It’s 10.30am on Wednesday 29th January and I’ve just returned from an easy 12mile run. My legs are covered in red dust and the sun has tattooed the outline of my crop top onto my shoulders and back. As you can probably gather I am not currently in the UK.
I have been lucky enough to be invited to attend the British Athletics/London Marathon altitude training camp based in Iten Kenya.
This is my 5th time in Kenya and my 3rd time staying at the High Altitude Training Centre (HATC). I love it here as you have everything you need to allow you to concentrate fully on your training and not have to worry about the little things you do back at home like going to work, doing housework, cooking meals.
The environment is prefect with a pleasant climate and 100s of miles of soft dirt trails. The camp, whilst not 5 star luxurious, is very comfortable and has everything we need. It is fully catered, there is a pool and a gym and we have a top class support team of coaches, physio and physiologists with us to make sure we are getting the best out of all of our training.
The training I do here is pretty much the same as I would do at home but given that we are based at just under 8000ft altitude it makes everything a lot harder work. Just brushing your teeth on a morning leaves you out of breathe!
With that in mind you have to be very careful to not over do things in your first week. Iten is such an inspiring place to be for any runner, it is so easy to come out here and get carried away with training and your pace/effort and end up not getting the most out of your trip. For me I use my first 4 days to acclimatise. All runs are ran to an easy heart rate zone which may mean that I am running 7.30-8min miles but if that’s what is needed then that’s what I do. I feel this has worked really well for me as I did my first harder workout yesterday and managed to run a great controlled and consistent session.
Outside of running there isn’t much to do so this ensures that you get the correct rest and recovery between your workouts. Most people will chill out in the lounge or watch a movie on their laptop/iPad or go next door to the club for a coffee. Other than that it’s just afternoon naps. Although myself and my roomie Caryl did have some excitement on Monday when we came back from a run to a new shower curtain!!
We do have internet but it’s very temperamental so we don’t always get a great signal or speed especially when there are a few of us trying to use it at once. With this in mind I will try and get another blog up before I get home but if not I will fill you in on the rest of my trip when I return to the UK at the end of February.
Until then, keep running, keep smiling and keep believing…