As part of the England Athletics Talent programme, 17 athletes and three coaches attended a warm weather training camp in Vilamoura, Portugal. The camp consisted of track, road and trail sessions along with easy runs and strength and conditioning. The athletes and coaches joined the Loughborough University group, led by Kyle Bennett, that were out there at the same time. The athletes worked very well together and learnt off each other. This worked perfectly for the training groups and enabled great training sessions. The athletes also got to work with Ciaran Keen and Steve Smith who were out there as part of our medical management team and added a huge benefit to the athletes during the camp.
During the camp, Kyle and Ciaran ran Q&A sessions with the athletes and coaches. The main point of discussion was the importance of recovery in-between sessions to make sure the athletes got the full adaptations of their training and consistency over one or two key sessions. Other topics discussed included: how to taper for multiple races over a long season; strength and conditioning and how important it is for young developing athletes in order to enjoy a long running career; and why menstrual cycles are important to track and how athletes can plan their training around them in order to get the highest level of performance.
While on the camp, the coaches worked with the athletes on certain behaviours such as nutrition and recovery. There were discussions around why fuelling before and refuelling straight after training sessions is a key factor so athletes get the most out of the session and so they can recovery quicker before the next session.
Nearly all the athletes on the camp will be starting university later this year so it also gave them a good experience to mix with Loughborough students and gain insight on what university is like and gain advice on how to settle in best.
The camp was a great success and England Athletics will be looking at running more training camps in the future.
Athlete Valentina Costa said:
"I really benefitted from the camp, I came in with an injury and I had to opportunity to work one on one with a great physio who made me feel confident in the rehab, with that I managed to come out or the camp injury free and gaining fitness. I met so many amazing people and I really appreciate the support from all the coaches and other athletes."
Ben West added:
“The camp gave me a good foundation to build into the upcoming track season. We had a great team atmosphere which made the training sessions enjoyable. The support I received form the injury management team was fantastic and I have picked up new things I need to work on in my strength and conditioning training.”