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2:09 Runner’s Training Camp, Algarve Portugal

Beautiful running terrain. Given the choice, you would...
Beautiful running terrain. Given the choice, you would…

Chris March took part in this week long training camp clocking up approximately 60 miles in the process. A well structured training programme including input and guidance from experts such as Mike Gratton (London Marathon winner) and Bruce Tulloch (European 5,000m champion). Chris had a wonderful time and you can read her report, see details of the training programme and lust at her photos below:

2:09 Spring Training Camp: Algarve, Portugal

This is something I’ve done every other year for the past 10 years – and after completing my 5th camp I’m still getting loads out of it. I managed to clock about 60 miles over the week, mainly in lovely sunshine, flat runs and with amazing views! Not to mention the folks who you meet year after year which really make it soooo much fun!

Here’s the ‘low down’…

Where: Falesia (nearish Faro) on the Algarve – so a mix of off road, cliff top, beach, track and cross country runs.

It’s run by: Mike Gratton – he won the 1983 London Marathon in 2 hours 9 minutes – hence 2:09 http://www.209events.com Also on the scene is Bruce Tulloch (won the European 5,000 Championships in Belgrade in 1962 as the bare-footed runner in a near world record time). They, together with a bunch of personal coaches, experienced marathon runners and physios are always on hand to give you advice on your training plans, injuries etc. Injured or not – you can always book in for a massage at the camp – and the masseur is fantastic! All this is included in the camp fee.

Running facilities: The track/tennis courts/gym is right next to the accommodation – so it’s all very compact.

And of course food: Loads of great restaurants within walking distance so energy conservation very much is the order of the day.

Onto the ‘order of the day’ (oh this report has so much flow…); here’s the 7 day programme:

Morning Afternoon Afternoon Evening
Thursday Arrivals Arrivals 4:30 pm: meet on track for steady run (about 5 miles)
Friday 8:00 am: steady 5 mile run 3:00 pm: Core Stability work 4:00 pm: 3K Time Trial on the track (to organise training groups by ability) 7:00 pm: Training talk with Mike Gratton followed by pizza party!
Saturday 8:00 am: steady 5 mile run 3:00 pm: Yoga 4:00 pm: Track or speed work 7:00 pm: Q & A injuries and prevention talk
Sunday 7:30 am: long runs – anything from 8 to 26 mile runs Rest – phew! More rest! 7:00 pm: Training talk with Bruce Tulloch (you know where!)
Monday 8:00 am: steady 5 mile run
Visit to Silves
3:00 pm: Pilates 4:00 pm: Track or speed work 7:00 pm: Sports medicine talk
Tuesday Falesia 5K race 3:00 pm: Yoga 7:00 pm: Training talk
Wednesday 8:00 am: medium/long runs (6-12 miles) 3:00 pm: gym work Tempo runs and relay race! BBQ night followed by karaoke and lots of laughs!!
Thursday 8:00 am: steady 5 mile run (that’ll be right!) 4:30 pm: meet on track for steady run (no way – still suffering after effects of good night on Wed!)

After imbibing rather a lot of sangria and what can only be described as Portugese paintstripper I was awarded a prize for the 5k race … I think it was for being first in category … but who knows!!!

Of course you can do as much or as little of the programme as you like. If you want to spend time lazing by the pool – you’re welcome to, although most folks tend to throw themselves into the full programme! This year it involved lots of running in the sunshine; apart from a 14 mile run on the Sunday in a thunder/lightning storm and then hail! Balmy!! Grateful I had my sunglasses with me though to stop the pain from the hail hitting my eyes! Still, what an exhilarating experience and at least it was warm! Of course, as luck would have it we were 10 mins from the hotel and the sun started to shine again … for the rest of the week thankfully!

I think though the real plus points are having a programme so you don’t need to think about it too much and the mix of core work, speed and track work together with the steady and longer runs is great. I wouldn’t do a lot of this stuff over here – or in such an intense programme … at least not at the moment … but perhaps our Thursday evening crowd should be warned … I’ve picked up one or two sessions which I will be putting into the programme …

A selection of photos:

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