.9km loops running parallel to the beach. I’ve never swam in the sea before, but I was keen to give it a try. A group of us put on our wetsuits and waded out into the sea to follow the course marked by buoys. I wasn’t prepared for how cold the water would be, I struggled to breathe and the salty water burned my eyes and nose. I swam as hard as I could, but felt like I was making no progress as the waves were constantly pushing me back. I stopped every few minutes to catch my breath and clear my goggles. Kay, Les and Jon stayed with me and helped me to complete the swim, even when I panicked about the seagulls which landed on the buoys (bird phobia)!
Glen watched from the beach, as without a wetsuit it was too cold to swim. I saw shoals of fish as I swam back into the shore- luckily no jellyfish though! It was definitely an experience- I think I prefer swimming in lakes where there are no waves or salty water!
Lanzarote is renowned for it’s cycling routes- the quiet roads and smooth tarmac surfaces make for some fantastic miles on the bike. Only things to bear in mind- it is very windy and very hilly!
We hired Canondale road bikes for the week which were fitted with our own pedals brought from home. It took a little getting used to cycling on the ‘wrong side’ of the road! However, drivers in Lanzarote were generally a lot more patient and respectful to cyclists.
We completed some challenging routes around the island and were rewarded with stunning views across the rugged volcanic landscape. The descent from Soo into the seaside village of Famara was one of my favourite sections, with views along the coast of the waves crashing into the cliffs. The wind was unforgiving and relentless blasting us from all angles. We stopped occasionally to regroup, refuel and make sure nobody was left behind.
The highlight of the week was cycling up to Haria, one of highest volcanic peaks on the island. With over 3440ft of climbing over 44 miles, this was certainly one of the toughest rides I’ve ever done. The climb seemed endless, it felt impossible to keep moving up such a steep incline. My heart rate was pounding as I carried on towards the summit, desperately wanting to dismount the bike and walk. Glen was fantastic and stayed with me, encouraging me along the final stretch.
Finally reaching the viewpoint at the top, I burst into tears (as did the other girls)! It was such an emotional experience, I was so proud of everyone and blown away (literally) by the views across the valleys below!
The rapid descent was exhilarating- I got up to 41mph and absolutely loved flying down mountain!
After a week of gaining confidence on tough cycling routes, I’m expecting the hills back home will be a breeze!
Our evening runs were generally based on a 3km or 5km loop around the Club La Santa lagoon, finishing on the track in the centre of the resort.
On Sunday evening, I ran with Glen and Mark, I pushed myself to keep up with their pace and was surprised to find I was running a 7:30 min/mile! I could only keep this pace going for 2 miles, but I pleased at how fast I was going without actually thinking too much!
Whilst in Puerto de Carmen, we also ran along beachfront promenade which makes up the Ironman Lanzarote route. We headed along an out-and-back route of 6.5 miles, taking us almost as far as Arrecife airport. This part of the island gets less wind and the temperature is generally warmer. I felt dehydrated as I brought no fluid on the run, and my mouth felt dry from the salty sea swim. I ran with Les, who was a massive support when I was struggling- he got me to visualize Chrissie Wellington chasing me in the final miles of Ironman which really spurred me on to finish the run! (Chrissie never did catch me)!
In my next post, I’ll recap the events and classes I took part in, plus the social side of the training camp.
Have you ever been on a training camp or considering attending one?