When the triathlon season is done, if you have an intense structure training plan like myself it is very important to have a break both mentally and physically from swim, bike, run. I have a couple of weeks of no training to allow my body to reset and to mentally miss the sport and build motivation for next year. This is followed by a period of easing back into training sensibly to get the feel back and start building fitness.
During this transition from resting to training I attended the inaugural ETE Surf-Fitness camp. It was a weekend of surfing and related fitness activities, including stand up paddle boarding, stretch and conditioning sessions, running and open water swimming on the beautiful and rugged South Devon coast.
I had never surfed before and was excited to give it a go. I enjoy most things outdoors but didn’t realise how much I would love surfing, in fact I haven’t felt the same buzz for a sport since I started triathlon and know what I’ll be doing in my off seasons from now on! It was a breath of fresh air to do something physical outside the confines of triathlon. Obviously tri is my passion, but everyone needs a break. I found myself paddling and exerting myself but with my mind on enjoyment and learning a new skill, all whilst in the beautiful choppy blue green sea with amazing surroundings of rocky coastline and hills.
The first evening we had a Surf-fitness session with Mags a surfer, international life guard and great fitness instructor from South Africa. We performed Surf specific exercises and stretches that were a great precursor to actually getting in the water.
The next morning we headed down to the Discovery Surf School in Bigbury, where we had our first surf session conducted my Mark and Eva, who were absolutely amazing instructors and managed to get everyone to get what they wanted out of the session and provide great local knowledge for an all round brilliant surf experience. We started with some land based technique work on the beach, for just enough time that we got in the waves with a good place to start but without spending ages waiting to just get in the water! The weather was great for beginner: there were continuous waves for the whole session and the time flew by with great fun had by all.
The rest of the weekend was a mix of beautiful trail running along the coast and around the countryside; more relaxed paddle boarding in the surprisingly warm autumn sun around Burgh Island through the rocks and exploring coves; and open water swimming which were the first strokes I had taken in a couple of weeks. It felt really great to be back swimming. Rather than it feeling ‘back to the grind’, It was a natural transition from exercising doing something new, to back to what I know, but want to do.
The transition the Surf-fitness camp provided back to triathlon specific training felt very healthy mentally and physically. I have definitely got the surfing bug and have been buzzing ever since, feeling freshly motivated to get working ready for the next triathlon season!