High-altitude training provides challenge, confidence boost

As mentioned in my previous article, I am in San Luis Potosi (SLP), Mexico, and I am trying to keep up with my training.

I did my race simulation on Aug. 6, feeling really good. Temperature is back to normal ranges, and I was able to run 5 miles at 8-minute pace, 8 miles at 7:15 pace and 1 mile at 8-minute pace. I was really happy with that.

Now in SLP, my training has not gone as I wanted. Aug. 7, I did an easy run in the hotel gym, and as expected, the altitude is getting to me. It is a different feeling, like not being able to breathe, but your legs are able to run. The next day, I was struggling with my speedwork, so I decided to do a tempo run, doing 6 miles at 7:15 pace. Aug. 10, I was not able to run since my wife joined me at SLP, and I had to pick her up from the airport.

Cross-training is easy since the gym in the hotel is well equipped with all type of devices for exercising. With regard to food and my diet, it has been easy to take all type of elements that provide all nutrients for my body since you just need to look at the menu and select the right choice.

Also, as I mentioned before, I have been with family that I have not seen in a long time, so I have spent more time with them than training, making the time to sleep difficult, and on top of that, when I am abroad on business, I work with the plant I am supporting during the day, and then at night, I have to do more work to keep up with the normal tasks. All of this has made it an issue to get enough sleep.

On Aug. 12, I tried my long run in a park called Tangamanga. It is a really nice place full of trees. The trail has some hills where you start and then climb up hill for about 2½ miles. It is a very tiring course. I was able to run only 15 miles, and then I got out of breath. I realized I made the mistake of starting too fast for the altitude and inclination of the hills, and I have learned my lesson.

My training the following week went well. I was able to acclimate to the altitude, which for sure is going to help me when I am back in Columbus. I was able to do speed work of six repetitions at 6:30 per mile.

Even though that went well, I might need to consider changing my training plan since I have had some pains that last for one or two days, which I have not experienced before, and my left upper leg had some sharp pain that lasted for three days only. These issues have not interrupted my training since they are only when I am not running. It is very strange, the good thing is that they are not stopping my training program.

Training in SLP those two weeks in that altitude and hills are giving me confidence on my run. I am excited to get back to Columbus and have my long run to see if my training in SLP helped me on my program.

I will keep you posted.

At a glance

Cesar Gamez’ training program for this week:

Monday: Easy run, 45 minutes

Tuesday: Eight 3/4-mile reps at 6:30 pace

Wednesday: Cross training

Thursday: Tempo hard 25 minutes at 7:15 pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Race simulation, five miles at 8:00 pace, and nine miles at 7:30 pace

Sunday: Cross training