Trips like the one we’re currently on tend to offer the most valuable training: intense focus, inspiring new terrain, other coaches to learn from and athletes to learn with. But training camps can also be, well, draining camps.
In addition to the physical fatigue caused by a camp’s heavy load of training volume and intensity, acute mental degradation can (does) result from the co-habitation of 11 teammates and 2 coaches over the course of 17 days. This phenomenon is amplified when access to external social outlets and alternative productive activities is limited.
Pretty pictures of Utah’s scenery offer a lovely and accurate portrait of our western surroundings, but fail to capture the daily struggle we all experience internally, and increasingly externally, over the course of a training camp. Below I have outlined the common stages of PTSD (commonly known as Prolonged Training Sanity Deterioration), based on real life happenings at this very camp.
As a visual guide, I’ve borrowed this image from a Study Abroad program.
Phase Green Days 1-3, Arrival Confusion & Honeymoon
Day 1: Travel. Sanitizes all surfaces and self with lysol wipes.
Day 2: Procurement of own food begins. Hoarding ensues.
Day 3: Calf massages, athletic tape, and horse cream
Phase Blue Days 4-7, Oxygen Deficiency (“The Plunge”)
Day 4: Oxygen saturation at 91% (wayy too low). Takes iron supplement. Feels like garbage.
Day 5: Starts to question life choices.
Day 6: “My back hurts.” [Absence of further thought.]
Phase Purple Days 7-8, Initial Adjustment
Day 7: Day off. Leaves home. Eats Mexican food. Feeling feliz.
Day 8: Feels rested. Does sprint workout with national team and “actually doesn’t look that bad.”
Phase Orange Days 9-12, Tension (“Confronting Deeper Issues”)
Day 9: Wonders how it is possible to feel so bad, when felt so good just yesterday. Call of Duty (men). Reads whole book (women). Star Wars (all).
Day 9.5: Someone gets sick. Quarantine enforced.
Day 10: Dream sharing, including: C.O.D. nightmares (see Day 9), and coach’s announcement of dream that two team members are dating.
Day 11: Declares publicly, “I miss my girlfriend.”
Day 12: Day off. Excitement wears off quickly with realization of dearth of activity options. Goes Bowling. “It was the best night of our lives!” Goes in hot tub. Gets dehydrated. No regrets.
Phase Amber Days 13-15, Losing it.
Day 13: See Boys can’t lift chair.
Day 14: Subconsciously pulls down own pants mid-conversation, revealing underpants to un-expecting audience.
Day 15: Sends text message to teammate from upstairs to downstairs. Discovers living organism colony in water bottle. Changes return flight to include stopover in Cali.
Phase Red Days 16-17, The End is Near
Day 16: Takes nap on road during practice. Eats donut size of face. Neglects to remove backpack after training and eats lunch wearing backpack.
Day 17: WE GOTTA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In all honesty, it has been a productive and fun camp full of long workouts, great Mexican food, and beautiful mountains. But we all can’t wait to get back to Craftsbury, and hopefully regain our collective sanity. Yikes!