Training camp for runners and multi-sport athletes

21. February 2018

A lot of scope, but relaxed 

The purpose of a training camp in spring is not to train incredibly hard, but to develop a versatile foundation for a long season. At a spring training camp, your training should therefore be relaxed but with sufficient scope. The basic rule that applies here: the body is not able to cope with more than two and a half times the amount of your normal weekly training! Therefore: aim for as much scope as possible but tone down the intensity. All units in all disciplines need to be completed in the aerobic zone, however, this does not exclude strength endurance units, for example. 

Versatile training

Thanks to the different disciplines, multi-sport athletes automatically have variety in their training, whereas runners need to make sure that the alternative units such as stretching, strength exercises, or gentle sports such as swimming or cycling, do not overload their musculoskeletal system or end up with them being too much on the go.

Keep your exuberance in check

For newcomers in particular, the anticipation of a training camp is often so great that when training, they end up running or cycling in the group at the front. This increases the risk of overestimating their strength whereby the training camp inevitably mutates into a permanent competition. Many are so tired afterwards that they need weeks until they have physically recovered. Therefore, try to listen to your body also when you’re in the group and, if necessary, hold yourself back.


Get enough sleep

A training camp is also naturally meant for building social contacts and having fun, but the following also applies: in those times when you massively increase your physical exertion, you should also plan enough sleep, so your training doesn’t suffer.

Consume enough energy

The logic is simple: if you do a lot of sports, you should also consume enough energy. So, make sure your diet is varied and that you eat enough at your main meals as well as during training.

Use sun protection

If you are fleeing to southern regions to escape the cold season and spend several hours outside in beautiful weather each day, then you need to make sure you have sufficient protection from the sun. Nothing is more annoying than getting a good dose of sunburn right on the first day. So, wear sunscreen with a high protection factor and wear a cap to make sure your head is also well protected.


Squeeze in some rest days!  

You also need to regenerate at a training camp. On these grounds, squeeze in some rest days between the long training units when the scope of training is low. Relaxed units are also effective if they are long (enough). Especially those athletes who can fly to warmer climes for two weeks need to be careful they don’t burn out. Two days of rest during a two-week camp are necessary to ensure the body can not only regenerate but is also capable of doing long units after ten days. A day of rest is also recommended for all those who only attend a training camp for one week to ten days.

After a training camp recovery is imperative

One week of regeneration after a training camp is a must! Neither a high scope nor intensity of training is recommended during this week. 

Preferably one week twice instead of two weeks once

If possible, go to a training camp twice for one week a time instead of once for two. A (second) training camp six to three weeks before the main competition has different rules than an “early” training camp. At a possible second camp, there is no longer so much relaxed endurance (i.e. scope) training involved, instead the focus is on incorporating intensive training units. The advantage of such training camps: you have more time to recover from the hard training than if you had to work. And this generally means a better quality of training and thus a better training effect.

Keep an eye on the main competition

If you only have a limited amount of holidays and go to a training camp to train for a major goal, then you need to skilfully plan the training camp and keep your eye on the main competition. If it is not being held in the first half of the year, then it makes little sense to go to a training camp in February or March, even if it is so very tempting to fly to a warmer region. Because what sense does it make to get in shape in February when the main competition won’t take place until September?