Well I've been at altitude now for just over a week and things have gone well since my arrival in Font Romeu. It feels more of a home from home now, although I am missing the family but this is something I will have to get used to as I'm planning to get to altitude much more regularly as part of my future plans. I certainly feel like the combination of having been on the previous UK Athletics altitude camp and having used my altitude tent for two weeks prior to coming this time has made the transition to real altitude somewhat smoother. I only arrived last Monday but by Wednesday I was getting my teeth into a session outside of the usual easy running (which tends to be on the menu for at least 4 or 5 days before a harder session is attempted). My first session was somewhat controlled however, which was... following a good warm up 4miles of tempo running plus 6 x 1min efforts plus another 3mile tempo. Tempo running needs to be adjusted slightly at altitude due to less oxgyen being available and I use a combination of adjusted target speeds as well as keeping one eye on heart rate values (i.e. compared to my normal sea level readings) alongside and like most of my tempo's runs a certain amount of run to 'feel'. I was running at very similar paces to those I was operating at the previous altitude camp back in July (for my tempo runs and when I was more acclimatized) so this early indicator bodes well. Since that session I have also been on the track and posted another solid session, although I feel that this may have gone better if not for an unsettled stomach (which I was carrying over the weekend). A couple of the lads had some symptoms of a mild stomach bug around the same time and I felt under the weather over the weekend but I'm pleased to say everyone is now recovered. Ironically it seems with all the talk of the athletes potentially getting Delhi belly at the Commonwealths games I pick up some pre-Delhi belly! on plus sider perhaps this will give me a cast iron stomach.
This camp generally has a slightly different feel to the one back in July as many of the athletes are hear to start their winter training, whereas myself, Chris Thompson and John Beattie are preparing for Delhi but it's been an enjoyable one with a good mix of focus and downtime. Our appartment which includes myself, Chris Thompson and Steve Vernon have joined forces in the evenings with our fellow athletes and taking turns with the cooking of the evening meals, which made for good social evenings. We then tend to spend the reminder of the evenings recovering from training with a few DVDs and the odd quiz to pass the time, if you're ever bored and you like quiz's checkout http://www.sporcle.com/ .
This trip is also somewhat shorter this time around for me (two weeks in all) and there is also little more than a week to my first race (the 5000m) and less than two weeks until the 10k (I'm doubling up) but I'm looking forward to getting on the track to race. It's been over 12months since I last raced 5000m, which was the National Champs In July last summer but I feel I'm in better shape now with the strength of marathon training under my belt and a bit of sharper work added to the mix recently. I feel I'm yet to put my full game face on but I have no doubt that when I arrive into the village that will change and the pre-race adrenaline will start flowing.
I will try post one more entry before I travel out to Delhi.
Until next time, that's all for now.