As I hear that familiar sound of my alarm go off and it’s still dark, there lies the true daily battle. The internal debate even! Then the song starts playing in my head… ”Should I stay or should I go now, if I go there will be trouble – and if I stay it will be double”. These lyrics couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s usually a challenge to train and get through the session and it’s an even bigger struggle missing a session only to blame yourself all day for being lazy. So I choose to get up and face it.
As March rolled on I’ve now started training two days a week at The New Zealand Altitude Training Centre. Walter Thorburn, an inspirational athlete and influence in training and nutrition, runs this facility to help support and better sporting greats, enabling them to perform beyond their limits.
Its mid March and I’m completing two sessions of altitude training per week, eight sessions down and I can honestly feel a positive change in the stamina and endurance of my running. The great thing for me with my recent knee problems is I can train for an hour with minimum pressure on my knees but maximum cardiovascular loading.
Altitude Training is training while being exposed to Hypoxia (a physical condition resulting from oxygen deprivation). The body reacts to the relative lack of oxygen by increasing the mass of red blood cells as well as altering the muscle metabolism.
I do active altitude training, which consists of an hour session running at a medium pace whilst at 14% oxygen which is roughly 3000 meters when speaking in terms of altitude. You might be surprised to hear that the best way to explain the feeling of hypoxia is that you feel a rather euphoric sensation through your body after the hour. During it takes a bit of concentration, as you have to make sure you exhale rapidly to get the full benefits. This makes for a rather entertaining sound for you and anyone else nearby!
Sunday runs have slowly increased in distance and I now run a half marathon every Sunday in the very beautiful suburb of Clevedon. It is the ‘roads that never end’ kind of run! I am proud to say that I managed to achieve a great time of 1hour 50min, which was the same at the 21km mark in the Rotorua Marathon and also my personal best. A few weeks to go and I will be doing two of these per week including the Altitude training mixed with swimming.
We all have ‘moments’ when chasing a big goal with strong determination to reach it. Even the strongest reach a point of question. I do occasionally grow tired in the week, work is very hectic, I miss the kids if it’s not my week with them, and the occasional struggle does take its toll. It creates those moments when you either need to have a good cry, become very quiet or just have a moment. I must admit as much as I hate having those days, I do appreciate them. Embrace the Deja Vu ‘Ground Hog Day’ feeling and push beyond it. Remember that from every moment of temporary weakness comes even greater strength!
All of this hard work pays off for me but also my kids, especially when your four year old is having a pretend play moment and put’s your shoes on, tells her baby she’s going out for a run and then starts stretching! Presenting a positive Influence on my two precious girls is what makes all of the pain, sweat and tears worth it. Only eight weeks to go!