Posted by Alayna Sonnesyn on Aug 12th 2021

​Altitude Training Camp

There are pros and cons to staying in one place all season to train. If you stay home, you get consistent, quality training without the stress of travel or finding new training locations. However, you can also get bored from doing the same workouts in the same places, which can sometimes lead to feeling 'flat.' As an athlete living at sea level, it also prevents you from learning to train/race at altitude and v.v. an altitude athlete might lack speed and fast twitch muscles if they never visit sea level. Two weeks ago, my SMS teammate, Lina Sutro, and I traveled out to her hometown of Carbondale, CO for a mini altitude training camp.


Enjoying the hard work, even at 6,500 feet.

For eight days, we stayed with Lina's family in Carbondale and focused on quality over quantity. I managed to squeeze in 4 intensity sessions: classic speeds, skate threshold, skate sprint workout and classic time trial. These workouts were very hard and I knew it was best to not push volume and prioritize recovery, something that is extremely important at altitude. On my final day in Colorado, I figured it was okay to do one big adventure to appreciate the beautiful mountains and end the intensity camp with a final push. I unplugged from my phone/music and enjoyed an epic solo day in the gorgeous Maroon Bells-Snowmass mountain range.


Getting my mountain fix in.

When Lina and I weren't training, we put our feet up to watch the Olympics, work on our computers and visit with friends. We also lucked out and were in town during Carbondale's Mountain Fair, a collection of local musicians, artists and foodies coming together for one of the first big gatherings I've been to in over 16 months! It was so fun to spend time in the Roaring Fork Valley and I'm so appreciative of the Sutro family for being such welcoming hosts so I could have a fun and productive work trip.


Thank you Sutro Family for an amazing week!

This year, US Nationals are at altitude in Soldier Hollow, Utah, which is why I think this trip was extremely important for me to travel out west to practice working hard with little oxygen. Even though it wasn't long enough of a camp to get an 'altitude boost' I still found a lot of value in feeling how hard I could push myself at altitude without blowing up. This is something I've struggled a lot with in the past, having always lived and trained at sea level. I've never been super comfortable training or racing at altitude, but I'm thinking little camps like this are a great step in the right direction for me and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to make it work!