Solana Beach Advanced clinic review by Elizabeth Richardson
I'm taking the liberty of responding to your inquiry not only directly, but also to Dave's Alumni list.
I agree that meeting with friends at Dave's clinics and camps is a very positive benefit. Dora Choi and Sylvia Ellis were both at the Solana Clinic, who attended camp with us previously, which was advertised as an Advanced Racewalk Clinic, but could easily have been billed as a mini-camp. There were others I had seen at one or more of the few races I've done. I was able to put faces to a few posters here and met some folks too. For me, meeting a large contingent from Arizona was a huge plus as my next race is in Phoenix, so I'll have plenty of friends to meet up with again there.
Karen Byrne was a fabulous clinic host - and she makes about the best chocolate chip cookies you could get anywhere. When we needed to travel, she had maps for us, and, though I wasn't driving, I'm sure this made life easy for those who were.
Dave performed his usual video with insightful analysis. I know he could have given me a half dozen or more things to work on, but I would have been overwhelmed. So I was given 2 areas for improvement. When (if?) I come back with those mastered, I suspect he'll find something more in his bag of tricks for me. That's the thing about Dave. He's able to zero in to how each of us can improve without our feeling the least bit discouraged about how much work we might have to do to truly become racewalkers. Nothing like a weekend with Dave and a couple dozen other racewalkers to come home with renewed enthusiasm and motivation.
Assisting Dave at this mini-camp were 3-time Olympian Phillip Dunn and long-time elite walker Steve Pecinovsy. Each was given ample opportunity to assist, first with some drills. Maybe I wasn't paying as close attention as I might have at camp, but some of the drills I hadn't seen before and I know I'll be incorporating them into my routine as they will help me in my targeted areas of improvement. On the first workout of the weekend, Dave was doing his usual filming while Phillip and Steve were out on the course working with individual walkers.
A major difference with this clinic/camp and his regular clinics and camps is that we had a long workout on Sunday. The scenery couldn't have been more beautiful as we walked along the Pacific Coast Highway while the locals donned wet suits and took to the surf. Again, Dave, Phillip and Steve were out there with us with camera and advice.
After some video analysis and lunch, we were treated to a more than an hour lecture about training from none other than 2-time Olympian Tim Seaman. Dave, the generous fellow that he is, knows that athletes come in all shapes and sizes and perhaps input of a different sort might be just what some of us need. Tim shared a typical training year for Olympians. While they train 7 days a week, a training routine few of the rest of us could maintain, Tim shared the reasoning behind the types of workouts they do and at which times of the year they are likely to be of most benefit to any athlete. He also had some good humor thrown in, particularly a good story on Dave!
Perhaps some of you don't feel as if you are "advanced". If you've attended one of Dave's clinics, you have enough background and experience for this clinic. Yes, there was one elite walker (who I hope is a future Olympian) and a National Masters champion, but the majority were walkers who, for the most part, compete against themselves and the clock. I can't recommend this type of clinic strongly enough. I could even hope Dave might find someone in the middle of the country or on the East coast who would want to host a mini-camp so that more of his alumni would have the opportunity to experience another level of Dave's training.
Thanks Dave, Phillip, Steve, Tim, Karen, especially to Cliff and Claire who were so generous to help with my ground transportation, and all participants for a wonderful weekend!
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