Lanzarote Testimonial - Deanna Laforet

Sporting interests: Running, cycling, swimming

What were your aims before the trip?: I wasn't training for any specific event so I didn't have a particular plan or sessions that I was targeting before I went.  That said, I wanted to go on a few new cycle routes that I hadn't done the year before and wanted to take advantage of the great swimming training in the 50m pool and ultimately increased the training intensity and variety to set myself up for a strong spring and summer. Deanna Laforet

Did you fulfil your aims?: Pretty much.  I certainly enjoyed, and benefitted from, the daily swimming sessions.  I also got out on the bike a few days, but there are still plenty of areas on the island I am yet to explore.  It was a great week of training and I came back energised from it, which is the main thing.

Were you able to train with other Serpies of similar standard?: Absolutely.  There was a range of abilities in all disciplines so I never felt out of place.

Were there a sufficient variety of sessions available to take part in?:  Yes.  There were varied running and swimming sessions all week, the former including a hills session, fartlek session and a nice trail run.  There were two swimming coaches teaching people of different abilities and ranging sessions from focus on technique to stamina building.  There are plenty of cycle routes too and everyday groups are going out.  It wasn't always easy to find a group cycling the distance I wanted to do at a speed I'm comfortable with and on a day that suited my training plan, but that's not to say they didn't exist.

What were the facilities like at Club La Santa? What was the scope of the run/cycle routes around the island?: There are ample facilities at Club La Santa with an Olympic distance pool, gym, running track plus other sports courts for basketball, tennis and beach volleyball etc.  If you want to chill out more they have a small spa and more leisurely activities you can enjoy like crazy golf.

After two years I still haven't run or cycled all the routes, not by a long way, so I would say, yes, there is good scope on that front.  If you are doing relatively short cycles (40-50km) rather than going out for most of the day, I think your options are a bit limited and you might end up doing the same loop in different directions, but you don't get bored in just a week or ten days.

Was there any opportunity to do other sports apart from running/swimming/cycling?:   Yes.  As well as Serpentine putting on a packed schedule of running, swimming and cycling sessions, Club La Santa have an extensive programme of activities from core strengthening sessions and dance classes to wind surfing lessons and squash competitions (though there weren't many people up from that last year so I'm not sure it actually took place).  You can also borrow equipment such as rackets anytime to use as you like (though you can only borrow one thing, which isn't a problem, unless you were planning to play table tennis and crazy golf at the same time).

What were the restaurants and food like at Club La Santa?: The food and restaurants are fine.  There is a decent enough selection of salads, pasta, pizza, omelettes etc. that you can eat happily for a week and with the benefit of the restaurants being within close proximity of your room. Admittedly the restaurant food is not awe-inspiring or memorable, but I was satisfied. It's also easy to cook a few meals at your flat if you prefer or have specific dietary requirements. 

What sort of activities were you able to do in the evenings?: What I was doing was simply eating, resting and a bit of drinking.  But you were able to do much more - play pool in the bar, sing karaoke at the Club La Santa club, go to their little cinema (though I never did that so can't say what kinds of films they show) and the square in the middle of the complex has ‘entertainment' such as live music, but don't assume that it will be any good!

Did you get to know many other Serpies that you had not met before?: Yes, both years that I've been I've met new people.

Would you have any tips for anyone going on the trip for the first time?: Even though the weather is usually nice in the day, it can get chilly and breezy in the evenings so take a warm jumper and probably a windbreaker too.  I think it is also worth taking some of your own food as the Club La Santa supermarket is overpriced and neither that nor the one in La Santa village might have what you want; last year key food I took was muesli (they sell it, but it's expensive), cereal bars, nuts, chocolate and protein shake powder - all very nutritious!  In terms of activities, if you are wanting to get out on the bike for full-day cycles it is worth renting one for the week from Club La Santa or Pro Bike down the road (unless you are bringing your own of course).  At Club La Santa you can hire one for free for a half a day, but it can limit how far you get.