Becky joins UK Athletics in KenyaPosted on February 23rd, 2015
Along side the work that I do at Harris & Ross Perform, I also work with British Athletics and Team GB athletes on their annual trip to warm weather and high altitude training. The trip this year is now my 5th visit to Kenya as a part of the team. When the team is in Kenya we stay in Iten, a small town in the west of Kenya that has come to be known as the home of champions. Iten has got this nick name as it is where most of the top Kenyan athletes train, including the Kenyan 2012 Olympic Gold medal winner and 800m world record holder David Rudisha.
British athletics have a history of taking their top endurance athletes from a variety of disciplines from 800m runners all the way up to Marathon distance twice a year to Kenya over the British winter months for up to 5 weeks at a time.
We stay in a camp which is basic and clean, and where we have all the facilities we need for our athletes. We are located only a mile from the running track and the running trials provided by the local, hilly landscape are right on our door step.
The athletes would train twice a day, and I was at hand for pre and post massage treatments. All of the work I do for the team is alongside a physiotherapist to complement the rehabilitation process, ready for the next session. The athletes are training at altitude at 8000ft so there bodies are working harder than normal, because of the lack of oxygen in the air. Having therapists on hand is a necessity to keep the athletes injury free and able to maximise the relatively short time that they have at training camp. The idea behind training at altitude is that there is less oxygen available to them and as a result they will produce more red blood cells to maximise the oxygen carrying potential of their blood. When the athletes return to sea level the extra red blood cells in their bodies continue to carry higher quantities or oxygen in their blood and should help lead to better performance and faster run times.
The atmosphere out in Kenya is relaxed and quiet, while still being focussed on the training. There are none of the usual distractions that might be found in the day to day hustle of westernised lifestyle. The athletes really do just run eat and sleep out there. Being able to work in such a professional and dedicated sports set up is not only a privilege but an unparalleled learning opportunity for me. I feel that I always come back from Kenya having learnt something new that I can offer to my clients here in the UK.
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