The venue is over 10 000 feet above sea level. At that height, the air is thin and lacks the same amount of oxygen as at sea level. This results in the body having to work harder to get the same amount of oxygen to the muscles. The training benefit comes as the body adapts to the altitude. It becomes more efficient in getting oxygen around the body and the training sessions become easier.
Breathing through a straw
When the players arrived, many complained of headaches and described exercise at altitude as "like breathing through a straw." However, after a week of hard training the players began to make big improvements in handling the sessions delivered to them by the coaching and sports science teams.
Ten hour hikes
The days consisted of long hikes in tough conditions in the mountains. Combined with the thin air, the players had to hike between five to ten hours. The "shorter" five hour hikes were broken up with hill sprints and other running drills. And all this was in minus five degrees Celsius and often in snow. When they arrived back at their accommodation they had basic ball skill sessions and gym work, along with boxing and wrestling training.
Does altitude training work?
The impact that altitude has is debated among sport scientists. Many suggest the physiological advantages are limited to the first few weeks upon returning to sea level, with the body re-adapting back at normal conditions. The hope is that the players will gain an advantage in their preseason training. Fitter bodies now translate to lesser injuries during the season. Other advantages include building social cohesion within the team. Having the players living, training and eating together improves the social fabric of the club, which experts suggest can help the way they work as a team on the field.
Watch the Roos
Keep an eye out for the Roos this season to see if their preseason altitude training pays off. Their hard physical training at altitude is a solid start to their preseason campaign.
Well Being Australian theologian sees the similarities between physical and spiritual training. Christians are encouraged to take their faith seriously. Paul, writing to the Church in Corinth, says (1 Cor 9:24), "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
The lesson is that though the Roos train hard to achieve an AFL flag that is perishable, our faith should be taken seriously because we have an eternal perspective. The argument is from the lesser (perishable) to the greater (eternal life). We should take it seriously and stay focused.
It is not saying we must strive harder to achieve our salvation. Paul explains again and again that our salvation is a free gift from God through Jesus, not our own effort. However, Jesus' victory means we get in the race. And as competitors in this race we must stay focused on the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus."