GETTING TOUGH IN LANZAROTE, SPAIN
While the Canary Island of Lanzarote is officially part of Spain, this scenic volcanic island sits just 100 km off the coast of Africa and about a four-hour flight from Madrid. Flights from Germany, France and the U.K. are about the same length, making Lanzarote a popular winter destination for Europeans looking for sun and sand.
Since 1983, Lanzarote has also been an incredibly popular destination for athletes. Founded that year, Club La Santa, set on the western side of the island, offers the ultimate in training facilities, which makes it a popular training camp venue for national teams as they prepare for major competitions. (If you head to Club La Santa in January or February of an Olympic year you’re likely to see a plethora of past and future medallists.) Last year two more eight-lane 50 m pools were added to the original 10-lane Olympic length pool that has been a mainstay for triathletes and swim teams alike for decades.
Triathletes aren’t likely to take in all of the 38 sports that Club La Santa offers its guests, but they will spend lots of time in one of the pools, the fully equipped weight room, getting some speed work done on the 400 m outdoor track, and taking in one of the numerous core, yoga or ball sessions offered every day. After all the hard work athletes can enjoy some relaxing time on the beach, next to the spectacular leisure pool or in the spa that includes all the amenities you’d ever need for some recovery time.
Here’s what’s even better – as nice as Club La Santa might be, one of the major highlights of any training trip to Lanzarote is the cycling. Almost every ride is in high winds and over the challenging terrain, but along with all the hard work you’ll be floored by the spectacular views and vistas along the way. An influx of money from the European Union about five years ago allowed the local government the luxury to pave a good portion of the roads around the island, which makes for some smooth riding.
Club La Santa isn’t your only option when it comes to accommodations in Lanzarote. Sands Beach Resort has become another popular training spot on the eastern side of the island, offering a 25 m pool to go along with the outstanding cycling and running options the island offers.
Lanzarote doesn’t only serve as a training spot for athletes from around the world – Ironman Lanzarote is considered one of the most challenging Ironman races in the world thanks to the two major mountain climbs and inevitably tough winds that make the bike course a treat for those looking for the ultimate test. Club La Santa, the title sponsor of the full event, also puts on Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote in September, which is based right in the resort.
For those looking for a unique and intense training experience, it’s hard to go wrong with a trip to Lanzarote.–
OPPOSITE Training in Clermont, Fla.
TOP LEFT Ironman Cozumel
TOP RIGHT Ironman Lanzarote 2015