Altitude Camp – Week 1 – Adjusting Phase

Altitude Camp – Week 1 – Adjusting Phase

Hey Guys,

I want to update you on my progress, training and how I’m adjusting to the altitude in preparation for the British 10km Championships, London, July 6th.

Through the blog I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing for training each week and why I’ve been doing what I’m doing and then some hints and tips when training at altitude, if you are ever looking to going away for a training camp, or if you just want to have an enjoyable read this is for everyone and anyone. 

Week 1 – Adjusting to the thin air.

My most used sentence when going to altitude is “You know you’re at altitude when you hit a hill.”

When running on the flat surfaces you can kind of feel like you still at sea level, in my opinion, of course everyone is different but as soon as I hit a hill my heart rate shoots up quicker than me drinking 10 shots of espresso. So this week is all about taking in the surroundings and allow the body and blood to adapt to the elevation. 

We’re currently living and training at 5000ft-6000ft and then will slowly over weeks two and three slowly move up to 6500ft-7000ft and run at the peak of Font Romeu, Pyrenees 2000. 

How did we even get to Font Romeu in the first place?

You fly into Barcelona and then drive up to Font Romeu, it takes roughly 2 hours and it’s an amazing view. Quick point… Europe drive on the right hand side of the road… there has been a good few occasions I’ve defaulted to the left side being from the UK… I can’t tell you the number if times I’ve asked Adam “Why is that driving in the same lane as us!?!?”

His reply “Sean you’re supposed to be on the right side!”

“Oh shoot, I need to remember that next time.”

20 times later we still have the same conversation, I may be in line for alzheimer’s when I’m older!

So as we close out week one this is the training I’ve been doing – 

Monday – 12 miles easy (glasgow)
Tuesday – AM 5 miles PM – 9 miles
Wednesday – AM – 7.5 miles PM – 5.5 miles
Thursday – 12.5 miles
Friday – AM Hill session (extremely controlled) PM – 4 miles easy shake out
Saturday – AM 7.5 miles PM 5 miles
Sunday – 16 miles easy then steady

As you can see there has been no track sessions. The training as been predominantly aerobic running with a pinch of anaerobic work just to nudge the body to produce a few more red blood cells to allow our physiology to adapt a little quicker. That’s one of the main reasons why athletes go to altitude, to increase their red blood cell count, hematocrit and haemoglobin. How the body does this is to secrete a hormone called EPO from the kidneys to signal the bone marrow to promote more red blood cells. The lack of atmospheric oxygen pressure, altitude, stimulates this response. People think there is less oxygen at altitude, that’s a myth. There is the same amount of oxygen in the air, however, the atmospheric pressure is less so the molecules are further apart which creates that “lack of oxygen” feel.

Why we do this is to allow our bodies to transfer more oxygen to our working muscles when we are back at sea level. As you may know already there are ways to do this legally and illegally. Going to altitude or having an altitude tent are the legal ways. 

I hope you enjoyed my first post, I will post week 2 soon. Stay posted by signing up to the subscription list and you’ll be notified when I release my next blog.

To follow my journey on social media follow me on Instagram – @sean.fontana to stay tuned on daily training posts and updates of how the altitude camp is going.

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