Thursday, March 13, 2008

High Altitude Sports Massage


The fine line. The interesting thing for a sport therapist working with elite training camps is just that. The fine line, the dance between "pre and post" event type work. We are taught in schools of bodywork that pre event is fast paced muscle spindle work, get them ready to preform. Post event is to be of a recovery and slower regenerative work speed and focus. So, what do we do when an athlete is recovering from a big run Sunday, and getting ready for a big push on Tuesday? Walk the line. Individualize treatment for the athlete, and within that athlete, individualize the treatment for the muscle belly at hand, or the kinetic chain of a specific movement. With enough thought it can seem tricky to know what to do, where and how to work.

With the Canadian National Triathlon Team my focus has been two fold. Keep the bodies of the athletes as close to alignment as possible, hip rotation, head on neck, neck on shoulders, clean running spinal engine, springing knees, ankle, and feet. Then to keeping the bigger long lever muscles, prime movers and synergistic stabilizers as fresh as can be expected. With the efforts put in by these guys/gal, staying ahead of those niggles is the name of the game. I really feel like they are all doing well.

This is a sample of the early training I stole from Colin Jenkin's blog......
The last couple days have been rough up here at altitude. I have been getting some altitude headaches on and off and trying to drink as much as I can as it is very easy to get dehydrated up here.

Joel's idea when we got here was to go easy the first couple days, just to flush out the system from the race and get used to the altitude. Then we will gradually increase the intensity from there so we do not overload the body. Well the first day was flush, the second was rough, and the last two have been pretty damned hard. I guess that is Coach Joel's idea of building into it.

Yesterday we started the day out with a set of 3x100 fast, then 3x300 sub threshold all on 1:30 per hundred pace. We had to do that 3 times. The first two rounds were pull paddle on the 300's and the last round was swim. Thats where the altitude hits you like a ton of bricks. I had to pull the 2nd 300 to rest my legs or my heart would have probably exploded.

From there we had a quick lunch and went for a 2.5 bike with the last 60min steady. The group of us did that working pretty good together in a pace line, we were smoking! Then we hopped off the bikes, did a quick change and ran 40min (10 steady, 10 easy X 2) on our Mooloolaba course. Lets just say I hope I run quicker in the actual race. Day done.

Today was a bit more manageable. I started the day out with a 60min spin on the trainer (pic above) and then off to the pool for a recovery swim. Later on in the afternoon we did a 70min run on a muddy, red dirt road. Oh, and it was filled with potholes everywhere. Perfect place for a 30min tempo run. So we did 30min WU, 30min tempo, 10min cooldown. Running tempo at altitude is tough but it went by quick and the day is finally done.

You can see what I mean about the fine line between recovery and preparation.

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