Altitude Training Camp
This summer has been one of the most productive summers I’ve had! At least, that’s how I feel as of right now. Of course, I won’t really be able to understand or reap the benefits until this winter. I’ve been prioritizing quality over quantity, pushing the extra intensity sessions and backing off on the volume. Rather than filling in afternoon sessions with extra recovery workouts, I’ve been taking them off to do yoga and rest for intensity the next day. It’s really nice to feel so great during training and oftentimes I want to continue rolling with the momentum I have. However, I think it’s easy to get lost in this and push yourself past the point of productivity. Similar to the way we force ourselves through the pain of one more interval, sometimes you have to force the rest and recovery even though you don’t want to.
A few weeks ago, I traveled out west for a mini-vacation. I didn’t worry about hours, intensity or strength and just got outside when I felt like doing so. This was hard to do because I felt like I was leaving behind quality training with my teammates in Stratton and missing out on key workouts. Although, I recognized that I had been working really hard for six weeks and need to take some time to absorb the load. After five days of vacation mode, I was feeling happy, fulfilled, and eager to get back to work!
There are pros and cons to staying in one place all season to train. If you stay home, you get consistent and quality training without the stress of travel or finding new training locations. However, you can also get bored from doing the same workouts in the same places, which can sometimes lead to feeling 'flat.' As an athlete living at sea level, it also prevents you from learning how to train/race at altitude and vice versa an altitude athlete might lack speed and fast twitch muscles if they never visit sea level. After my vacation, I met my SMS teammate, Lina Sutro, in her hometown of Carbondale, CO for a mini altitude training camp.
For eight days, we stayed with Lina's family in Carbondale and focused on quality over quantity. I managed to squeeze in 4 intensity sessions: classic speeds, skate threshold, a skate sprint workout and classic time trial. These workouts were very hard and I knew it was best to not push volume and prioritize recovery, something that is extremely important at altitude. When Lina and I weren't training, we put our feet up to watch the Olympics, work on our computers and visit with friends.
On my final day in Colorado, I figured it was okay to do one big adventure to appreciate the beautiful mountains and end the intensity camp with a final push. I unplugged from my phone/music and enjoyed an epic solo day in the gorgeous Maroon Bells-Snowmass mountain range.
Lina and I lucked out and just happened to be in town during Carbondale's Mountain Fair; a collection of local musicians, artists and foodies coming together for one of the first big gatherings I've been to in over 16 months! It was so fun to spend time in the Roaring Fork Valley and I'm so appreciative of the Sutro family for being such welcoming hosts. Thanks to them, I was able to have a very fun and productive work trip.
This year, US Nationals are at altitude in Soldier Hollow, Utah, which is why I think this trip was extremely important for me to travel out west to practice working hard with little oxygen. Even though it wasn't long enough of a camp to get an 'altitude boost' I still found a lot of value in feeling how hard I could push myself at altitude without blowing up. This is something I've struggled a lot with in the past, having always lived and trained at sea level. I've never been super comfortable training or racing at altitude, but I'm thinking little camps like this are a great step in the right direction for me and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to make it work!
Now that I’m back east and settled down after a few weeks of travel, I’m ready to dial back into training with my teammates and hopefully pick up right where I left off.
8/8/2021 06:33:05 pm
You seem to be having a lot of fun this summer. Especially with relaxed covid restrictions. I don't fully grasp the notion of altitude training in that if one does an x amount then your body has a memory of it for races- if even I'm getting that right. But, if it means a visit ti the Rockies, sound like fun to me.
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Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.