The Diary of a NZ International Swimmer
Part 2 - Altitude Training Sierra Nevada
We have now completed One and a half weeks up at 2320 metres above Sea level at the Centro De Alto Rendimiento Training Centre. The facility has a 50 metre indoor training pool. A full running track/playing field, Two Gyms, Hostel style accommodation and a restaurant. Also staying up here with us is the hearing impaired Venezuela athletics team, Spanish swim team, Great Britain open water team and Garmin Sharp cycling team including New Zealander Jack Bauer who is going to be competing in the Tour de France.
The theory behind altitude training is that the higher you go, the less oxygen pressure there is in the air. By living and training up at high altitudes your body adapts to having less oxygen, and creates more red blood cells in order to carry the limited oxygen more efficiently. Then once we go down to sea level where oxygen is more abundant, we have those extra red blood cells to carry oxygen more effectively. Essentially, it makes you fitter.
We started off very easy in the pool as breathing became harder especially on turns and underwater. After 1 week we have lifted the intensity so we are almost where we would have been if we were still at sea level or at home in NZ but hopefully gaining more…… by being up here. Our training week has consisted of 11 two hour swim sessions, 3 weight sessions, 2 core sessions and 2 swiss ball sessions, not to mention us boys throwing on our board shorts and going for a 3 and a half hour hike up Mount Valeta (the mountain that the centre is based on).
Our Spanish is coming along nicely, so far we have learnt the words “no” (no), “soupa” (soup), “pasta” (pasta) and “Steve no tiene novio” (no Steve she has a boyfriend).
Until our next update,