Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Altitude Advantage

Man 'o man....!!! I went out for a run this morning and did I ever feel out of shape. I've gone from feeling like superman at 850 meters, now like super-slug back at 1400m.!! The value of training at altitude is often underestimated, but I sure felt it today!

While in Vancouver yesterday I stopped by the Speed Skating Oval for the fall world cup trials. The Canadian team was slugging it out (men's 1500m yesterday and women's 3k). They've decided to make their training base here right at the foot of the ocean until the Olympics. Considering their elevation is about 0 meters one wonders if they're making a mistake. Sure it's one thing to be familiar with the venue, but could it be that the Calgary's oval elevation is what contributed to our country's success? The sprinters (Lemay-Doan, Witherspoon, Auch) broke the success barrier initially, but in 2006 it was the middle and long distance skaters that secured the dynasty. I hope that there isn't dissappointment in results in front of the home crowd because of preparing in the wrong venue.

Coaches should be training:
As long as I'm ticking people off I may as well continue! So many coaches are so far removed from their competitive days that they've not only forgotten many of the lessons they personally learned, but they no longer are familiar with the feelings (physically and mentally) of training and racing. I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten important lessons in the 30+ years of racing I've done, whether it's technique, waxing or training. It seems I'm constantly telling myself, "o yeah, I forgot about that." And then re-learning things.

Even if coaches just casually competed they'd be reminded of many an important lesson. I'm told that Canada's new Xc ski Norwegian coach Arlid Monson is one of these. If he even has 70% of the juice he had while racing for team Norway it's no wonder he has no problem keeping up with our boys while doing intervals. Way to go coach!

Anyway.....gotta go!

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