The start of the year saw the full-time sprints and hurdles squad travel to Tenerife for some warm weather training. Although we had been to Tenerife many times before for training camps, we had never been in January.
As an athlete, I would travel to South Africa or Doha to train in January. It was always such a nice break from the cold of London and good to get your mind and body ready for an indoor season. So, when some of the athletes asked about going to Tenerife in January, I decided it would be beneficial and that they were ready to add this into their training year.
There were only 4 athletes who travelled, along with Gareth (Therapist) and myself. A nice small group. We arrived midday on the Thursday, which is usually our rest day. I was sharing a room with Clieo and Steph, Gareth shared with James and Jahde. I thought a lot about whether these living arrangements would work, but decided to give it a go as it was only a 10-day camp. I certainly had an interesting time listening to and being part of (sometimes) the conversations between the girls; a brilliant mix of laughter and eye-opening insight into the youth of today. They made me feel really old. Gareth enjoyed reliving his youth spending hours playing FIFA, regularly beating James and Jahde (they may tell a different story).
Three out of the 4 athletes had been to Tenerife before so we were able to settle in quickly and get straight to work. Gareth checked everyone over once we had unpacked to make sure they could hit the ground running for 10 days of good training. We went to look at a new gym which has recently opened, it was very well equipped and set in an amazing location where we were overlooking the sea. I was pleasantly surprised with the weather. The forecast had said 18-20 degrees but it was warmer than that, great news for my tanning prospects (ok, freckles, same difference).
When on warm weather training camps, I keep the weekly set up the same. The warm weather allows the athletes to run faster and their lack of work/university/college means they recover better. I never understand it when athletes go away and change and/or increase their training, consistency is key in our game. We also have the benefit of Gareth being trackside every session and available for extra treatment if and when required.
The one element of the training week I alter slightly on training camps is the rest days. I have learnt over the years that rest days on training camps cannot always be as useful as they are meant to be. Usually an athlete would be at work/university/college on their rest days at home, whereas on training camps they may just sit and do nothing all day. So, I now structure active recovery days to keep the athletes moving on their days off. This trip we had a session in the pool which involved walking drills, various jumps and finished with some races. The session lasted 45mins and worked very well.
The most challenging aspect of training camps is spending lots of time with people you wouldn’t normally spend time with. There is no easy solution to this. I always advise athletes (and coaches) to make sure they spend time by themselves if they need too. Speak with family/friends at home and try and get out of the apartment/hotel to relax. Our group have introduced a great exercise to help us with this group cohesion, more on this topic another time.
The group found the camp very beneficial. The athletes had a good block of training, refreshed their mind and body ready for indoors, picked up a sun tan and learnt they can go a whole meal WITHOUT using their phones. I ban phones when we eat out together. If anyone uses their phone during dinner, they pay for me meal and drinks.
I will look to take the group back next January. For now, it’s time to finish the indoor season on a high and get ready for our next trip to Tenerife in April.
Laura Turner-Alleyne - Lead Coach (Sprints & Hurdles)