Sunshine and focus 

Come early spring, many athletes seek warmer climates in preparation for the up and coming season. With previous build ups this time of year, I've stuck out the British weather and training/work juggle daily grind. 

Photo Credit: KB Schlee Photography

Photo Credit: KB Schlee Photography 

However, this time around a warm weather training camp was on the plan for a focused block of pure running, resting and eating. 

A curveball

Training for an event, (particularly a marathon) will always have ups and downs. It's like the race itself, taking it mile by mile with the hope that you'll get through any bad patches. 

Going into the start of 2019, brought a few challenges along the way. After months, I started to feel like my usual energic gazelle-like self and found some flow again. Unfortunately, with one step forward, came two steps back with pesky Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome. 

With some complete rest and a subsequent few weeks of cross training, I was given the green light to start some easy jogging, just in time for boarding a flight to Faro. 

Suffering from classic injured runner syndrome (symptoms include rage blackouts seeing or hearing anything about running) I knew being on a run camp with athletes preparing for their spring marathons would be testing for my FOMO. 

The Algarve hills and the prospect of cycling between some easy jogging put any apprehension at bay. Mario, my Italian (and temperamental) steed boarded the EasyJet flight with me for some Portuguese adventures. 

The bike break-up

Venturing out on a solo ride, Mario and I fell out (and I fell off). His Italian ego quite literally snapped, throwing me off in the process. Being left bikeless on the second day of camp was less than ideal. Thankfully, the man with the plan, coach Nick calmed me down and got me to hire a pretty decent bike, which was dropped off to my hotel that same afternoon  (Bike Hut - Trek Carbon Frame) 

Train, eat, rest, sleep, repeat...

Despite my running being limited, the Running with us team of Nick, Alex, Siobhan and Mike were very facilitating and I didn't feel as if I was missing out at all. With a few triathletes within the mix, I was rarely riding alone. Bike threshold sessions were completed on the same loop as other athletes completing their marathon paced long runs. Thankfully, with the shin behaving itself, I managed to build up to 45-60 minutes of successive running, followed by rest or cross training. With all the added rest between sessions and nailing the nutrition (ice cream every day of course), my injury continued to improve and I felt myself getting fitter each day. 

                              Train + Eat + Rest = Adapt and Perform   

With a performance approach for all aspects of the camp, including the training sessions, the one to one consults and workshops, it ensured that every athlete's goals and training focuses were included. It didn't matter if you were a marathoner, track runner or triathlete of any level. Everyone was able to train together, learn from the wealth of knowledge of the running with us team and come away from the camp a better athlete. 

What next?

After 10 days of training in the sunshine, fuelling and recovering well, I left Portugal feeling fitter, less injured and slightly more capable of riding a bike. 

Unfortunately, Mario and I are no more, therefore the next few weeks will involve finding a new bike, getting back into training and the exciting prospect of moving into my first property. 

The acute goals, for now, are to be happy, healthy and be able to ride a bike without getting covered in oil or getting a puncture... 

Huge thank you to the running with us team and all the athletes for a great 10 days. 

Also, to the camps partners - Saucony, High 5 Nutrition and Polar UK

Particular thank you to Mel and Indie for constantly rescuing me from several cycling mishaps and for making me laugh so much 

2020 running with us camp - 19th March - 29th March 2020