How AA is preparing for the heat conditions in Doha 2019 & Tokyo 2020.
Ned Brophy-Williams – Athletics Australia National Physiologist
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA & WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
My role involves a whole array of different opportunities, working with different coaches across the endurance spectrum. The crux of a physiologists’ job is to understand the training stimulus and response – what sort of training are we carrying out, how are the athletes responding and therefore, what do we need to adjust to progress. A lot of that comes back to training, whether that be heat training or altitude training and whether that be for specific training sessions or longer term annual or seasonal training.
WHERE WAS THE HEAT ACCLIMATISATION CAMP & WHAT DID YOU DO THERE?
We are up in Cairns this week, this is our training camp up in the heat – looking at Australian athletes acclimatising to hot conditions, that will be particularly relevant to our World Championships in 2019 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This is being taken as a trial run for our athletes, it is early on in their season so we can experiment a little here to best understand how they are going to respond to the heat.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTANAGES OF THIS TYPE OF TRAINING?
There are going to be really challenging conditions in Doha 2019 and in Tokyo 2020. Something we have experienced in some of our athletics competitions in the past – all the way back to Athens 2004 through to World Championships in Beijing in 2015. It will be particularly relevant for our endurance athletes and the longer events where the heat is really going to take it out of them, so the better we can prepare them for it the better we are going to perform.
WHAT KIND OF CONDITIONS ARE YOU EXPECTING IN DOHA 2019 AND TOKYO 2020?
In Doha and Tokyo we will be expecting low to mid 30s, that’s during the day. In Tokyo especially it is going to be really humid as well.
HOW ARE WE PREPARING ATHLETES FOR THE CHANGES IN RACE TIMES?
The Doha Timetable is fairly unique, with such late sessions – the midnight marathon, the late night race walks. It’s still going to be hot at that time of night, the radiant heat from the sun obviously won’t be present but we are expecting really high temperatures and we will prepare accordingly.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE TRAINING TECHNIQUES?
Heat acclimation and acclimatisation protocols are really important across sports, and it’s something we (Athletics Australia) have been conscious of and we are planning and preparing accordingly – we have been doing this for the last few years and will continue to do so until 2020, this is common across all Olympic Sports.