Working at altitude with UK Athletics in KenyaPosted on October 29th, 2012
Becky Ellis from our Wilmslow clinic is returning to Kenya as part of UK Athletics‘ endurance team. Previously camps have seen the likes of Mo Farah working on altitude training, while this time one of our own athletes, Michael Rimmer is heading over to make sure he keeps in peak fitness condition.Becky is a full time sports massage therapist at Wilmslow and this is her Kenyan diary:
This will now be my fourth visit to Kenya at the HATC (High altiude training camp). HATC is a Multi sports Training centre at an altitude of 2400 metre above sea level in Iten, about 25 minutes from Eldoret.
Iten is the capital of the World for athletics, there are over 400 of them training here and among them are several World Champions, Olympic Champions and World record holders.
The GB athletics endurance team have noticed huge improvements in performances when individulas train here and that’s because working at altitude, you’re exercising with less oxygen than you would at sea level. So it’s tougher to breathe and your body is working harder than normal.
Physically it means you’re gaining extra red blood cells, so when you return to sea level your performance improves considerably.
Generally speaking athletes spend a minimum of 3 weeks here and we’ll usually visit twice a year – in January and October, which is when temperatures reach 30 degrees.
This time around, we’re based right in the centre of the running trails and just a few miles away from a cinder track. The accommodation is pretty basic, but it does come complete with a food hall, swimming pool, gym and treatment rooms.
My role is to provide sports massage before and after training, so that they can work at their full potential, keep them injury free and improve blood flow. So I work closely alongside UK Athletics physio, Cat Riley. This is critical to me as I feel as a sports massage therapist I need to keep learning and developing through working alongside hugely experienced physiotherapists like Cat. The team also includes coaches, a doctor and physiologist.
The majority of the athletes here will be in training for the 19th European cross-country championships in Budapest this December.
We’ll update you next month on my return.