Ten weeks have passed since the end of a much shorter track season, and the build-up into my first taste of the American collegiate setup is beginning to take shape. I took ten days off following the season then spent a month back at home steadily increasing my mileage. With competitions at a British domestic level covering almost every month of the year, the opportunity to spend a month ‘base’ training is often hard to schedule in, so it was a nice change to have some downtime from the intensity.
My last two weeks before heading out here totalled around 70-75 miles per week, and included a couple of longer tempo runs with everything staying heavily towards the controlled end.
So rewind two weeks from now and I arrive culture shocked and shattered in a City with highs of 30-35 degrees almost everyday. Albuquerque, New Mexico is situated central in the state of New Mexico, and the city sits a mile above sea level; a higher altitude than anywhere back in the UK. My first week here was all about recovering from the 15+ hours of travelling, and adjusting to the time difference. After a very stressful first week of organising my academics (Yes I am doing a bit of studying too), accommodation and endless form filling it feels great to be into the routine of a student-athlete. I train daily with a group of 15-20 guys with a ridiculous amount of depth at anything from 800m up to 10k. To put the depth into perspective i’m one of nine athletes with a PB of under 3:45 for 1500m.
My preparations toward training out here tried to mirror their approach, which primarily meant reducing intensity and increasing volume. Another difference is the ‘easy’ running we do away from the harder days is consistently at a good pace, and especially heading into the cross-country season this obviously helps to build a solid aerobic base fitness. Our longer run each week is usually done up in the spectacular Sandia Mountains; the cities natural backdrop, and a further 1500ft higher. The makeup of a day is also a little different with training usually taking place between 7-9am, and lectures usually around 4-8pm, meaning almost the entirety of the day can be used for recovering/football manager.
Away from running itself, the multitude of additional support has been hugely beneficial. We have physios, nutritionists, psychologists and doctors available at our convenience and a fully stocked medical room which I have been utilising on a daily basis to maximise recovery.
I have four more training weeks out here before we begin the cross-country season, which looks like around six races in nine weekends if all goes well; an exciting opportunity to explore a bit more of the country.
I’ll hopefully try and keep this up-to-date during my time away, and write some reviews of the array of College sport available to watch free of charge as a student!
Thanks for reading. If you see any mistakes it’s because I wrote this watching MK Dons beat Man United 4-0. 4-0!?