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Why Should I Do A Training Camp?

Do you have a big sportive coming up? Planning to take your racing to the next level? Or do you just want to spend more time on your bike? If so, the time-honoured tradition of a cycling training camp could be for you…

A training camp provides a focused training environment. It gives you the chance to ride somewhere new, and builds motivation for the season ahead. It’s also a holiday: follow the mantra of relaxing as much as possible between rides (sleep, eat, cycle…repeat...)!

What are the benefits?

Focused miles in the saddle are irreplaceable. If you are like us, you may struggle to get in the long miles week in, week out, let alone every day. 

It’s a great opportunity to improve your ability on specific terrain, especially climbs. If you’re training for a big sportive, like the Marmotte or Etape du Tour, preparing on climbs of a similar duration will pay dividends. Especially if you don't live near any.

Even if you have no specific events in mind, a few days of cycling (and lots of food / sleep), will step-change your fitness. And let’s not forget the best thing – it’s great fun, especially with a group of friends!

What can I expect?

Time in the saddle – you’re there to ride a bike. But a training camp should be fun as well as purposeful. So expect: riding with mates, pleny of food, some sun, and a good chance to relax off the bike too. Make sure to take in some of the scenery while you’re at it. It’s a joy to ride in new places – make the most of it!

Expect varied routes, and varied challenges. Mix up between mountainous and flat, and intervals and base miles. If you’re there more than about 4 days it will also be worth having a lighter / rest day in the middle. Unless you’re used to riding long distances every day you risk injury by overdoing it. Don’t be afraid to take it easy one day – you’ll make the most of the other days.

Why should I travel for a camp?

For us travelling afar makes sense for two reasons:

  • Different roads. A change of scenery is great for your motivation and enjoyment of the sport, and it allows you to ride roads appropriate for your targets.
  • Better weather. While there is something admirable about suffering in the wind and rain (Belgian classic style), who among us does not yearn for summer riding! It’s great for your motivation and much more enjoyable.

When should I go?

It ultimately depends on the rider. Spring is the most popular time: before the summer season has kicked off, but close enough that you will still benefit from the targeted miles. The weather will be better too…

You should, however, do a training camp whenever you want – and whenever suits your goals. Don’t leave it too late or you will not reap the benefits of the camp in providing a solid base. We'd suggest a month or two before your target(s) starts.

Do I need to prepare?

Absolutely. Don’t use a training camp as the start of your season.

All those sudden miles could leave you feeling exhausted, or worse – injured. This could not only kill your season before it begins but ruin your enjoyment of the camp. Make sure you get some miles in beforehand, and up the intensity. If you’re planning c.60-100 mile rides on your camp, make sure to have done at least a couple of long rides in the month beforehand to reduce the shock.

Make sure you have plenty of kit with you too, and prepare for a mix of weather. You should also bring nutrition – no bonking far from your accommodation!

Orrganising a camp yourself and hiring a bike is a great option for a training camp. There is no risk of damaging your bike before arrival, and you’ll have removed much of the hassle of travelling. Especially if you have the bike delivered to your accommodation. A lot of our customers also like to “upgrade” for their camps – hiring something better than they have at home to make the most of the experience!

We’ll soon be posting an article on the best places to go for a camp. Keep your eyes peeled!

As always, let us know if you have any comments or questions.

The BICILET Bike Rental Team: 22nd Mar 2017 12:20:00