It’s spring time in Ireland and as the Triathlon season rapidly approaches it was time for the annual Blackwater Triathlon Club Spring training camp. Following several successful years in Killarney we decided to change the venue for 2019 and over the weekend of the 12th to the 14th of April more than thirty club members travelled to the University of Limerick Sports campus. While there they were put through their paces by the crew from Next level coaching, head coach Aaron O’Brien, swim coach Ethan O’Brien, and cycle coaches Darren Dunne and James Quilligan. For one of our new members, Michelle Kearney, this was her first experience of a training camp and the weekend was an opportunity to improve her triathlon skills while also meeting other club members. Michelle has shared her experience of the weekend with us:
It was an amazing opportunity as a beginner triathlete to take part in a 3 day training camp with Blackwater Triathlon Club. As a newbie I was nervous about doing the training camp. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep up and I didn’t really know that many people from the club. I took the leap and signed up and it was one of the best decisions I ever made! There was no need for me to feel nervous or anxious. The other members of the club were lovely, it was a brilliant opportunity to get to meet other club members and at the end of the day we all had the same goal in mind! We all want to compete in triathlons!
The camp was based around the Sports campus at The University of Limerick. We all gathered in the Sports Arena on Friday evening to meet our coaches and they briefed us on what we would be doing over the three days. They emphasised that the weekend would be an opportunity for us to ask any questions, to identify our individual weaknesses and to hopefully improve on techniques for each discipline. There were over 30 BTC members at the camp for the weekend and we were split in to three groups, based on ability and experience. As a beginner I went into Group 3. We then began training proper with a swim in the UL 50m pool. It was amazing. Our instructor had us warming up swimming lengths with fins on our feet. This was a new experience for me as I had never swum with fins on before. We were given different drills to practice and the coaches were just observing us as we swam. They then gave us appropriate feedback at the end of each drill on how to make us tweak our swim technique. Before we knew it we had done over 17 lengths of the 50m pool. This was what furthest that I had ever swum in the pool, a really good start to the weekend for me. After the pool sessions we all checked into the Castletroy Hotel which was going to be our home for the next 3 days. The members then regrouped In the bar to catch up and get to know everyone.
Day 2 started off with fuelling at the breakfast buffet! We had a long day of training and it was important to fuel the body. By 9am we were on the bikes. We stayed in our Groups again and each group had a dedicated instructor to lead the group on this morning cycle. It was a beautiful morning to see the countryside and we spent 2.5 hours on the bike, working on technique and group riding. At this stage it was time to rest and refuel again before our second pool session. I took the opportunity to have an hour in bed and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out for the count. All this exercise is tiring. At 1pm we gathered at the pool again for another hour of high quality swim coaching. The UL Sports arena is an amazing facility, especially the 50m pool. Again we practiced different drills which would benefit our swimming technique.
After the pool we only had 30 minutes to dress, refuel and get ourselves onto the running track. At this stage the energy levels were starting to fade, plus running is not my strongest discipline. The weather had turned and the rain started to fall, I stayed with group 3 for a couple of drills but by now I just had no energy left, so I took myself off to the coffee shop which overlooked the running track and watched the other club members train in the rain. That evening we all went out for dinner as a club. It was lovely to meet everyone on a social level to get to know people better.
On the Sunday morning we were due to go out on the bikes again, but the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was just unsafe to go out on the road. This was unfortunate but plans were changed quickly and we took to the UL Sports arena spinning room where the instructor put us through a high intensity spinning session. Following the spinning class it was time to head back to the pool for the last time for another excellent coaching session, before heading home, tired but happy.
The weekend was fantastic not just on a training level but on a personal level. It was great to meet the other members of the club and put faces to the names. Everyone made everyone feel welcome over the 3 days. So if you are a beginner like I am and you are looking at joining – it will be the one of the best decisions you make!
Well done to Michelle and everyone who took part in the camp this year. It’s definitely worth considering for 2020, no matter what level of triathlete you happen to be.