It’s getting to that time of year when many people out there are thinking whether or not to go to train at altitude ahead of the summer track season. Well here’s my two cents worth – if you can’t decide.
First thing I’d do is set out your goals for this summer – what do you want to achieve? And then think – can I achieve this at home in my home environment or are there too many distractions i.e. people coming over, family commitments, pressure to go out with friends all the time etc. Sometimes, we need to get away from all this – even just for a few weeks, to focus, train hard, concentrate on recovery, relaxation, nutrition and most importantly, to get plenty of rest so you can get up and do it all again the next day.
The benefits physiologically of training at altitude (I’ll use Falls Creek as an example as it is the best place at this time of year) are a bonus on top of everything else I believe. The main benefit in my opinion is that it enables you to do your training properly and include all the 1%ers…every day. Not missing your core because you had to go out, or this afternoon run because your friends came over and you decided to drink and watch the cricket on TV instead. If you know what I mean! Plus going on these camps – you’re often pushing yourself harder on the session days as there are so many likeminded people to train with, who are training hard too and want to get the best possible benefit when they return home.
In conclusion, going to Falls Creek (or any good running location) for a training camp in the summer for a 3 week stint is ideal – IF you go there with the right attitude and are prepared to work hard, recover and then get up and repeat it all the next day. If you think you’ll just go there and magically improve, just because you’re at altitude or away on a “training camp”, then you’re wrong and it’ll be a waste of time and money. Better off to stay at home. Another huge benefit though, is that often once you have been away on these sorts of camps, you return home with some new improved habits, great focus and mentally, you feel you have prepared as well as you could possibly have, in order to race to your potential in the track season. Have a think about it….Has worked for me!