Ise Shima Training Camp

Swim, Run, Repeat

The combined cities of Ise and Shima are home to the #1 Olympic Distance triathlon in Japan and the 3rd overall triathlon in Japan as ranked by Triathlon Lumina magazine. Not surprisingly, the Ise Shima Satoumi Triathlon was cancelled early in the year due to COVID-19. 

Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the organizers were determined to carry out a small-scale sports event and introduce athletes to Ise Shima. Out of such desires, the Ise Shima Camp was borne.

What to bring to a swim and run training camp

The inaugural Ise Shima Camp took place across a weekend from the 7th (Sat) through the 8th (Sun) of November. Designed as a swim and run training camp for beginner triathletes, the camp brought together 13 men and women. While some participants were local and could go home with a short drive, others came from Nagoya in neighboring Aichi Prefecture and as far as Tokyo, roughly three hours by train.

Day 1 (Saturday)

check-in + seminar

On Saturday morning, athletes checked in at at the B&G Kaiyo Center. Completion of a wellness check was mandatory for all participants during the two-day training camp. Following the health evaluation, all athletes received a handful of goodies, including a waterproof event bag and sports nutrition samples, then led to the seminar room.

The first session of the training camp was a workshop introducing the sport of triathlon. Aided with a PowerPoint presentation and tangible items, Coach Takeuchi touched upon a broad range of topics, including safety aspects, race organization, training for beginners, and relevant gear. The workshop was interactive and highly educational for camp participants, many of whom were complete beginners to multi-sport. 

pool swim training

Immediately following the workshop, athletes changed into their swimwear and slipped into the pool after a brief round of dryland warm-up exercises. 

For over an hour, Coach Takeuchi and his assistant coaches led the group in a series of swimming drills meant to focus on particular aspects of a swim stroke and improve swimming technique. The pool session concluded with a friendly competition combining a group start, pool exits, and several laps of swimming. 


After a bento box lunch and restful break, athletes gathered in the seminar room once more. This time, the room was cleared of the desks and an assistant coach led the group in a variety of warm-up drills to loosen up muscles and stretches to work on developing flexibility. 

The incorporation of a simple hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood stick introduced many camp participants to a new range of methods to lengthen the body and gently massage sore muscles. 

An exhibition of tools and gear used in triathlon
All participants received a waterproof bag

Day 2 (Sunday)

sunrise run

The second day of camp started at 0600 with a brisk 3km sunrise run along parts of the Ise Shima Satoumi Triathlon run course. Though optional, the majority of athletes showed up bright and early for the casual shake-out run. 

The run included a visit to a local icon – hanakake Ebisu, or literally “chipped nose Ebisu”. Known as the god of fishermen, pieces of the statue’s nose are shaved by local fishermen to keep as good luck charms for maritime safety, business propserity, and abundant catches. 

open water swim training

Athletes returned to Oyahama Beach at 0900 and set off on a recce run of the swim-run aquathon time trial. While Coach Takeuchi led the athletes on the preview of the 1km run course, the assistant coaches slipped on their wetsuits and anchored three giant yellow buoys to establish a two-lap 750 meter swim course. A make-shift transition area was also set up for the time trial. 

Upon the athletes’ return, wetsuits were wrangled on and everyone jumped into the waters for a 30-minute session on open water swimming. With the water temperature about 21 degrees Celsius, wetsuits were mandatory. For some, it was their first time in a triathlon wetsuit.

Coach Takeuchi focused on an efficient yet effective session in the waters, including tips on sighting and open water swim techniques. All open water swims were supported by lifeguards and a kayak. 

Early November in Ise

time trial (750m swim, 5km run)

After the open water swim workshop, athletes finalized their transition set up and prepared for a time trial involving a 750 meter swim and 5km run. Between 37 and 53 minutes, 13 athletes successfully completed the two-lap swim and the five-lap run. 

In the midst of the 750m open water swim

To conclude the inaugural Ise Shima Camp, participants were treated to a hearty lunch of warm, homemade tonjiru (miso-based pork soup) and tekone sushi, a traditional local sushi made with lean red raw fish.

During lunch, Coach Takeuchi delivered some concluding remarks and each athlete briefly spoke about their experience and lessons learned over the course of the training camp. After lunch, we took one final group photo together before parting ways. 

Results from the time trial