Training Camp 2016

BY IN Exercise Institute News On August 2, 2016

Our annual training camp for 2016 featured both non-elite and elite male and female triathletes and cyclists, held in the beautiful training region of Ferguson Valley. Athletes had access to undulating sealed and unsealed roads for cycling, running trails and a man made lake for swimming. Importantly the training area was largely removed from urban aspects with the bulk of training occurring within a ‘green landscape’ of forests, bushland and beautiful naturescapes. Training in green environments has been shown to improve health aspects and even athletic performance variables thus we took advantage of some of the recent empirical findings.

Having a diverse mixture of athletes/exercisers present for a training camp could have some inherent difficulties, however everyone attending the camp shared similarities with respect to training dedication and commitment, meaning we all shared a similar path forward toward different goals. Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Ironman World Championships, Australian Masters Cycling Championships etc were some of the goals of our attendee’s, with others wanting to simply get some training in and enjoy a peaceful setting. Task accomplished for everyone.

Attendee’s were able to share their experiences around training, pour over data and talk about training strategy and focus when not exercising. Each evening, after around 4-5hrs of training per day, we reviewed innovative aspects around exercise training and racing. Some of these aspects were as follows:

  • What is polarized training and how do we identify high and low intensities? Polarised training refers to training at intensities above the 2nd ventilation threshold (high intensity) and below the 1st ventilation threshold (low intensity). Through base training periods a 20/80 ratio might apply (20% of volume high intensity, 80% of volume low intensity). On discussing these issues with our attendees it was apparent that most were training too hard too often, which diminished their ability to train hard when required. Polarised training can optimise performance variables, and was something each athlete knew about theoretically but applying it to actual practice was difficult to implement. Learning how to train high and low was thus explored practically day to day through the camp.
  • Self Determined motivation refers to motivation that is intrinsic in nature and ‘of ones own volition’, this motivation can lead to optimal health & performance outcomes. We outlined what the psychological needs are for exercisers, including autonomy, relatedness and competence and discussed how these needs can be effected through injury, poor performance and even travelling/racing in foreign environments. The psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness and competence are required in order for an individual to have a high level of self determined motivation. This form of motivation can lead to optimal health and well-being outcomes and even improvements in sports performance. Strategy around how to safeguard each athletes psychological needs was explored and discussed to enhance their own athletic journey.
  • The role of carbohydrate in high intensity exercise is something that can be overlooked when attempting to lose weight or improve a power/weight ratio. The body uses different percentages of fuel mixtures (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) as exercise intensity increases. If carbohydrates are not present through high intensity exercise (exercise above the 2nd ventilation threshold) then the amount of time spent at this intensity can be compromised and reduced. We explored the ratio of carbohydrate use at high intensity and discussed strategy to improve intake in and around exercise. We were able to demonstrate acute increases in performance across our training camp on days when intake was adequate, this is in line with current recommendations around carbohydrate intake for high intensity exercise. Again we were able to put to practice some of the theory during the training camp for best effect.

Across the 5 days attendee’s were able to explore and discuss strategy aimed at furthering their own development, not just for short term gain, toward longer term objectives. Understanding that the greatest strength of any athlete lies years, even a decade away, is important in safeguarding their own development through sport or exercise. Be it a high profile event result or the completion of a participation event, many factors can improve your chances of success and enjoyment through the training process.


Ferguson Valley Naturescape


Swimming in the local lake area


Accommodation set along the banks of the forest and lake area


Gnomesville with Hannah


Wellington Dam


Ferguson Valley


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