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British athletes get set for warm weather training

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Christine Ohuruogu

29 March 2012

With the biggest summer of athletics just a few months away, preparation continues overseas for Britain’s athletes. With the Aviva 2012 Trials set to light up Birmingham in three months time, training will continue over the next couple of months with the majority of athletes heading to the warmer climes of Los Angeles and Font Romeu.

Warm weather training is considered vital preparation for the outdoor season, with the climate one of the fundamental reasons for travelling abroad. Highlighted previously by UK Athletics Head Coach Charles van Commenee, he stated that athletes can benefit from the removal of commercial pressures and the warm weather training.

 "You have to embrace the pressure but you also want to be in a quiet environment where you have a guarantee of good weather,” said Van Commenee.

UK Athletics Paralympic Head Coach Peter Erikkson echoed the sentiment expressed by Van Commenee, emphasising the importance of warm weather training in the lead up to the outdoor season.

"Overseas warm weather training enables us to completely isolate ourselves in a distraction free and well focused environment. That principle is the same for our athletes in Monte Gordo as well as those who are part of the integrated camp alongside the Olympic programme athletes in LA, and ultimately, for everyone, it’s about getting in some quality training and improving overall performances," added Erikkson.

Among a select group travelling to the west coast of USA are Christian Malcolm, Marlon Devonish, Martyn Rooney, Christine Ohurougu, Perri Shakes-Drayton and a number of Paralympic athletes as they prepare for the biggest summer of athletics this country has ever seen.

The athletes based in the USA will have the opportunity to build competition time into their warm weather training programme, with the outdoor season starting earlier than the UK. The majority of athletes based in the USA will return at the start of May, where their preparation to the Aviva 2012 Trials draws ever closer. Just seven weeks later on the 22nd-24th June 750 of Britain’s best athletes will go head-to-head at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium in a race for selection for this summer’s Olympic Games.

Back in Europe, other members of Aviva GB & NI will head out to Formia and Monte Gordo, where they will benefit from the same level of world-class support as they experience in the UK, whether that’s coaching, facilities or on the treatment table, which hopefully won’t be the case.

In the middle of April, the endurance athletes including Hannah England will embark on a UKA/London Marathon altitude training camp in Font Romeu, where they will stay for a month before returning to the UK for the closing stages of their training for the outdoor competition.

UKA’s Head of Endurance Ian Stewart believes that heading to the French mountains will help in putting Britain’s athletes in the best possible condition for a busy summer, which will culminate with the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix on the 26th August.

“For the best part of a month, the endurance athletes will be tested against the mountains in Font Romeu, exposing their bodies to altitude, which will act as vital preparation for their return to sea level,” said Stewart.

“With few distractions high up in the Pyrenees, it will give the athletes a great opportunity to focus their efforts on the trip in hand and the busy few months that lie ahead of them.”

Following the Aviva London Grand Prix on 13th-14th July, the majority of the British team will go into holding camp in preparation for the Olympic Games, with the endurance athletes returning to Font Romeu before making their way to Loughborough as the games get underway.

Tickets for the Aviva Series are on general sale now and if you buy before 31st March you will receive a 10% early bird discount.

To purchase tickets for the 2012 Aviva Series, call 08000 55 60 56 or visit
uka.org.uk/aviva-series