By: Katrina Coogan
Happy New Year from Team NB Boston! Altitude here we come! After spending a couple of weeks at home for the holidays to celebrate with our families, the team is now heading out to Flagstaff, Arizona for a several week high-altitude training camp.
Flagstaff is a town in northern Arizona that is at 7,000 ft. It is home to Northern Arizona University (2016 and 2017 Men’s NCAA DI Cross Country Champions) and proves to be a perfect place to train for elite endurance athletes. Not only does it have miles of soft surface trails and dirt roads for us to train on, but it also has quick access to lower altitudes where we can complete our harder sessions. The proximity to lower altitude locations allows us to work out at paces that we can run at sea level while getting the aerobic benefit of living and doing our easier runs at 7,000 ft and above. I personally love getting on some of the single-track mountain trails out here that we don’t have as much of back in Boston. Flagstaff also has an amazing local running community which includes some of my college teammates (my hoyas, who I love dearly)….HOYA SAXA, BLEED HOYA BLUE!
With the help of Stephen Haas (Total Sports US), who facilitates many of the logistics of our trip, we rent a house in town and get the privilege of getting to train in a such a beautiful place with all the resources we need - such as massage therapists from Hypo2 Sport and gym access at Summit Health & Fitness.
Aside from the physiological benefits of training at altitude, my favorite part of coming to Flagstaff is the training camp mentality. Being here forces us to be extremely intentional about how we train, how we recover, and allows us to be more focused on the little things we need to do everyday to remain healthy and to get faster.
My other favorite part of coming to altitude is the team bonding time. Living in one house together, unlike how we live in Boston, is a lot of fun! We get to have team dinners where we rotate the one person who cooks for the rest of the team - shoutout to Abbey Dags for being the MVP last year with the sausage soup after a hard workout. We play card games and board games which, as you can imagine, get pretty intense having a group of highly competitive people playing together.
Most importantly, we really get to know each other on a deeper level and really invest in each others goals, dreams, and journeys within the sport. It is a time where we can fully immerse ourselves in the reasons we were all drawn to this team in the first place and where we become a family. Together, we hold each other accountable to training and competing at a high level while having fun with the process of getting better every day. Not to mention, it is a nice escape from the city and the single digit weather we are getting in Boston right now!
Thank you to everyone who was a part of our support team this past year! A special thank you to New Balance for their continued support. 2018 is going to be a great year for Team NB Boston and we are excited to kick it off here in Flagstaff!