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Triathletes Sleeping High, Training Low


Aileen Morrison and Gavin Noble are putting in the hard yards with just weeks to go until they line up in Hyde Park on August 4th and 7th for the Olympic Games.
Morrison is training at high altitude in Sierra Nevada in Spain with training partners Conor Murphy (Elite triathlete), Noel Collins (TI Development Athlete), Niamh O’Sullivan (TI Development Athlete) Caroline Ryan (Elite Cyclist) and David O’Loughlin (Elite Cyclist).

Morrison moved to the Spanish training camp just days after her 14th place finish in the Kitzbuhel World Triathlon Series on the 23rd of June. The facility which was used by the Triathlon Ireland squad at the start of the season back in January has impressed Performance Director Chris Jones.

“The facility is a hive of activity with a host of South American nations using it for their final Olympic preparations. A state of the art 50m pool with underwater viewing area allows us to video the athletes and analysis technique. There is also some amazing biking and running routes which include a 31 kilometre cycle from the city of Granada up to Sierra Nevada at 2350 meters above sea level and a 10 kilometre run from Sierra Nevada up to the military base at over 2500 meters.”

The Sierra Nevada training camp is the perfect location for ‘sleeping high, training low’. The athletes put in the tough training in the surrounding area while getting the performance enhancing benefits of sleeping at altitude. Physiologist Declan Gamble has been keeping a close eye on Morrison’s reaction to the training load using an i-STAT machine, analysing all the key blood markers to ensure Morrison stays fit and healthy and doesn’t suffer from overtraining.

Along with Gamble there is a world class support team including Deidre Burrell (Physiotherapist) and Martina McCarthy (Strength & Conditioning).

Closer to home Noble is following the same principle in the altitude house in Limerick. The facility is monitored allowing you to alter the altitude at which you sleep to get the optimal performance benefits. Noble is currently living happily at 2700 meters.

Noble had been suffering from injury towards the end of the Olympic Qualification period in May however Triathlon Ireland’s lead cycling coach Tommy Evans feels he is back on track.

“Gavin’s in the best cycling shape I’ve ever seen him. There is a strong bike group that go out on a Tuesday and the routes are tough to build strength.”

“He’s got professional triathlete Bryan Keane as a training partner and he’s back running and swimming hard in the UL pool.”

Both Morrison and Noble will continue their training at altitude with the option of having a final hit out over the sprint distance at the Hamburg ITU World Series race on the 21st and 22nd of July.