Each year, a group of Dartford Harriers athletes travel to Portugal for some warm weather training. Jason Marchant has spent a little time reflecting on the trip this year. Do contact him directly if you are interesting in attending in the future.
The Algarve has quite a few tracks and attracts athletes from across Europe who come there to enjoy the good weather, excellent relaxed environment along with the superb variety of good healthy foods that are on offer.
The hoops went to Vilamoura, a beautiful town with an incredible marina. Vilamoura hosted the IAAF World half marathon championships in 2003, won by Paula Radcliffe, and the World Cross country championships in 2000, not won by Paula Radcliffe (she was 5th).
As Vilamoura has such an endurance race pedigree it is somewhat of a mecca for endurance runners and has excellent and safe off-road running areas where you can regularly see some of Europe’s best runners training.
Although the group that travelled took were mainly endurance runners, the track offers superb facilities for all track and field athletes including 4 long jump pits, indoors and outdoors weight training areas and excellent throwing, high jump and pole vault facilities so is truly suitable for all.
With a good variety of airlines flying to Faro it is always possible to book a cheap return flight. This year, we stayed at the Parque Mourabel hotel complex which we booked through the website alpharooms as it was offering a reasonable price but I have been advised that booking directly with the hotel will get you the best deal. With a bit of shopping around you can book a whole week away for under £300.
While you can’t guarantee the weather over the Easter period it is nearly always warmer than the UK so it is possible to train hard and then just recover in the relaxed environment. It is just what an athlete needs in the preparation for the long track season.
As the beach was reasonably close we included some sand running into our schedule followed by a bit of swimming and some fun riding the surf.
A week away with the hoops is a great bonding experience.
There is plenty to do in the evening if you want to go out and Vilamoura has many good shops to buy all those essentials like Christiano Ronaldo dolls, bottles of vintage Port and all the jewellery you can imagine. Albufeira is only a short taxi ride away if you want to visit a lively tourist resort, like some of our group did.
There are plenty of great restaurants on offer with lots of healthy options. Albufeira even has a restaurant that will let you eat as many ribs as you want for just 15 Euros. Lucas Taylor-Costin set the new club record… chat to him if you want to find out more!
I would highly recommend a warm weather training trip over the Easter period to all our athletes across all disciplines and anyone who just needs an early break from the UK winter and well-earned glass of Sangria. Hoooooops!
Report written by Jason Marchant.