Warm weather training has become a popular alternative to your usual holiday as you can combine a fabulously sunny destination with your favourite healthy pastime such as running, cycling 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 athletes 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 the option to cater for the non-athlete needs would be ideal.
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 Algarrobo 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, a striking coastline. 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 the road.
Cómpeta, as you can imagine, is not your usual back drop for a triathlon camp but Chili Triathlon Camp has made it their home. The camp has been set up to provide both swim, cycling and running coached training alongside an open air gym to provide cross training options such as Metafit™ HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), 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. The static cycling studio is the only fully outdoor spin studio in Europe and has views overlooking the mountains down to the Torre del Mar 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 BTF and ASA 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!
Karen Parnell Profile