Charlene returns from a hard months training in the Pyrenees Mountains


1500M GB Runner Charlene Thomas is ready for the British Athletics Championships after a gruelling month's altitude training in the Pyrenees Mountains in Font Romeu, France.

Charlene, who drinks Delamere Dairy goats' milk to alleviate her asthma symptoms, has recently returned from completing a month's altitude training in France. Training at altitude, where the oxygen level is considerably lower, allows athletes to increase their red blood cell count. This enables them to compete more effectively at sea level because more oxygen is delivered to the muscles. This was Charlene's second month of altitude training this year and we caught up with her to hear how she got on:

"I've just returned from Font Romeu in the Pyrenees Mountains. It's a stunning part of the world and an endurance runner's paradise. The training camp went really well and I consistently hit 70 miles a week worth of running, was lifting personal bests in the gym and made a good start on some faster work, completing a few 1500m paced track sessions. The block of training really has put me in a good position to build on the more specific 1500m sessions, ready for the athletics season to kick off.

Training at altitude is more demanding on the body because of the lack of oxygen, so most of the days spent at the camp consist of eat, sleep, train and repeat! When I'm training at altitude, I feel constantly hungry and seem to snack continuously throughout the day. An afternoon nap is also needed most days to maximise recovery and ready the body for a second training session or run of the day.

Being on a training camp is also a very sociable experience and I enjoyed sharing an apartment with Hannah England, 2011 World Silver medallist, and spending time with lots of the other GB athletes attending the training camp.

I'm now looking forward to gradually dropping off from the hard training and starting to compete later this year. I plan to compete at The World Championships in Beijing this August and at The British Road Mile Championships on the 23rd May. I'll start my track season in June and attempt to run the qualifying time in the 1500m, which is 4.06.5. I have a personal best time of 4.03.74 but the event is very competitive in the UK and there will be a number of girls who will run the qualifying time. It will then come down to the trial race in July where the top two are automatically selected as long as they have the A standard and then a 3rd athlete will be selected at the end of July."

We wish Charlene the best of luck and will be looking out for her at the UK championships and trials on the 3rd - 5th July which will be broadcast on the BBC.

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