05124 Blog Main 700×394 Cyclingtrainingcamps.jpgwidth700height394ext

Use a Spring Training Camp to Boost Fitness

BY Pau Salva Martinez

As you ramp up volume and prepare for the racing season ahead, you might consider a spring training camp. Use these tips to construct your perfect spring training camp.

Training camps have been a routine for pro cycling teams during the winter for many years. The purpose is to get a good base foundation and make training as controlled as possible. On the other hand, winter usually brings bad and rainy weather, which is another reason why pro teams choose nice sunny places with quiet roads.

While the pro cyclists start racing in February and March, many amateur racers don’t truly begin their season for several weeks and some of you may have your A race well into the summer. There are many great reasons for a training camp, and they can be used throughout the year.

Benefits of Spring Training Camps

Many think of training camps as a way to get away from winter weather. While true, the winter is not the only time a camp can be valuable. The spring is also a great time to increase your volume to build your base. Many athletes benefit from capping their long winter rides to two to three hours and focus more on building power and strength. Then, during the spring, when the weather is consistently warm, they can finally get out and ride those long miles. Using this structure allows you to have enough miles in your legs to execute a good training camp while keeping you from burning out. Additionally, many camps are based on specific events and the organizer must wait for predictably warm weather to hold the camp.

Training Camp Considerations

Be Smart With Your Training Load

Done correctly, a training camp allows you to accumulate high training volumes in short periods, which means a really good stimulus to your body. That over-reaching or fast ramp rate in your Chronic Training Load® (CTL®) will produce big results a few weeks later. Just how much you should increase your volume is very individual. Consider your current fitness, goals, and consistency of past training among other factors.

Group Training Is Best

To get the most from a training camp, you need company. Being in a larger group of riders with a scheduled workout agenda creates a perfect environment for you to improve. This is especially true during the later sessions of the camp when fatigue begins to build. Having other campers can also motivate you for the upcoming training period and racing season.

Time of Year/Duration

Choosing the right time to go on a training camp is very important. If you start training too close to an important race date, you might not have sufficient time to recover. On the other hand, if you start too early, you might not have the required base fitness needed to complete the training camp. This is why a spring camp works well; you can still come into camp with enough miles to be able to push yourself without being too close to race season. Give yourself a minimum of six weeks or more from the end of your camp until your big event.

Types of Training Camps

There are two ways to approach a training camp — the organized way, or the DIY way. For a more relaxed or holiday approach, go with the DIY option. This can potentially be more expensive and, most importantly, it can be tricky to go out and ride your bike without knowing any routes to take. However, this gives you the freedom to do what is best for your schedule, and you can bring your family if need be.

Organized camps usually offer different levels that accommodate every level of rider. They’re also often set up around a specific event. These camps are typically full-service, meaning you simply show up with your bike. The camp organizers usually set the routes, take care of food, and have mechanics available along with other amenities. The groups are usually larger, and riding in a larger group means higher speeds and more miles. An important aspect of an organized camp is that there will be a coach available. Every day will have a structured plan for each level so you can avoid overriding. Getting instant feedback from your coach about how a session went and planning the next day based on how you both feel the session went is invaluable. Again, these camps are often found during the spring since the weather is more predictable and they are set up for events that are still months away.

Be smart this season and book your dream training camp; it will be worth it when racing season is in full effect! Boost your base period fitness with a good training camp, you´ll enjoy new roads and keep on track to make all your scheduled workouts.

Get 15% Off Trainingpeaks Premium

Achieve Your 2024 Goals With a Plan

TrainingPeaks App

Goals are best achieved with a plan, and TrainingPeaks’ Premium features ensure your plan is on track. Find a training plan that fits your personal fitness goals and get 15% off one year of Premium at checkout.

Avatar1501789210 7
About Pau Salva Martinez

Based in Valencia, Spain, Pau Salva Martinez has a Doctorate degree in Sport Science and is the founder and owner of TRAINING4BIKE. He is a former professional mountain biker who now specializes in coaching road and MTB racers. He loves to visit Southern California every year to ride with good friends. Follow him on FaceBook at Training4bike.

Related Articles