Swim & Run Camp

Victoria, BC December 7-9, 2018

On December 16-17th, MelRad Racing is hosting a swim and run camp in Victoria, BC.  You might be thinking: “Why the heck would I want to go train hard RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS?” or “I’m not interested in training before Christmas.”  Those are fair comments and I get that it is hard to do camps when racing is a LONG WAY AWAY but I am going to explain why I think this camp is valuable at this point in the year.

This camp is not about mileage, fitness, or testing.  Instead, the goal is to instill habits, knowledge, movement patterns, and understanding.  Athletes need to know where their gaps in competency exist.   A coach can tell you “you need to work on your swim” or you can say yourself “I wish I swam faster” but that isn’t identifying the gap.

There are a lot of reasons swimming can be challenging.  Lack of shoulder mobility, lack of strength in your back, lats, or triceps, incorrect pull in the water, incorrect breath timing, or finally (there are a lot more but I’m trying to keep the word count down) it could be fitness that holds you back. Doing one-arm drills with shoulders that can’t reach an effective pull is not going to effect change on your swimming (meaning drills will be a waste of your time).

The Swimming

There are three swim workouts in the camp.  Each session includes dryland strength and mobility.  There will be three different workouts addressing three aspects of swim fitness: technique, turnover, and strength.  I will teach you what the difference is between these different workouts and why you need all of them this time of year.  Notice there is no testing and no threshold.  We will discuss the foundation of swim fitness and how it is achieved in order to build toward race specific fitness in another phase of training later in the year.

Training for triathlon swimming is different than training for pool swimming. Most of the time you are going to be in a wetsuit. This camp addresses that key factor in determining WHAT TO WORK ON.


MelRad having fun at swim sessions

The Running

The second objective of this camp is addressing running form.  The most impact of all three sports in triathlon on your body comes from running.  Most triathletes have paid to have a bike fit but next to none have had any run form analysis.  Most people think they know how to run, but don’t-full stop.  Many people do not understand HOW to run.. they just go out and move their legs at a pace faster than walking.  With little to no run form knowledge, there is exposure to significant injury through poor biomechanics.

Triathletes often think they get injured from doing too much speed work and in some cases this is true – but it may not be the speed session itself that is the problem.  I would argue that more athletes get injured because their slow runs are not slow enough and/or when they are really slow, their form is bad and introduces the risk of injury.  As we head into the first phase of base training, doesn’t it make sense to get some work on HOW we run?

This swim and run camp is going to address how to run EASY (a feeling – not a pace is the perfect definition from my friend Marilyn Arsenault) with an awareness of the things you should ALWAYS be thinking about when you are running easy.  All running requires conscious thought and engagement.

On Saturday, we are doing a workout with short hills that will introduce how to run WELL, and how to incorporate this work into your program.  Finally, we will cap a great weekend of training with a long run/hike on Sunday in the beautiful trails in Victoria using what we learned about being conscious of our form during all of our running.

We will also being having a fun camp dinner on Saturday night.  Whether you are focused on Ironman, short course, or XTERRA, this swim and run camp for triathletes is a great foundation clinic on how to approach your workouts to make the most of them in the new year and how to take steps to improve your weaknesses in swim and run.

Event Itinerary


Welcome campers! I am super excited to offer the first swim/run MelRad Racing camp to build toward the 2019 season.  I am excited to get things rolling. This outline will help you prepare what to bring to the camp and what to expect.  New campers have the benefit of training with some grizzled veterans so you will have lots of support over the weekend.

First rule of the camp:


So toughen up.  Second rule of camp:


This is an opportunity to learn, have fun and get some fitness.  Everyone at camp is an ally.  Make friends, work together and learn from each other.  In sessions I will likely organize you guys in groups of similar focus or ability.  If you are grouped up please look out for and don’t lose anyone in your group.  It’s not a competition – it is a collaboration.  Seasoned MelRad Squad athletes are excellent to learn from so if you are new definitely ask questions of the alumni.

We will start on deck on Friday at 6:15pm in the water at 7pm.  See below for what to bring.  Mention you are part of a camp and don’t pay at the front desk for entry at Crystal Pool.  For the swim sessions you will need your swim toys, a yoga mat, and to be wearing gym strip on deck.  We will do mobility before every swim.

We are back at the pool again Saturday morning for a long course practice.  Dryland will be brief before this session.  We can hit the local coffee shop for a quick snack/coffee before the run.  The run will start at the Glendenning entrance of Mount Doug. We will meet at around 8:45 am (we’ll sort it out as a group how much time is necessary).  Park on Mt Doug Cross Road at the corner of Glendenning and walk to the park entrance parking lot because there’s never any parking in there.  It is about 300m walking. 


This workout is posture and technique workout but uses a lot of strength.  We are going to work on run form both up and downhill.  It will be fun and you will learn lots.  Those who did the last camp can look at building to running and potentially bounding this session.

There will be a rest break until 1:30.  The group will be divided into the 2pm or the 3pm session at Crystal Pool.  I am breaking the group up into two groups so that I can have a bit more time with each athlete. Plan to arrive 30’ before your session to do dryland OYO. 

The final Saturday session will be the 4:15 pm strength session for an hour upstairs in the fitness room at Crystal pool.

Sunday morning we will start at 8:30 on deck in the water 8:45-10am.  We are going to do a lot of kicking and potentially work on some turns. 

Then we will meet for a coffee/snack and get to Topaz Park for a drills session to build on the Mt Doug workout.  This is an agility/landing/posture workout as well.

Then we will have a short break to go have brunch/lunch and maybe have a nap.  The camp will resume at the Mount Work parking lot at 2pm for a hike.  We will get a solid session on the legs uphill working on that POSTURE and building some strength on a challenging long hill. This is an optional workout.   If anyone is exhausted/done after the morning you do NOT have to do this session!

After the hike, we will hit Mosi for a warm drink and their delicious baked treats.  I have suggested a fun secret Santa gift exchange but this is optional!  You don’t have to do this part J and since you are reading this please send me a quick note saying whether you are in.  Secret Santa is supposed to be fun but sometimes it is a HASSLE if you have to do a million.  Please say NO if this is piling on! 

Most of the MelRad squad is coming to this session so you can meet a few more in the group if you just want to do the treats and warm drinks.

The best weather prediction is at www.weather.gc.ca . Probably expect to have a rainjacket and layers for the run and the biking sessions.  Saturday is more standing, skills, learning since you will be tuckered from running.  Sunday is uphill.  So you will need a variety of layers.

Equipment you need for the swimming:

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Goggles
  • Cap
  • Yoga mat
  • Swim cords (most of my group has these and I have extras)
  • Dryland clothing comfortable for exercises on deck
  • Band (I have extras)
  • Paddles (not necessary)
  • Fins (there are some at the pool I have size 9s)

Equipment you need for the runs/bikes/strength:

  • Layers for rainy weather (the hike will require more layers than the Saturday technical session)
  • A hat
  • Shoes
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • A run watch
  • A good attitude

If you have any questions about where the locations to meet are please ask in advance. Any questions or concerns, please let me know.  I need the waiver/info sheet and payment on Friday.  Thank you and looking forward to it!!