Saturday, 14 February 2015

Altitude Training Options: Mexico

Mexico is a large country stretching from the southern border of the US down to central America. While the country's tourism is centred around it's seaside resorts, a large portion of the country is actually situated above 1,500m of altitude.  Two major mountain ranges - the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental - run practically the full length of the country, and the elevated plateau that links them contains many places with potential for altitude training.  San Luis Potosi and Mexico City are the most used of these.

San Luis Potosi, a city of approximately 1 million people, has an altitude of 1,860 metres.  It's altitude training offer is based largely around Centro Deportivo La Loma.  La Loma is particularly well equipped for swimmers, and has hosted swim teams from across the world.  It also has facilities for athletics, tennis, boxing, judo and other martial arts, squash, volleyball, basketball and Olympic handball.

Guests stay in an adjacent apartment block, and three meals are included in the daily rate.

Parque Tangamanga I, a large park on the southern of the city, offers some running options, but those looking to clock up high mileage may need to travel to some of the rural areas outside the city.

Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world.  The sprawling city has an estimated population of approximately 9 million (city proper; metropolitan area population of more than 21 million), and due to this, along with geographical factors, has major air pollution issues.  If you can see beyond the crowds, the pollution and the inevitable traffic jams, Mexico City has a lot to offer in terms of altitude training.

Mexico City is a particularly good place to visit if you want to combine a holiday or cultural trip with some running.  A number of the city's parks are suitable for running, and the large forested areas on the south west of the city make welcome relief from the city.  There is always something to see or do, cost of living is low, and though speaking Spanish is an advantage, it is less important than in other parts of Mexico.

Toluca de Lerdo, at 2,680m above sea level, is the highest city in North America, and is also a well known altitude training spot. It is situated just 66 kilometres from the capital, but is considerably less polluted, cooler, and less crowded than Mexico City.  Some of the best training spots on the south west of Mexico City are also accessible from Toluca.

Mexico City and San Luis Potosi are just two of the fifteen venues featured in Notes from Higher Grounds: An Altitude Training Guide for Endurance Athletes.  The book can be purchased through Amazon for just £20.

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