Warm weather training has become a popular alternative to your usual holiday as you can combine fabulously sunny destination with your favourite healthy pastime such as running or triathlon. You can even end your holiday with an organised race so not only come back with a tan but a race medal!
This market has become big business and the fitness package holiday has emerged with chalet style accommodation, large group training in isolated all-inclusive camps. A bit like Butlins for runners!
As runners and triathletes become more
aware of how to train effectively they are looking for more bespoke training to
meet their exact needs. Many people can’t afford two holidays a year so
combining tailored training, sunshine and catering for the non-athlete would be
Southern Spain (Costa del Sol) has been a favourite destination for holiday makes for decades but people are now discovering the true Spain east of Malaga. You can take advantage of the low cost flights to Malaga and then drive east to the Axarquia region and in to the mountains to explore a uniquely Spanish area where health and fitness are woven into the fabric of the white washed villages.
Cómpeta is one such Moorish village. Driving
up the coast from Algarroba you pass picturesque olive groves, Moscatel
vineyards and avocado trees clinging to mountain side. The sight of oranges,
lemons and mangos sitting ripe on the boughs of the trees you pass makes you
realise you have arrived in the real Spain. The largest mountain in the
province of Malaga, Maroma, over looks Cómpeta and reminds you are in for some
great, challenging training!
As you come around the mountain you see
Cómpeta with its white houses stacked higgledy-piggledy, quaint plazas and
cobbled streets, full of signs of their Moorish past. At the centre of the
village is an impressive church built in 1512 and plaza (town square). The
church bells still ring to signal the time. At 650 metres the views down to the
coast are amazing with the curved coastline of Torre del Mar in the distance
very distinctive. The town is known for its artist population and guided walks
through the Almijara Sierra mountain range. Cómpeta has retained an authentic
air with its artisan shops, market selling local produce, authentic restaurants
and traditional festivals. Traffic jams do not exist but the roads are
sometimes blocked for a few minutes to wait for the local goat herd to cross
Cómpeta, as you can imagine, is not your
usual back drop for a triathlon camp but Chili Tri has made it their home. The
camp has been set up to provide both swim, cycling, running and strength &
conditioning coached training alongside an open-air gym to provide cross
training options such as HIIT, Circuit Cross training, static cycling and Pilates
classes. All of the training takes advantage of the fantastic weather with the
majority of it outdoors with views down to the coast.
They also offer an Endless Pool® (water treadmill) for swim stroke video analysis alongside the
usual video gait analysis for runners.
Coached running sessions take place in the
mountain trails, modern local 400 metre running track and the beach running
route. Cycling ranges from challenging mountain climbs similar to Alpe d’huez
to flat fast coastal time trials. For the swimmer then apart from the endless
pool there is a 25 metre pool or open water sea or lake swims.
The camps are fully coached by British
Triathlon Federation, IRONMAN and Swim England certified coaches and during
your stay you will follow a bespoke training plan to meet your exact needs and
goals. The camps are limited to four people and includes accommodation,
coaching, training venues, transport to venues and fitness classes. They also
have a therapy room offering sports kinesiology taping and sports massage. For
the non-athlete various activities can be arranged such as horse riding,
kayaking, art classes, yoga, guided walks and more.
The camp was given a stamp of approval in
June when Paralympic silver medal winning Lauren Steadman came to train for a
week in the run up to Rio.
There is so much to see and enjoy that your
holiday need not be a compromise between sightseeing, chilling by the pool and
winter training – in Cómpeta you can have it all!
ChiliTri Strength and Conditioning Gym
is a great base for cycling in the mountains
ChiliTri Gym and Bed and Breakfast with view down to the coast.
The Endless Pool® swimming training pool at ChiliTri for swim video analysis.
Karen Parnell has been a triathlon coach for 8 years, is a Level
3 High Performing British Triathlon Federation Coach, Tutor and an IRONMAN Certified
Coach. She is also a Personal Trainer and Sport Massage therapist. She has
coached in the UK and now coaches in Southern Spain at her own training camp
(www.chilitri.com). She has raced all around the globe (UK, Spain, France,
Taiwan, Korea, Honk Kong and the US) from sprint triathlons to Ironman 70.3 distance,
rode in various Sportives (including Ride London 100), swimming events and up
to marathon distance running races (including the London Marathon).
Karen coaching at a Swimsmooth coaches’ course
Come follow other expats in Spain on our Facebook group here.