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High Altitude Training
08/29/05  Tim Burke
 
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I have been out in Park City, Utah for the past week at our first altitude training camp of the year. With the Olympics being held high in the Italian Alps, it is essential that we have some exposure to altitude before the winter. Training at this altitude has a huge impact on endurance athletes; with less oxygen in the air, training feels much harder, especially before the body adapts.

The first week of training at an altitude camp is always the hardest because the body has yet to adapt to the lack of oxygen. One of my workouts last week was a run at 11,000 ft, which made me feel very out of shape. I was breathing so hard that I felt as if I had never run before. Finally, after a week of heavy breathing, my body is starting to feel normal again. When you are at altitude, your body compensates for the lack of oxygen by producing more red blood cells, which enables your body to carry more oxygen. By coming up to a high altitude we hope that our bodies learn to adapt quicker. We also try different training methods during the first week in order to find the quickest way to adapt. Hopefully this will all pay off while racing at high altitude this winter.

Before coming to Utah, we had a training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York. This camp was especially enjoyable for me because I grew up close by. Itís always a treat to spend some time at home. We also had our first test race of the year at this camp and that went very well for me. I won the race but more importantly I was able to carry over the things that I have been working on in practice to the race. This was a great sign that I have been working on the right things and that my training is having the desired effect. Although itís always nice to win a race, I realize my important races are still a ways away.

After our Utah camp I will head back up to Maine for the month of September. During the Maine camp we will start to really focus on our race specific intensity work. This is the time of year when you really need to start pushing the pace if you want to be fast for the beginning of the season in December.

As for today, I am enjoying a much-needed day of recovery. After spending the morning resting around the house I am going to head up into the Utah Mountains to try my luck fly fishing for the elusive local trout.

Once again my body and joints are holding up very well with daily help from Syn-flex. Thanks for making such a great product! I hope all is well.

My Best,
Tim