Monday, August 6, 2012

High Altitude Training at Passo San Pellegrino

The nice people at write in to explain why Passo San Pellegrino is such a great place for training:

Passo San Pellegrino continues to be one of the most famous resorts for high altitude training.  Once again this year Team Liquigas-Cannondale has based their summer retreat in the wide ample valley located at 2000 metres a.s.l. in the heart of the Val di Fassa, transforming the Chalet Cima Uomo into their headquarters for more than two months.

“It’s a well known fact that training at high altitudes has beneficial effects on the development and performances of athletes at any level and in any sport, because it improves resistance and aerobic capacity while it supports intensive working rhythms even in the hottest months,” explains Paolo Slongo, Sports Director for the Liquigas juggernaut. “Still, we have to be careful when choosing the mountain resorts where to stay. In fact, at a physiological level, high altitudes are only effective from 1900 to 2500 metres.”

From this perspective Passo San Pellegrino is a perfect choice and the numerous successes obtained by Team Liquigas-Cannondale are the living proof: from Vincenzo Nibali, “the Shark”, who took third place in the Tour de France, to the fantastic victory of the young and talented Moreno Moser at the Tour de Pologne to the feats of Peter Sagan.

The right altitude, a dry climate, mild temperatures…and that’s not all. Passo San Pellegrino is located in paradise-like surroundings: wild nature, gorgeous landscapes and a wide choice of routes of varying length and difficulty. The most important Dolomite Passes are just a few kilometres away and at the same time there are plenty of flat areas. It’s ideal for daily evaluations of the quality and quantity of work performed.

"Passo San Pellegrino has become one of the most significant stages in our season," confirms Slongo. “In the months of June and July, the hottest and at the same time the most crucial for the team’s preparation, it is fundamental to move up to the higher altitudes. The athletes find the right environment to refine their conditioning without tiring themselves out too much, by undergoing training which would be prohibitive at sea level. Plus, the rarefied mountain oxygen spurs the body to take better advantage of breathing and develop a higher capacity of adjustment to more demanding situations.”

Whether you are a professional or cycling lover, it is fundamental to spend at least 15 hours a day for two weeks a year at high altitudes. The work load should be determined based on the objectives of individual schedule commitments: in fact, moving to higher altitudes can help improve performance, but it’s also a chance to rest and recuperate after expended efforts.

In the first case,” continues Slongo “you have to start with a few days of light training (2/3 hours) to allow your body to adapt to the new atmospheric conditions. Then there will be two days of increased work (4/5 hours), a day of rest and another two intense days dedicated first to quality work (alternating SFR: Slope-Force-Resistance drills with base and medium rhythm drills)and then volume work (favoring longer yet less difficult routes, keeping a calmer pedaling frequency). Then there’s another day of rest and it’s back to the same program.”

Instead in the second case, the high altitude retreat is useful for the athlete to recuperate both physically and mentally. “In a wind down situation, the training will always be very light and alternated with times of rest. The objective is to maintain tone and avoid weight gain in preparation for successive competitive events", concludes Slongo.

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1 comment:

  1. Good info! Riding up high definitely helps beat the heat.