a few weeks ago we went on training camp to test our limits, ourselves, and take our training up a notch. not only is this approach core to how I approach my training, my coaching, and my life, but this is a tried and tested method of getting to your best.
Peter Reid developed this awful formula for winning the Ironman World Champs. It went something like this…
Overtrain in autumn, go on a training camp for 2 weeks in solitude and break yourself till you get injured. Take time off, recover, and come back with more camps in solitude. Leading into the race, total isolation for a few weeks in the Hawaiian mountains. Get to raceday and beat all the best in the world.
All the years he didnt win, he didnt overtrain and get injured, and he would end up 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Can you imagine knowing that you have to hurt yourself to the point of serious injury in order to win. But he had the mind to be, in my opinion, the worlds best Ironman athlete.
Anyhow, back to our camp. We hit the camp running as such, as we had just completed a block of doing 6 x 90 minute bricks in 6 days (1 hour steady ride on the wind trainer and a 30min run off the bike). After a late commitment to the cause, we started on the 2nd of Jan, 2009, with the aim of an hour swim, 3-4 hour bike and 40min run per day, for 6 days in a row. In Robertson we struggled with the pool and ended up doing more yoga and stretch chords instead of the swim. The aim was to train, sleep, eat and that was it.
Indeed, the first few days were tough to settle, 2 x 4 hour rides in a row and the runs were great, we even did some strides. Then on day 3 we seemed to settle a bit more, with a nice long run in the morning, and a drive to Theewaterskloof Dam where we met the housemate, for some epic sessions out there. We had a swim in the dam in the chop which was a great lesson for Marilu after a less than par swim at Jailbreak in the chop as well.
Johhny Kodak was there to take some pics at the yoga session afterwards and we played some 30seconds before an early to bed session. In the morning we took our first ride out to Franschoek over the pass. EPIC! The view after the 30min climb are insane. On the way back I was particularly impressed with Guy`s new power on the bike, and I know he`ll be ready for Epic sooner than later. Marilu kept it steady except for the climb back and learnt the hard lesson that once you head in the red zone you dont come out. On the afternoon run her HR was crazy and she lasted all of 100m and went home. We did our 50min jog on the dirt and got to bed early again.
The next morning we took an awesome ride to Hermanus with a loop extra for around 3 hours with about an hour in the rain. We had a great lunch after not finding fish in Villiersdorp the day before, and headed home for a snooze before heading out for a run in the afternoon again. Oh, and I did a solo swim in the morning. I am more and more appreciating the solo swim. Easy cruise on my own non-stop.
Our last day we went on the trip to Franschoek again, with a run in the afternoon. Some quick yoga and a hearty meal, and my this stage we were on autopilot. You get to this zone of just doing it, and it doesnt really hurt and you arent really stiff anymore. Your adaptation period is over and indeed, you have reached the next level.
We were all a little skinnier and a little more tanned on the trip home but quite content that we managed all sessions we planned. There was indeed a new confidence in everyones abilities and although we were a little mentally worn out, Cape Town greeted us with the perfect weekend for recovery.
The concept of camps is growing all around the world and its easy to see the benefit of them and why they are indeed, so popular. There is a definate need to do more of these, as the challenge they provide teach us invaluable lessons about how far we think we can push ourselves.
Keep an eye out, there are more organised camps to come, and the Urban Ninja name will be attached to them.
On a last note, the last pic is from the farm in Ashton. The Housemate was there for a night and got a flat. I was quite suprised to see a GTI has a marie biscuit spare. Note the size difference in tires in the circles. The car is now affectionately known as “Nemo”