It’s the triathlon off-season; a time to relax, recover and rejuvenate after a busy race period. It’s not just about letting the body recover, it’s also about letting the mind take a break from the intensity of training.
I find it really important to have a period of downtime after race season and with that in mind, I booked a spa break at Champneys Tring. Established in 1925, Champneys was the first health resort of it’s kind. It’s housed in a converted Georgian mansion in the Hertfordshire countryside.
As soon as I arrived at Champneys, I was surrounded by a sense of tranquillity and peace. It’s like a sanctuary from the outside world. With a holistic approach to health, the resort offers sumptuous accommodation, indulgent treatments, nutritious meals and expansive grounds to explore.
Champneys offer a wide range of fitness classes at their Tring resort. I was particularly interested in the lower-intensity ones with a focus on relaxation, stretching, strength and conditioning.
Stretch & Relax
As the name suggests, this class is designed to provide a full body stretch, improve flexibility and leave you feeling centred and calm. It’s a fusion of yoga, pilates and tai chi inspired movements set to relaxing music. I took this class twice at Champneys and found that the different instructors put their own spin on the idea. There were options to make the stretches more intense and challenging meaning that the class was suitable for all abilities.
Yin Yoga is a slow-paced class with variations of seated and reclining postures typically held for 3 to 5 minutes. It targets the deep connective tissues and the fascia, rather than the muscles. It’s quite a contrast to a Yang yoga practice which is more widely known in the Western world- Yin is stable and passive, while Yang is changing and active. I was excited to see this class on the timetable at Champneys as it’s been a while since I’ve practised Yin. We used props to support the postures and focused on sinking deeply into each asana whilst breathing slowly and evenly.
This 30-minute workout fires up your abs, lower back, and glutes to build a stable, stronger, and more powerful core. The instructor led us through a series of challenging exercises including planks, twists, crunches, and leg raises. Core strength is essential to triathlon performance- it helps you to swim straight, bike efficiently and run with a strong posture, yet it’s often neglected.
As the classes I chose all involved stretching, I came away feeling longer and looser! Taking the time to slow down and focus on my bodies movement, posture and alignment really made a welcome change to my usual routine.
Walking is another low-intensity option for off-season cross-training and at Champneys Tring there are 170 acres of land to explore. I followed the marked trails through the woods, enjoying being alone in nature with rabbits dashing across the paths in front of me.
For parkrun fans, Tring parkrun is just a 10-minute drive from the resort. It’s worth paying a vist for this incredibly scenic course which takes you over the ridgeway and through the forest. Bear in mind, it is a hilly course!
As well as fitness classes, Champneys is known for its spa facilities including sauna, steam room, cold plunge pool, indoor and outdoor jacuzzi. I particularly enjoyed the Thalassotherapy pool- it uses the natural healing powers of seawater to improve circulation, treat cellulite, arthritis and muscular problems. The loungers around the pool are the perfect place to snuggle up for an afternoon nap.
My weekend at Champneys was the perfect way to round off my triathlon season, leaving me feeling refreshing and ready for winter training.
My stay was complimentary, but all opinions are my own.
Have you every visited Champneys? How do you relax in the off-season?