Training Camp Luxembourg

Towards the end of April we spent some time in Luxembourg. The country has some of the most beautiful nature I have ever experienced, and I took the opportunity to get in some training.

At this stage Challenge Aarhus is just two months away, so I should really start to have the fitness for the distance. Only thing left is to build a bit on that and make sure that tempo and speed get trained as well.

In this post I’ll share my learning from Camp Luxembourg.

During the camp I ended up doing:
2x swim trainings @ 2h30m;
4x run trainings @ 3h35m;
2x bike trainings @ 5h15m.
Total training time in the neighborhood of 11 hours 20 minutes.

That felt like a pretty solid week’s work – more than I can normally fit into a single week. Actually it was more than I can usually fit in two weeks. The week was different in other ways too. The Amsterdam area where I usually do my training is flat as a pancake, but Luxembourg in contrast doesn’t have a flat kilometer in it, if you know where to go – literally. To make my point, I recently did a 90km ride in the Netherlands with a 59 meters elevation gain. In Luxembourg I did a 95km with a 1569 meters elevation gain. Sure is a special training location!!

It’s the same regarding running sessions. Normally in the Netherlands I would need to run into Amsterdam Centre and run the canal bridges to get a bit of elevation. In Luxembourg I run out of the door and have a relatively high total elevation before I’ve run a single kilometer.

For both running and cycling I found that I’ve probably spent too little time training strength. My aerobic fitness is excellent – I can go on for hours on end when it’s relatively flat, but as soon as I need to push a little harder for short bursts of time, there’s just not the right kind of power to do that. Since I’ve come back from Luxembourg I’ve been focusing on tempo trainings in order to increase especially my half marathon speed. That will solve part of the issue with lack of power, but as soon as I’m done with Challenge Aarhus, I will need to put more power in my legs for sprint distance triathlon in Aalsmeer towards the end of the racing season.

Finally, I had a couple of really long swim sessions in Luxembourg. One was a 3km and the other was a 3,8km. 3,8km is the full iron-distance swim, and I wanted to get that one in just to tell myself that my swimming fitness is more than ready for the half iron-distance at Challenge Aarhus in July. That worked. I now feel extremely confident ahead of the race.

I guess for any (self-coached, time pressured, non-professional) athlete it’s always tricky to find the right balance between training base, tempo, and power. In Luxembourg it showed that I have not paid a lot of attention to pure power. On the other hand, my A-race for 2011 is a half iron distance race, and maybe I don’t need that power for that type of event. It will be needed for the sprint later this year, though. Therefore as the year progresses, I will spend more time training tempo and power.

More on that later…