Long Course Weekend training: Lanzarote

Yorkshire.com is following Emma Oakes, an athlete training for the first Long Course Weekend (LCW) event in England.

The target

LCW is a fantastic three-day multi-discipline sports festival, taking place in Masham from 6-8 September 2024. It is expected to bring athletes from across the globe to compete in three incredible days of world class sport.

The unique LCW format means that athletes can take part in one of the individual disciplines or all three – they can also choose their challenge by selecting their preferred distances for the weekend. However, to secure the coveted 4th medal they must complete the longest distance in all three categories.

Friday comprises the 1.2 or 2.4 mile Yorkshire Dales Swim in the stunning Grimwith Reservoir, followed by the cycle element on the Saturday – the 56 or 112 mile Yorkshire Dales Sportive in The Yorkshire Dales National Park. Sunday provides participants with the choice of a Marathon, Half Marathon,10k or 5k taking in some spectacular countryside and ending in Masham with a red-carpet finish. Find out more and enter here.

Fancy being part of the volunteer team that puts on some of the biggest sporting events in the UK? Then you can apply online here. Volunteers are needed to help with route marshalling, manning aid stations, pre and post event set up and more. Volunteers get their very own medal and of course entry to the post event party!

Or if you’re a Yorkshire business keen to know more about sponsorship opportunities please get in touch with Oliver Duckett on 01437 765 777 or contact him via info@lcwyorkshire.com.

Emma Oakes Training Diary: Lanzarote

This week I have been on my first ever training camp. I was very nervous, excited and a bit worried, going away on my own, leaving my kids to go train with a bunch of people I have never met before. But I needn’t have been worried, everyone was so nice on camp and my kids (apart from missing Mummy) were ok at home with Dad and all the Grandparents coming and going.

So Total Tri Training do lots of camps this time of year and I opted for Lanzarote as I used to go there every year with my husband pre kids, and it was a good chance to go back and train on familiar routes. There were about 25 of us and not all were TTT athletes. Some were just after an active holiday or wanting to get that motivation back pre-season. There were people of all abilities from top age groupers to those just wanting to get fitter. We did 2-3 sessions per day, and nothing was compulsory. Everyone had their own agenda with what they wanted to get out of the week. Some opted for skipping a morning run session in favour of hitting the bike harder later. I wanted to do every session to the best of my ability and get 100% out of the week as I don’t get this opportunity very often. My coach, Tony, was a coach on camp, so it was also a good chance to meet him and chat about my training and the season ahead.

The first day was a bit windier than we had hoped and with 27mph winds and 40mph gusts the coaches opted for a run session in the morning as group riding was a bit dangerous. After a couple of light days training with packing/travelling etc a hill interval run session in the heat and wind was one way to shock the body into action. I started this session well, but the heat slowly zapped any energy I had, and I quickly realised that I needed to let my body acclimatise a bit before going too hard. Once I had recovered a bit, I had a spin out on the bike with a couple of other girls to make sure the bike was ok. The cross winds were a bit scary (at some points I felt like I was leaning at 45o to counteract the wind) and challenged my bike handling skills. Even though the winds died down a bit throughout the week, they were still a feature of every ride and challenged my resilience and skills as a rider. Most afternoons at 4pm there was a swim session. We put ourselves in groups of ability as the coaches guided us through our sets which included sighting, diving, and paddle work.

Thursday started with a pre breakfast easy run on a mixture of road and trails. The cloud was a welcome break to the sun and heat. With half board included in the camp we had a buffet for breakfast and dinner. There was so much choice and easy to load up on food between sessions ready for the bike at 10.30am. I opted for the 27 mile route for my first bike out as I was wisely told it is better to go easy in the beginning then build through the week. It was a lovely ride and my group split with 3 of us going off ahead as we were slightly faster, even getting in a coffee stop at the famous Jonnie Bakes in Teguise. H

ead coach Phil sent out GPX routes of all the rides the night before so we could look at the routes and load the one we wanted to do on our Watches/Bike Computer. I’ve not used my Garmin watch much for navigation (I have just upgraded to Garmin Fenix 7s), but I used it all the time this week and I’ve got to say it was brilliant. I never got lost once and I even used it for running on the trails. We ended the day with a swim, 50m as easy/hard. There were so many 50m, my arms were weak by the end as the person leading our lane was setting a solid pace. Plus, I’m only doing 1 swim session a week at the moment, and I think my arms were putting up a little protest having to do consecutive swim sessions.

Friday I was up early as it was noisy in our apartment as the wind had picked up again. 8am run to start the day 2x12min LT1 (marathon pace), 3x4min Z4 (5k pace). I worked in a group with 2 other girls and we helped each other through the wind. I felt tired after this session and I found it hard to eat after as I needed more time for my body to settle before food, but I managed to get something in me and even had a little rest before heading out on the bike. Group 3 today, 40mls planned, headwind there, tailwind back.

After the morning run, I had no climbing strength in me, and I got dropped on the first climb out of Costa Teguise. I battled through the wind on my own for a bit and focused on not letting the group get too far ahead. Luckily, they stopped for me and once I was with the group I stuck to the back wheel of the rider in front, and we pushed on. There were 6 coaches on camp and today we had Chris leading our group, setting the pace, and letting us shelter behind him in the wind. Getting to Orzola was such a brilliant feeling as I knew just one hill to go, then it would be wind behind all the way back and straight to the café.

I know it sounds strange to have a rest day when you are on camp for a week, but I really needed it. When I say rest day, I still did an easy 3ml run in the morning and a 2600m swim in the afternoon, but the rest of the day was sunbathing, shopping for presents for the kids, reading, stretching, and eating. I really needed this to allow my legs to recover before the last 2 days on camp.

Sunday was hill climbing day in the mountains and after the rest day my legs felt fresh and strong. Luckily with Lanzarote, as it is such a small island everything is easily accessible. Tabeyesco is a well-known climb in Lanzarote, and it is such a lovely route. A 10k steady climb of 5% with a few steeper sections and some hairpins at the top. The idea of today’s ride was a steady endurance pace up to the very top and then for those that wanted to, a ride back down to the bottom of the hairpins and then to push the pace back to the top again. I love this climb, and riding down the hairpins, so I opted to do it twice and even beat my first time by 19secs. After a re-fuel and rest, the day was rounded off with a 45min easy run on trails. I took this very easy, but it was a nice stretch out for the legs.

We were lucky on this camp that Infinit https://www.infinitnutrition.eu/  nutrition joined us and let us try their products. One bottle contains all the energy, electrolytes, and hydration you need per hour, and it was nice not having to take so much food with me. I have never used energy drinks before having only used gels and bars but felt the benefit up Tabeyesco and made me think a bit more about my nutrition. Especially after the talk we had from Total Endurance Nutrition on fuelling for race day. It was interesting and gave me lots to think about.  

The last day was a long day in the mountains and me and another girl Catherine opted for the 60 mile route with 1800m of ascent. So, we set off earlier than the other groups so we could take our time and not have to be constricted by a certain pace. It was a hard start, uphill into the wind for the first 10 miles and my lower back was hurting so badly by the time I got to the top (need more time in the saddle) and I was so glad to give it a stretch.

Most of the roads over there are so smooth and amazing to ride on. The cars also give you lots of room and I never feel unsafe when out riding in Lanzarote. The whole ride was a mixture of hills, crazy crosswinds, fast downhills, beautiful scenery, and smooth tarmac. It was a challenging but rewarding day and I ticked off my longest route since having kids. It made me realise that I can do this but need a lot more time on the bike to strengthen those muscles that don’t get used enough and to build endurance to get back to where I was, especially before the LCW Sportive. One last coached 3k swim to use up any energy we had left, alternating paddles and then a pull buoy to save my legs any more fatigue (I was non-wet suited).

The last night wasn’t much different to the others apart from there was a few more drinks consumed. We all had a well-deserved dinner, sat and talked for a while before bed called. I made the most of having an uninterrupted night’s sleep and was in bed early. Most people were shattered each night after all the activity.

One last run on Tuesday morning before the final pack and the camp is complete. It’s been a brilliant week and I’ve met so many amazing people all with their own stories and motivations. We have all pushed and been pushed by each other. At the beginning of the week my body felt like it was being pushed to my limit but over time it has adapted to the day-to-day aspect of training and as I finished the end of the week, I felt stronger, like I could easily stay for another one. The key I feel is not to go too hard too early, eat plenty and rest where you can. I did a lot of stretching after each session, as most people went straight to sit down, I had a good stretch. I made the most of this as I don’t have the luxury of time at home to stretch properly as I usually have a child that wants to be attended to as soon as I get back. All the aches that I felt at the beginning of the week only got better and now my task is to keep it up as much as possible.

I missed my kids so much and thought about them every day while I was there, but I have got so much out of this week. I’m glad I came, and I will go on another again sometime.

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Training Summary

  • Mon – 1hr Strength
  • Tue – Arrive Lanza, 1000m swim
  • Wed – 1hr hill intervals, 20 mile bike, 2900m swim
  • Thurs – 50 min run, 27 mile bike, 2600m swim
  • Fri – 1hr 20 run, 40 mile bike      
  • Sat – 3 mile run, 2600m swim (Rest day)
  • Sun – 40 mile bike, 45min run
  • Mon – 60 mile ride Lanza, 3k swim
  • Tue – 5.5 mile easy run, Leave Lanza
  • Wed – Day off
  • Thurs – 2400m club swim
  • Fri – 50min easy run
  • Sat – 2hr 20min bike
  • Sun – 1hr varied pace run

Direct flights to Lanzarote from Leeds-Bradford Airport

There are regular services to Lanzarote from Leeds-Bradford Airport throughout the year, with prices as low as £23 (not including offers!). The flight time is around 4.5 hours with both Jet2 & Ryanair offering direct flights.

Related Accommodation

The accommodation below is nearby - and has been updated recently.

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