After 4 months of Triathlon Training Camps we’ll have a quick ‘break’ over Kona.
As another camp draws to a close, it’s a nice time for me to reflect on the last four months working at Trisutto.com Triathlon camps – three months in the stunning Swiss Alps in St. Moritz, followed by a month here in Jeju, South Korea; a fantastic location for our athletes to prepare for the conditions of Kona.
Brett (Sutton) has been running squad training camps for his international athletes for over 25 years now, in all locations around the world starting in France in the early 90s. I think it would be fair to say Brett pioneered the international squad / camp training environment in Triathlon and over the years we have seen many other coaches try to emulate his camp set up.
Successful camps are about trying to create a training culture and environment which breeds success. I believe the mix of athletes (men/women/short course/long course) and nationalities invited or accepted into the Trisutto.com squad has been critical to creating a positive group dynamic.
The term ‘success’ is of course relative and is defined differently within the group. For some, ‘success’ equates to Olympic medals or World Titles; for others it means selection in their national team or winning a national level race. For our development athletes, earning a pay cheque from the sport they love is celebrated and recognised by all teammates with us much gusto as another person’s win.
The power of the squad environment when all are dedicated to being the best they can be, when all are pushing and spurring each on, and when all share in celebrating each others success, is extremely motivating.
For an outsider it can indeed appear quite mysterious. Back in the mid 2000’s I used to joke with my (fellow tri-geek) husband ‘how cool would it be to go to one of those camps for one whole week!’…
Early in 2014 Brett expressed a goal to make himself more accessible to age group athletes (as he describes it ‘back to his roots’ as his journey as a triathlon coach originally began with an on-deck age group squad). Firstly came the Trisutto.com training programs. For those after a more customised training option, online coaching became available, with coaches representing all global regions on board – each coach having been personally mentored by Brett.
Opening up the training camps to age group athletes however has not only given campers the opportunity to learn the Trisutto training methods and philosophies directly, but to also experience the very inspiring and motivating training camp environment first hand.
This year in addition to our ongoing professional camps with Brett over the past four months, we have run six separate one week long age group camps by our Trisutto.com coaches and will be doing more next year! (August was an extremely busy month with new people arriving each week!)
Every age group camp opens with the Coach explaining that the goal of the camp is to show the way we do things. We realise that our methods of training are often very different to the typical triathlon text books and coaching manuals. However we are not here to judge who is right or wrong. Rather we prefer to learn what works and what does not work for the INDIVIDUAL.
Our camps are not about volume, but about education. The campers are free to train as much or as little as they like. The focus is always on what is best for the individual (volume and technique).
If a camper would like an opinion on their swim/bike/run technique, Brett for example will look at them over the course of the camp and give his analysis, along with technique tips he believes will make them faster and more efficient over the course of their event. So far, not one single person has passed up this offer! 😉
Swimming is the one of the three sports where the men and the women are often split into different groups as our swim technique instructions between men and women usually differ greatly.
It is always great to see the campers swim strokes evolve so quickly – I can confidently say 90% of our visitors leave camp as faster swimmers, the other 10% advised they all ready have a good technique and to just get fitter!
Campers learn that many of Brett’s teachings in triathlon originate from his experiences in other sports – horse and dog training, squash and of course boxing, where he draws so many parallels to the Ironman world.
They also see that whilst Brett injects a lot of humour into his coaching, this is in fact serious stuff! No stone is left unturned in the pursuit of excellence.
People are often surprised to discover that Brett is not the scary, hard-nosed coach that they have read about in the magazines and forums, but rather a very approachable and extremely passionate coach 100% dedicated to improving athletes. Some have even gone as far as describing Brett as a Teddy Bear, but beware, as he summarises himself:
‘I may be a teddy bear, but at least I’m still a bear…’
I am always amazed at the diversity of countries and cultures we attract to our camps. Triathlon may still be a niche sport but it’s truly global and its popularity is continuing to grow across the world. Campers from 27 different countries have so far attended our 2015 camps; from all continents (except Antarctica!)
The opportunity to meet and train with like-minded people from all over the world, who all share the same passion, is usually an unexpected highlight for the campers and leads to many new friendships across the globe.
The other big highlight is the opportunity to train along side athletes of world class calibre, often doing the exact same set or structured workout. Observing the mentality, mindset and work ethic of these athletes at the very top of the sport truly makes you appreciate how dedicated and talented they are.
Upcoming Trisutto.com camp dates are available here.