Do you get bored of running the same route or struggle to face the gym when the weather turns bleak or dark nights close in? Training in the same space week to week, year to year can get pretty dull and can have a negative effect on motivation and ultimately performance. In times like these you need is a motivational pick-me-up – welcome to the warm weather training camp.
More and more training camps are popping up around the world catering especially for sports fans, from cyclists to swimmers, runners to triathletes, surfers to yoga enthusiasts. Sun, sea, high altitude and expert coaching are promised, and they’re great for beginners looking for a nudge in the right direction, well-seasoned semi-pros after some technique advice from a coach, or for those needing to train in certain conditions to simulate a big race.
Unwind your mind and unravel those muscle knots at a yoga retreat right by the beach. Yoga holidays are found all over Asia, and are suitable for beginners through to experts, some camps even train you to teach so you’ll come home with more than just a tan. Thailand is an especially magical destination for a yoga holiday, with temples to explore, waterfalls, spectacular beaches and the friendliest of locals. Say ommmm…
Portugal is the home of the biggest wave ever surfed, so you’re in the right spot for a surf holiday. With some of the best waves in the world, let alone Europe, Portugal is a brilliant location to learn how to catch a wave if you’re a beginner, or attempt to ride a big one if you’re a surf pro. Further afield, Kerala on India’s west coast is not only stunning, but also has some great surf. Beginners through to experts are welcome.
France is where the love affair with the bike began and over the summer bike fever hits a crescendo with the annual Tour de France. With a variety of terrain including perfect peaks and mountain passes, or ‘cols’ in TdF terminology, France is ideal for road cycling and mountain biking alike. Channel Bradley Wiggins and feel the muscle burn on a ride up the challenging Col du Galibier or try the steep hair-pin bends of Alpe D’Huez, two of the Tour’s toughest ascents.
Imagine swimming in the sea before breakfast, going for a run in the morning sun, drifting off for a well-earned snooze after lunch, then ending the day with a long bike ride. Warm weather triathlon camps promise just that and are known for being very sociable. The Balearics – especially Majorca and Ibiza – have a number of tri training camps, along with Lanzarote, which hosts the annual Lanzarote Ironman in May. Further afield, South Africa, Australia and America are great locations for training camps. Kona in Hawaii is home to the major endurance event in the triathlon calendar: Ironman Hawaii, where Chrissie Wellington earned her badge of fame. If you choose the far-flung option, top off your trip with a sightseeing tour – tours of America, for example, can take you on whistlestop tours of the headline sights.
At the challenging end of the scale, walking holidays change terminology to trekking, and while you might not be cycling or running, the physical exertion involved can rank just as highly. Trekking up to high altitude is no mean feat and is a great way to train your cardiovascular system. Classic treks include Everest Base Camp in Nepal, Mont Blanc in France, the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand, the GR20 in Corsica and Baltoro Glacier and K2 in Pakistan.