Mallorca Training Camp 2017 – Mervyn McDowell
Oh What Fun To Train In The Sun!
Having done a training camp in Alicante last year I had an idea as to what to expect in Mallorca this year: an escape from work, sunshine, training with like-minded people, working with new coaches, lots of food, fun & (some) drink, plenty of hours in the saddle, on the feet and immersed in water. The big bonus this year for me was that I was getting to do it with my club mates allowing for a lot more craic along the way.
I went to Mallorca with a number of targets in mind: to get a solid 30 hour training week under the belt, to push my comfort zones on the bike and in doing so become better at descending, to get a nice block of swimming in and to continue my work on improving my run. These are probably the reasons my family and friends were laughing at me for calling my week off a holiday but they’re not triathletes so I’ll let them away with it.
Mallorca is a beautiful part of the world to train in. The bikes we rented were great and very well looked after making it quite hard to go back to your own when back home. The road surfaces are incredibly well maintained (as Miriam told me “they’re at least 2kph faster on average than our roads”). The scenery and surroundings for cycling are next to none. For the mountain goats there’s an unlimited amount of climbing and descending through hairpin heaven. The hotel is located just across the road from the beach which is very safe and suitable for morning open water swims and for recovery bodysurfing after a nice brick/bike session. There are running trails that start from the hotel and go out along the coast or through a nice shaded forest if you’ve had enough sunshine for the day. The facilities at the hotel itself are fantastic: 25m outdoor heated pool (very pleasant on cold mornings), cool outdoor pool (very useful for recovery), well equipped indoor gym, spacious and comfortable accommodation, bar and restaurant with delicious food and drink.
Rob, Steffi and Gerry, the Sun Tri coaches, are all fantastic. It’s obvious from the moment you meet them how much they love what they do. It would be nearly impossible not to be motivated to train hard and improve around these people. They’re all very approachable and go well beyond the expected to make your time with them as productive and as enjoyable as possible. I found their experience very useful to draw on and they were also excellent sounding boards to bounce ideas off.
Each evening there were theory classes where you could let the limbs relax and let the brain log a few more hours of learning. I found the classes very useful and a great chance to ask the coaches a few questions on things such as: planning your year/months/weeks/training blocks, pacing, negative splits, nutrition, long and short distance racing, racing with power and heart rate, training peaks, training stress scores, intensity factor, and much, much more.
I found our first evening class one of the most useful. Rob recorded our swim session that afternoon so as to give us detailed analysis, feedback and advice that evening. My swim has plateaued a little recently and I’m eager to try and bring it to the next level. I’d never had a stroke analysis done before so this was something I was very much looking forward to. Rob suggested four simple things that I could work on which should greatly improve my efficiency in the water. He also suggested that if any of us wanted to talk about it further that he’d meet us the next morning. I jumped at this opportunity and he went through everything I could improve on in great detail and gave me some very useful brain Q’s to think about when in the water.
I was sad to go home at the end of the week after having such a great time in Mallorca. The bus back to the airport was a much quieter affair than on our arrival. It was funny to look around and see all the content Pulse crew sleeping with smiley and maybe slightly sunburnt faces. Myself and John Kirwin were still buzzing too much from our morning run to sleep and chatted all about our week’s adventures like two little schoolboys all the way to the airport.
After checking in and grabbing food most of us went our own way too mooch around Duty Free and waste some time. My legs decided they’d had enough so I went to the gate for a rest. Here I totted up all my training sessions for the week and was chuffed to see I’d reached my 30 hour training target and also had another 5 hours mixed between theory classes and bike/run technical sessions. Also, thanks to my fellow Pulsers, I pushed myself much more than I had done in the past to try and keep up with them on the descents. A major bonus for me was learning what I can now do to hopefully bring my swimming to the next level.
All that remains to be said now is THANK YOU to all who were involved in this training camp from the coaches at Sun Tri, to the organisers (no small task), and to all who were in Mallorca with me. I had an absolute blast. For anyone considering this trip next year I can’t recommend it highly enough. If I could have signed up and paid to return to Mallorca next year before I left I would have done so. It was a fantastic week away with some great people.
Video courtesy of Anthony Gar.