Well it’s that time of year again. The time when I pack my bags and head off in search of warmer climes and thinner air. I’ve once again been very fortunate to gain a place on the British Athletics/London Marathon altitude camp in Iten, Kenya.
This will be my 7th time in Kenya and my 5th time staying at the Lornah Kiplagat High Altitude Training Centre in Iten. I always love my time in Kenya and have always come back and performed really well off the training I do out there.
I won’t sit here and say that life is hard over there as it’s actually easier than here or at least I think it is. Over there all we have to think about is training, eating and sleeping. All of our meals are cooked for us, our rooms are cleaned for us and we have physio and massage available almost 24/7. So there’s no nipping to Sainsburys or doing the housework which I have to do at home. Instead it’s a very simple lifestyle of train, eat, rest, eat, rest, train, eat, rest, and repeat.
Yes, life can get a bit repetitive and some get bored but I have found that as long as you stock up on plenty of films/TV shows to watch and a few good books then time flies by and you don’t actually have time to be bored.
In preparation for me going out to Kenya, last Thursday I visited the Sport and Exercise Science labs at Sunderland University to undergo some Vo2 max and lactate testing. These tests involved running on a treadmill until you literally fall off with exhaustion. You run in 3 minute intervals with each interval increasing in speed by 1kmph. The intervals are separated by roughly 15-20seconds so that a small blood sample can be taken to measure the lactate levels in the blood.
The test provides some very useful and informative data. First off it provides you with accurate heart rates for each of your training zones, recovery, easy, steady, tempo, hard. It also gives you your running economy, Vo2 max , lactate turn-point and lactate threshold.
Using this data in Kenya will ensure that I don’t overdo things which is really important especially in the first week. Because we are living and running at 2400m above sea-level we can’t expect to run the same paces as we do at home without over stressing our bodies so it is important that we pay a lot of attention to our heart rate and ensure that we stay within our zones even if it means running a lot slower than we do at home.
When you first go over there it can feel weird running so slow but if you don’t do it you will soon learn the hard way the importance of it. Luckily we have some very good coaches coming out with us, including our very own Steve Cram, who will keep on reminding us the importance of training sensibly and not getting caught up in any in group racing.
So, apart from the near 20 hours of travelling Tuesday through to Wednesday, I‘m really excited to get out there. The weather we’ve had lately has made me more excited, I’m sick of getting cold and wet. At least if it rains over there it will be warm!
We do have internet in camp so I will keep you up to date with how things are going and if I can I’ll try and get some footage of the camp and the training environment. Until then, enjoy splashing and sliding your way through your miles, don’t let the weather stop you training!!