10 UK Supergyms for Endurance Athletes
Will Ross, January 7, 2015
In many ways winter is the best time to kickstart your training regime – festive eating sessions are inbound, New Year’s resolutions must be met and the judgement period that surrounds Valentine’s Day looms closer.
For endurance athletes training ahead of the London Marathon or thinking about races next summer, using the shorter, darker days to focus on getting stronger is always time well spent. Take a look at your training and locate specific muscle groups where you feel weak, or often get injured, and improve these in the warmth of a gym. As a strength and conditioning coach, Adam Fedorciow is a major supporter of boosting your cardiovascular capacity through resistance training.
“Winter is a great time to get some good old fashioned strength training done. Minimise your outdoor time, and instead get indoors to recuperate, restore and reassess. Use this time to build some solid foundations in the gym where you can correct any imbalances, focus on your weaknesses and upgrade your engine for the next season.”
When it comes to finding the right gym that balances endurance and resistance training, look for indoor environments that relate to your chosen outdoors sport. Here’s a selection of some of the best outdoors-orientated gyms in the UK, each with its own area of focus and expertise between running, cycling and rock climbing.
St. George’s Park, Burton-on-Trent
The new home of England Football is accessible to the public, opening up a treasure trove of high-end equipment normally reserved for professional athletes. A performance lab allows you to measure your VO2 Max and train with restricted oxygen or additional humidity, while their various gyms and hydrotherapy pool provide enough to guide an athlete from recent injury back to peak performance. With an on-site Hilton Hotel, St. George’s Park is ideal for a dedicated weekend of training, particularly if you’re looking to get key biomechanical tests in place but want to justify the visit by using all facilities.
Emirates Arena, Glasgow
This vast setup provided a hub for the recent Commonwealth Games, notably track cycling and gymnastics. Loaded with gym equipment, organised classes and spa, the Emirates Arena is an ideal place to escape the winter weather around Glasgow. The velodrome is well worth checking out to sign-up for a four-stage accreditation process (six hours of learning).
Athlete Lab, Central London
Located on Cannon Street in the heart of London, Athlete Lab is a training studio for cyclists that want to see ride data and strength training to enhance performance. The studio uses real bikes, instead of spinners or distant relations that you might find neglected in the corner of your local gym. All data gathered during the session is yours to use after, so you can track progress through gains in wattage and cadence. Coaches are also qualified to take lactate tests and help you assess your power profile over time.
Edinburgh International Climbing Arena: Ratho
EICA: Ratho is one of Europe’s largest indoor rock climbing gyms, built into the rock-lined walls of an open face quarry. As well as the extensive climbing routes, Ratho a full gym, on-site clinical massage treatment and a grotto-like spa for the end of your session.
Hi Performance Centre at University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham climbed the ranks of elite sport during the London Olympics when it hosted the 75 athletes, coaches and physiotherapists from the Jamaican team. Though the athletics track is now being decommissioned, the rest of the centre’s sports science and sports medicine facilities are open for business.
Holywell Fitness Centre at Loughborough University
Loughborough’s latest fitness project was completed in September 2014, opening up with swim and gym membership for students and community members. As a key facility for England Cricket, British Triathlon, British Swimming and English Hockey, Holywell Fitness Centre is home to much of the country’s top athletic talent.
St. Mary’s University, Twickenham
Based in one of leafier parts of London, St. Mary’s University has full gym and athletics track on their main campus, along with their specialist training unit, St. Mary’s Clinic. Through a partnership with the Virgin London Marathon, their Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre provides a focal point for long-distance athletes looking to make the most of specific training and nearby Bushy and Richmond Parks.
The Arch Climbing Wall, Central London
Though The Arch Climbing Wall doesn’t have a conventional gym, it’s an excellent place to establishing some principle core priorities while taking on some routes. Beyond its 11,000 square feet of climbing wall, The Arch has pull-up bars, gyms rings and organised yoga and pilates classes.
Royal Commonwealth Pool, Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s 1970 Commonwealth Pool received a fresh lick of paint ahead of the Olympics, making it a hotspot for Scotland’s swimming and triathlon scene. The 50m pool has a full set of diving board and is complemented by a gym that overlooks it.
The Sports Training Village at Bath University
Bath’s £30 million sports facility is fully equipped with an outdoors athletics track, a 50m pool and a full gym with Olympic bars and free weights. Team Bath have access to the latest in sports science and medicine, so testing your lung capacity and lactate threshold shouldn’t be a problem. An indoor running straight and on-site video analysis will help you hone your form.
If you’ve got your own favourite gyms which combine endurance and strength training, do email them over to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll build another batch around a different theme soon.