Paratri Training Camp

Last week I spent 4 days at Loughborough University for the GE Great Britain Paratriathlon training camp. This was our one and only camp of the year, held at the University campus where British Triathlon are based, brining together both the Performance squad that I am part of and the affiliate team. So, what did I get up to? Quite a bit really…

This camp was very different to those in the past where we would attend for a weekend 3 times a year and everyone would complete a fairly generic programme. These camps were OK and involved quite a high volume of training which is always good, but I have to admit to wondering what the purpose was of some sessions from both the athlete’s and coach’s perspective.

Anyway, June’s camp represented a quantum leap forward for the Paratriathlon programme in my opinion. It was structured in a way that allowed each athlete to have an individual programme, dropping into group session if and when appropriate. We could also access a range of 1:1 sessions covering specific areas such as Nutrition or Psychology. This approach makes a lot of sense as each athlete, even those within the same category, have such varying needs and levels of experience. It was a very flexible and athlete centred system with the coaches and other support staff holding a kind of multi-disciplinary meeting each evening to review each athletes progress and problem solve where needed.

For my part I had requested some fitness testing in the English Institute of Sport’s lab to help me plan my training towards the World championship in October and also put down some benchmarks to work from for the future. I had also requested a bit of info about the future of the Paratriathlon programme and time to work with a new guide, Carl Shaw.

New Guide Carl Shaw in action

Here’s what I got up to: –


  • Team meeting
  • Nutrition session
  • Tandem introduction session with Carl
  • Bike Max fitness test
  • Bike sub-max fitness test
  • Open water swim with Carl

    Warming up before the moment of truth in the lab


  • Team meeting
  • Swim technique and video analysis session in pool
  • Run intro using blackout glasses with Carl
  • Run Max fitness test
  • Run Sub-max fitness test
  • Wattbike time trial race


  • Open water swim with Carl
  • 90 minute tandem ride with Carl with 10min time trial effort
  • Sports Massage
  • 30 min steady run
  • Sports Psychology session


  • Talk from 4 time world ironman champion Chrissie Wellington
  • 60 min off road run
  • Easy pool session

I found the camp to be a very useful experience over-all. I think it was especially beneficial spending time with Carl ahead of racing together at an international invitation event at Strathclyde during September.

Carl took to swimming with a tether like a (very fast!) duck to water. Like fellow guide Luke Watson, Carl has excellent bike handling skills, so piloting the tandem also seemed to be a doddle. We might need to work a bit more on our running however, as there was a little incident with a lamppost when I was practising in the blackout glasses I have to race in. Still, it was quite a comedy moment, and, reports of a lamppost in Loughborough with a human-sized indent are wide of the mark!

The lab testing was also interesting. I wasn’t quite as good on the max tests as I would have liked (where you push yourself to the limit), but I was much better on the sub max tests. It seems I don’t really produce much lactic acid until almost back at maximum effort, which means I burn fat as a fuel effectively…hurrah!

From what other’s have said, I think the majority of athletes and coaches also found the camp beneficial which is great. If the programme continues to develop along these lines it should be pretty good come Rio 2016 and the Paralympic Games!!

It was certainly a tiring few days though – I hardly stopped! When combined with other training at home prior to the camp, I had done almost 19 hours that week. Not bad considering I usually only have time for about half this. If only I could train like this more often!

After a short recovery period, it’s now time to push on with training and racing for the rest of the season so I am ready for that big day at the end of October, if selected.


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