Contemplating Another Training Camp

Recovery. Sleep is the major aspect of recovery and has featured heavily over the weekend. Not on my birthday night when I barely scraped four hours together and only falling unconscious on the flight home from Toulouse saved me from a coma, but since then it has been at least eight hours, dead to the world, as my body attempts to repair itself from the excessive training of the ten days before and the excessive eating – and drinking – of my birthday weekend. Without power, mileage and heart rate provide an inadequate measure of the impact of the camp, however sheer exhaustion, while hard to quantify, is a reassuring indication that good work was done.

And now it feels odd to be sat at a desk, working again, desperately trying to catch up on the numerous tasks that slipped during my absence; it’s a miserable day out, I’m glad I don’t need to ride in it, but at the same time, after ten days of cycling, it seems wrong not to be sat on a bike. I’ve filtered through the mixed results of the weekend – some success at Ironman Austria, but not every target achieved in the tough conditions presented; I’ve compiled a to-do list that should fill the next two days; and in between this I’ve started to contemplate training camps – specifically organising training camps.

CoachCox Early Evening Club La Santa Swim Session

There was a low-key Coach Cox camp in January; largely unstructured, as low budget as La Santa allowed, non-profit – no fees at all – as I was also training. It worked, it was fun, but it was difficult to find those that could commit the time. Before I consider repeating the experiment these are my core concerns: ensuring the quality of a camp and the difficulties of filling it; and also, from the perspective of my business, doing so in a way that at least covers expenses. Specifically it’s that balance between the camp as a business venture and offering quality and value to those who attend. I like the idea of running a camp, more than that, I want to successfully run a camp, but I’m not sure I know what a good camp requires.

I’m easy to please: all I want is a challenging environment, lots of mileage and other athletes to share the suffering. Effectively that’s what I offered in January, but I did so at cost – flights, accommodation, food. To build on that, to organise a better camp and do so in a professional manner, what else is required? My instinct is there is an expectation for more and while there are athletes simply happy to join others to train hard and gain experience, there are as many who will view this as something they could achieve on their own. While you can’t please everyone all of the time, neither do I want to organise something that leaves attendees feeling short changed.

The currently theoretical 2013 Coach Cox camp would likely adopt the following format: early season again, January or February; somewhere warm; a clear itinerary of training, of course with the option for more; focussed on athletes’ training, rather than supporting my own; swim coaching if possible, it seems an area I can add value; small enough to remain personal; relaxed, it should be fun after all. Beyond this simple prototype I am open to suggestions – locations, timings, anything that might sell you on a training camp? Consider this some rare market research on my part.

I want to run a camp – for pleasure more than profit – whether this is a viable proposition remains to be seen. If I can firm up my ideas and establish sufficient interest a 2013 camp will be on the cards.

Ironman Training Library

From nutrition to pacing - a collection of CoachCox blog posts focused specifically on Ironman training and racing.


  • Zoltan

    Selling points to me:
    – mild to warm climate, so no snow or hail-storms (don’t mind the rain if it’s not 24/7)
    – both pool and open water swim possibilities
    – challenging bike and run routes
    – fairly easy to get to
    – internet access at base camp (sorry, I’m a geek and I need my daily fix)

    Otherwise I’m not too picky. As long as there are like-minded people to train with I’m happy.
    Of course the whole training camp is subject to approval from the Boss… 🙂

  • Zoltan,

    I can definitely say the aim will be mild weather, great riding, good running and ease of access; also Internet is a must as far as I’m concerned. Good venues with both pool and open water facilities may prove a trickier point, but I want to have swimming feature well in the camp, not just cycling.

    I’ll give you a pass for a camp too.


  • Zoltan

    The pool was in there for the swimming technique. Even on my own i can just stick my waterproof camera at the bottom of the pool and analyse what i’m doing wrong. As a newbie to open water swimming i’m not sure how it’s done.

    So as long as there’s swimming I’m good.

    By the ‘Boss’ I meant the highest authority in our household aka ‘The Wife’ 🙂


  • There are definitely options that give both and as long as one is available you can make a good camp. Ideally I do want the pool, more than open water overall.

    That authority has overridden a number of athletes this year!