Time to perfect the swim technique. Photo credit: Dana Zucker / Triathlon TravelingMom

Time to perfect the swim technique. Photo credit: Dana Zucker / Triathlon TravelingMom

For the past 10 years, most of our travel has entered around triathlons.  When we’re not headed to a triathlon, the questions always are: Is there a pool? Can I bring my bike? Will my running shoes fit in YOUR bag? So I decided to look into the idea of a triathlon training camp as a way to combine my husband’s love of the sport and our desire to have a real vacation.

It turns out that triathlon training camps make great family vacations–but only if you pick the right one. The camp has to have the right blend of activities for both the athlete AND the family.

Choosing the Right Triathlon Training Camp

There are several different types of triathlon training camps:

  • Those geared for triathletes to train or perfect technique
  • Those  geared for family participation
  • Those set up as self-designed training vacations.

The huge advantage of the first two is that everything is taken care of for you.  Camps are offered at all athlete levels at all budgets. Some last just three days, others last a week.

Without a doubt, I know that a triathlete cannot have a good season without family buy-in and support.   So, in my opinion, structured triathlon training camps make for a much better vacation than one where your triathlete tries to train on his/her own.  I would much rather be with like-minded families while my triathlete is gone for 4-6 hours a day training, than having to vacation by myself with the kids.

Triathlon Training Camps Geared for the Triathlete

Day 1 of a tricamp in Mont Tremblant. Photo credit: Dana Zucker / Triathlon TravelingMom

Day 1 of a tricamp in Mont Tremblant. Photo credit: Dana Zucker / Triathlon TravelingMom

These are camps that start early in the morning and go well into the night.  They are usually held at a race site or training grounds and run by race organizations or coaches.  They are quite training-intensive and focus on improving technique. While these camps may be great for the triathlete, they are much more limiting for the family.

Make sure you do your research on the area before you say yes.  A few things to consider:

  • Does the location appeal to all family members?
  • What are the accommodations like?  Are you staying in a decent hotel or rooms with bunk beds?
  • If you like alone time, is there a kids’ camp and a spa nearby?
  • Are there plenty of attractions nearby to keep everyone entertained while your athlete is training?  Do you feel comfortable taking the kids alone?

Triathlon Training Camps Geared for the Family

Tricamps geared for the family are wonderful.  Not only do they offer great training opportunities for the triathlete, but they offer more time for family activities in a healthy and active setting.  It is the perfect opportunity to let you hair down around like-minded individuals.

Family time after a day of training. Photo credit: Dana Zucker / Triathlon TravelingMom

Family time after a day of training. Photo credit: Dana Zucker / Triathlon TravelingMom

Usually, these camps are run by a triclub or a race site.  They plan for and encourage family time and have scheduled events specifically designed around families.  They know the sport is more than just about the athlete and that a balance is necessary to make everyone happy.  HITS Triathlon Series offers a week-long family-oriented camp in Ocala, Florida that is worth checking out.

The camps we love:

  • Hold 2-3 workouts/meetings a day for a total of no more than 6 hours.
  • Are held at a location that offers a lot to do for the WHOLE family.
  • Have scheduled family time and activities for kids of all ages.

Self-Designed Triathlon Training Camps

Here, you decide where you want to vacation and then your triathlete sets up a training plan for while you are there.  You really need to discuss the details of this arrangement ahead of time to achieve a balance between family time and training.  Otherwise, it may cause too much stress and strain on the family and planning sight-seeing activities may be difficult.  For all the gear you will have to store, rental houses probably make the most sense.

So, I think I’ve covered the basics.  It will be up to your family to decide if a triathlon training camp is a good choice for that precious family vacation.