As it is Olympic year I decided to treat myself and my boys to a holiday in Club La Santa, the sports complex in Lanzarote. We have not visited for some 4 years so we were ready for the trip and of course we needed a bit of pre Olympic training!
Due to passport problems we only booked a week before we flew but this caused no real issues, flights were easily booked, as was the accommodation. We chose red apartments (one bed roomed with a balcony and view). I wanted to over look the running track as I have always stayed in this area of the complex and I love waking up and watching people running or starting the many running events Club La Santa host each week.
About Club La Santa
Club La Santa is a purpose built sports complex in Lanzarote (about 30 minutes drive from the airport of Arrecife) comprising of a running track, Olympic size swimming pool, beach volley ball area, lagoon (for windsurfing and canoeing), two large aerobic greens (also used for 5 a side football and other activities), boxing ring, leisure pool with diving board (including a baby pool), badminton courts (in sports hall), tennis courts (outdoors), squash courts, gym, spinning studio, massage room and wellness centre.
It has 400 apartments, all quite basic but functional. Apartments can consist of a sitting room, kitchen area, one, two, three or four bedrooms, bathroom and patio or balcony/terrace. Standard equipment in the kitchen consists of a fridge, microwave, two hot plates, electric kettle, as well as plates, glasses and cutlery. As we discovered only after buying oven chips and pizza from the shop, there is no oven! The apartments are located on four floors, with the upper three floors accessible by staircase. Not much time is spent in the apartments as there are lots of sports and activities to take part in so it is not as important as in other holidays where the apartments may be a disappointment. There were a lots of tiny ant creatures in the apartments though so we had to keep everything in the fridge to stop them going in the food. Apart from this, the apartments were kept clean by the lovely staff who came in most days to change bins and towels.
Activities are led by a team of fitness instructors known as the Green Team. These people guided holiday makers in running, and all the other different sports. There were guided runs every morning of 2, 3 or 5K. From my balcony I watched the triathlon, duathlon, and half marathon start. These were early starts to make the most of the cool part of the day, although the great thing about Lanzarote is, even though it is hot and sunny there is usually a nice breeze to cool you, making it possible to participate in events and not over heat too much.
About our week
Thursday 19th July – After a traumatic start to the holiday (my sisters car broke down on the way to the airport) we boarded the flight and headed off to sunny skies. After approximately 4 hours in the air we landed (very roughly) in Arrecife airport. Taxi’s were waiting and we had a slightly hair raising journey to Club La Santa, our taxi driver did not like to stop at red lights!
We arrived and received a warm welcome at reception, given a map and went to find our room. Walking through the corridors in the warm breezy heat it felt like coming home, we were keen to get sports gear (and bikini) on and enjoy the last bit of sun for that day. The complex is set out in a square with the apartments round the edge and a social ‘square’ in the middle where shows take place. I was left to unpack whilst the boys went to try out the diving board. The supermarket (on the outside of the square) sells everything you may need for your stay and the staff there speak good English and are really helpful. We ate out at the Pool bar (next to the pool!) which sells simple but good food from pizzas, salads to burgers and steak. Being vegetarian I always struggle to find things to eat when abroad so had salad. At night time I was kept awake unfortunately by very loud Danish people in the next apartment who sat on their balcony until early hours of the morning talking and laughing. The doors of the apartment needed to be open as the apartments do not have air conditioning so the noise (and smoke from another balcony) were not great after a long day of travelling.
Friday 20th July – I got up and ran 5K, down to the village of La Santa and back by the lagoon. We turned up at the sports booking office to collect our tokens (for each person in the apartment they give you one token and with this, you can hire out equipment such as rackets and balls). The classes at Club la Santa are great and I do as many as possible. Most of them are on the 5 a side pitch which is fake grass and situated in perfect position by the sea so you get the lovely breeze and view of the sea. I did the power step with Emma (from UK) and after a little sunbathing break did Body Combat and Pilates. I really enjoyed all of these. The boys were busy doing flips and dives into the pool and had a go at tennis and badminton. Unfortunately sleep was still disrupted by my noisy neighbours. After feeling sleep deprived for now a couple of days I phoned reception at 11.3opm and was told the apartments are only ‘quiet’ after midnight. Not great when you have children. I asked for a change of apartment but this was refused. I closed my doors and slowly boiled through the night but at least it was quieter (and no smell of smoke).
Saturday 21st July – My early morning run to La Santa was a warm one today, sweating at the early hour of 7am. After breakfast I went to the Barefoot fitness class (with Christina from UK) which involved massaging our feet and then performing exercises barefoot designed to strengthen feet and ankles. This was interesting and felt good. I then went to the Deep Water Aqua class in the Olympic size pool (strength exercises underwater using weights). This was great fun and all the participants were trying to exercises without floating into each other. A nice class to do on such a hot day. After this I dried off and went to Ultimate Core which was a core toning and strengthening class comprising of lots of crunches and different plank variations.
Sunday 22nd July – My usual morning 5K run was followed by an intermediate Step class, after about 10 minutes I was completely lost and just did my own thing for the remaining 50 minutes. I was not the only one! A woman near by started following what I was doing. Choreography is not my strong point, I just wanted a good workout. The Fitball class was really good though and challenged my core with loads of different exercises all using a large swiss ball. This class was fun as several people fell off their ball. Whilst doing this the boys went to the football school at the stadium. Later in the evening we all played tennis. Courts can be booked up until 9-10pm.
Monday 23rd July – 5K run to La Santa and a bit of a hill session on the way back. I got back in time to watch the start of the duathlon in the stadium. After breakfast was Body Bike intermediate, I entered the spin room looking like a startled rabbit in headlights as I eyed up all the ‘proper’ cyclists in padded shorts and clip on shoe peddles. We put on heart rate monitors which came up on a big screen behind the instructor. I really liked this idea, there were 20 circles on screen with everyone’s heart rate, the colour of the circle changed depending on how hard you were working so you always knew which training zone you were in and could push harder or ease off depending on what it said. This class was hard, and hot, I dripped all over the floor like a melting ice cube. I enjoyed it though. The Power aerobics straight after took a bit of doing, my legs felt like jelly just walking to the aerobics pitch! Again I really enjoyed this class too with its mixture of aerobics (simple choreography that even I could handle) and circuits. Today I also did Body Combat which was great (my favourite class) the instructors were lively and enthusiastic. I also did Body Toning which was a great full body workout using weights, bands and mats. The boys played padel tennis which is a new feature for the centre. A smaller court with perspex walls, similar to tennis. In the evening the Green Team put on a show where they mimed to different music and danced (with a bit of gymnastics). The shows in the ‘Square’ are really sociable (if a little cheesy) but its great for the kids and the adults can sit and chat and have a drink. There are bars and a restaurant in The Square and also a photo shop where you can purchase photos of your family taking part in events.
Tuesday 24th July – After my morning 5K I watched the start of the half marathon. Last time I took part in this but as I was here with just the boys I did not want to disappear for a couple of hours . The good thing about the complex is, it is quite small so everyone can do their own thing but still know where other members of their party are in case of emergencies. I loved the fact that I could go and do classes and the boys could play tennis or football and only be a few minutes walk away from each other. I did the dance aerobics class first thing ( again my inability to follow a routine let me down!) and then did the Cross Fit class in the stadium. I didn’t particularly enjoy this as I thought it would be more like a circuits session. In reality it was very competive against the clock exercises (some of which were a bit suspect in their safety – fast lunging with heavy weight held above your head). The boys took part in a Badminton tournament in the hall (which was stifling hot, air conditioning may be an idea). I did a Pilates class on a machine called the Reformer. I had never heard of this before and was dubious especially as the instructor appeared very off hand when I was unable to physically move this huge machine out of the store room on my own. Once I began and was strapped in with my legs over my head in various positions I could feel the benefits of the gentle exercise and stretching. It was good that it was limited to a small number of participants so the instructor could give us support where needed (and help us off if we were strapped up unable to move!).
Wednesday 25th July – No run this morning, too tired. I watched the start of the triathlon. Again some very competitive athletes in this event. I am not sure but it seems that Club La Santa is attracting more competitive athletes that it used to unless it is just depending on when you go. I enjoyed the Body Combat with a different instructor this time. Very hot today so did not want to do too many classes. The boys competed in another Badminton tournament in the sports hall, which was again very sticky and hot. As it was our last night we spent the evening with some new found friends playing pool in the bar. There are several pool tables in here and it is a good child friendly place to go with small groups of teenagers, adults and families chatting and playing darts or pool.
Thursday 26th July – Our last morning at Club La Santa started with the usual 5K run to La Santa. I had my Ipod on and when I arrived at the harbour at the bottom of the hill I had a bit of a spiritual moment where I stopped and looked out at the sea crashing onto the rocks for a while. With the music and the scenery it was a really peaceful moment where I stopped to think about all the things in my life. Then realised I had to run all the way back to the resort, up the hill I ran, passing the guided running groups that were just heading out. I did not do any more classes as we had to leave the room by 10am. There was bag storage, although this was just an unlocked room and I wasn’t too sure about leaving my case in there. There were lockable lockers in the changing rooms which were big enough for hand luggage and these were useful to keep Passports and tickets safe while we were at the pool. There was also showering facilities in there so we hung out in the sunshine, the boys practising their last minute dives, until it was time to get the taxi to the airport. This taxi ride was no so hair raising as on arrival, we got to the airport in good time, checked in and sat waiting for our flight.
All in all we had a lovely holiday. I was disappointed to miss some classes as they over lapped but I did attend 17 classes in the week (and 7 runs) so I did not do too badly. The weather was hot some days, warm on others, sometimes with cloud but we still got a little burnt even through cloud. The breeze is lovely as it cools you enough to exercise. The place is great for older children like mine as they could safely go and do what activities they wanted to do.
I would love to arrange a trip for some of our LWRG members as I think they would get so much out of it. It is a chance to try classes you may not have tried before (such as the reformer, for me). It is a chance to hang out with like minded people where you can run and exercise without people thinking you have a screw loose. I saw a man doing walking lunges round the swimming pool one morning and another one skipping round the running track in speedo’s, nobody batted an eyelid. Can you imagine seeing that in the middle of Ibiza? I would have liked more circuits training or bootcamp type sessions. Also maybe families and groups of young people could be housed away from each other so that children (and parents!) don’t get disturbed by the noise on the balcony. An advantage of going with a group of adults is you can split the cost of the apartment (prices are per apartment not per person).
If you are a member of LWRG and are reading this and fancy a group trip, let me know