This week I am based outside Houston, Texas for our final phase of preparation before heading to Rio. With conditions this time of year in Rio hovering around 70 degrees and 70% humidity most days, proper preparation meant spending time somewhere humid to acclimate in advance of travel to Rio. The climate in Texas exceeds what we need, with the temperatures typically being between 90 and 100 degrees with high humidity, but after training in these conditions we will certainly be prepared for the humid conditions in Brazil. The USOC holds Olympic team processing in Houston, which is why it seemed simplest to come to Houston to take care of processing and then stay for heat and humidity acclimation before heading to Rio next week. Kate Grace and Drew are here at camp, and I am very excited to be reunited with Kate after several weeks training alone!
Heat can take a profound toll on the body, and training often has to be modified. Since I am now in a place of scaling back training before racing the 5000m in Rio the timing fits nicely. Physiologists recommend spending two weeks in humid conditions to fully acclimate. I began the process in Flagstaff by running during the warmest times of the morning and wearing long sleeves and tights, mostly to help make Houston feel like less of a shock to the system. We’re now spending a week in Houston where it’s very hot, and then we’ll have a full week in Rio before my first race. At this stage of preparation the goal of training is less about building fitness and more about being prepared for the specific demands and conditions of the races at the Olympic Games.
I am excited to be moving forward in the training cycle and getting closer to the Olympics. When I look at the big four year picture leading up to this, acclimating to humidity is a small piece of the puzzle, but one that gives me confidence that I have done all the work and left no stone unturned on the journey. I am eager to get to Rio and put my fitness to the test.