Friday, 22 February 2013

Michael's Blog: Life at Altitude

Our latest guest post from Michael Jamieson, sees his life scaling new heights...

I’m currently in Sierra Nevada – a mountain range in Andalusia in the south of Spain. This is the final block of training before a short rest period and competition at the British Open Champs next month.  There are 10 swimmers here, with a support team, training at 2,300m above sea level. It’s a popular training centre for swimmers and is busy at the moment. My former coach, Fred Vergnoux, is here with his group from Barcelona as well as teams from Slovenia, Ukraine and Italy. Sierra Nevada is a popular ski resort, unfortunately not something I can engage in due to the injury risk…sledging will have to suffice! :)

Training at altitude helps promote an accelerated production of red blood cells in your system due to the smaller concentration of oxygen in the air. Basically, it means that the most trivial of tasks, including brushing your teeth, can leave you out of breath! Its tough going but I’m a big believer in hypoxic training and the positive effect it can have on your fitness levels and this is a continuation of my training after sleeping in an altitude tent in the lead up to the Olympic Games.

Training camps are one of the best parts of an athlete’s life. It provides the opportunity to do some high intensity training with the time to recover and concentrate on areas of weakness etc…and there’s plenty of time to catch up on tv shows, movies, reading…and sledging!

I spent my weekend off sledging and walking to the mountain top, 3,000m above sea level! The weather changes are surreal and the snow must be four feet deep – you’re never too old for a snowball fight!

I’ve just recently met with my coach about the plan for the coming months, identify areas of my program that need improvement/maintained etc and the camps and competitions that we’ll do in the lead up to the Trials and (hopefully) the World Championships in July this year. It looks great and I’m confident about producing some good results this season, although the competition is greater than ever. There are a number of young Brits closing the gap and there’s no doubt I’ll have to improve on my times from last season in order to firstly qualify, and then go on to challenge for honours in Barcelona in the summer. I still have the same emotional responses to these challenges this year as I did last, which is comforting as it shows my motivation is still as strong as ever. My life has changed since the Games and I owe a huge part of that to the people reading this, but I’m still the same athlete and I want to add to last year’s success.

Time to relax now; get ready for a tough session tomorrow morning and console my roommate after his team (Arsenal) were just beaten in the Champions League…I think I can see some tears!! :)

Thank you for your continued support :)

And thank you Michael for your latest guest blog! It's seems incredible that this time last year we were gearing up to watch you swim in the Team GB Olympic trials. I'm sure you'll continue to do us all proud here at Smiths News in the coming months :)

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