Training in the Algarve
Excellent facilities, beautiful surroundings and a warm, sunny climate makes the Algarve an ideal location for all forms of activity training.
The Algarve is the perfect training base for anyone wanting to get fit, and is long-established as the pre-eminent training centre for athletes of all disciplines, writes local triathlon trainer Chantal Cummings.
It is a playground for swimmers, runners, tennis players, cyclists and general outdoor enthusiasts as a result of its fantastic facilities and Mediterranean climate - the area benefits from the mildest winters in mainland Europe. Triathletes and cyclists love the quiet, beautifully smooth surfaced roads which give individuals the chance to enjoy the stunning scenery, fabulous climbs and fast sweeping and technical descents.
Training near Albufeira (all images © Tri Training Harder)
One of the reasons the Algarve is so popular as a holiday destination is because it is so easily accessible. Triathletes and cyclists will find themselves in an ideal training base in the most southern regions of the Algarve where they have easy access to the mountain range of Serra de Monchique and the coastal regions of Faro and Albufeira.
Several camps are situated on the central part of the Algarve coast, easily reached from Faro airport. A favoured location is Vilamoura, which offers fabulous swimming, track and cross-country facilities, as well as just to the west around the larger resort town of Albufeira. Another popular area is around the town of Lagos in the western Algarve.
The broad range of steady, quiet back roads, challenging mountain climbs and hair-raising technical descents makes for a varied and enjoyable cycling experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. The orange groves, lemon and olive trees, dry stone walls and an abundance of wild flowers give way to jagged coastal cliffs or steep wooded mountains with impressive views.
A Category 2 climb in the hills
The track facilities for runners are second to none, and there are numerous off-road routes for trail runners, along the cliffs and up in the hills. For swimmers, most camps will include an olympic-size swimming pool - while for open-water swimming there's always the sea (wetsuits will be available for the winter swimming, when the sea temperature is down at around 14°C).
Training camps will also offer comprehensive gym facilities for weight training and specialist pursuits.
An area of outstanding natural beauty with stunning, rugged coastlines, blue sea, miles of citrus trees and dramatic mountain ranges, the Algarve is the home of high quality tourism in Portugal. The mountains of the Serra de Monchique are breathtaking in their beauty and grandeur, and in connection with how hard you can push to get to the top on your bike, or running along a mountain trail, breathlessness is certainly an understatement!
TOP 5 EXPERIENCES
1. Serra de Monchique
Stunning views of the coastline and sea from the top of Monchique with the opportunity to ride to the highest point in the Algarve, Foia.
2. Sweeping descents
The ride down from Barranco do Velho to Tor provides a wonderfully smooth and sweeping 15km descent through some lovely scenery.
3. Dining in the beautiful marinas
Right on the waterfront, giving you a chance to unwind and take in the sea air.
4. Cross Country Course used in 2000 XC World Championships
Run on the same course that was used in the 2000 XC World Championships to give your legs a taste of hard work.
Surfing with the local surf school can offer you the opportunity to test yourself in a different sport. The western Algarve is known for its great waves and attracts a lot of accomplished surfers.
WHEN TO VISIT
Best times to go:
The Algarve is a true year-round destination, but the best times for a training holiday are between January and May before the busy tourist season, and in the autumn months. During these times the roads and local facilities are quiet and the weather is perfect for training with a pleasant temperature. The summer is too hot for most people to do serious training, and the area is far more crowded.
From the 19-23 February The Volta Portugal (Tour of the Algarve) is on and with big names such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish racing in previous years, you can watch them train and race around the Algarve whilst training yourself. The first weekend of March is carnival weekend in Portugal with lots going on.
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