February 7, 2017

Triple jumper Kristiina Mäkelä’s “Letter from the Sierra Nevada Training Camp”


Kristiina Mäkelä, Finland’s 23-year old Olympic triple jumper athelete, has sent in one more letter from the training camp in Sierra Nevada.

Many readers of FinnishNews has expressed their interest in following the progress of this solitary top athlete. It is no bed of roses, but she appears to be highly motivated and happy in her endeavors.

Here is her letter:

The first camp of the year is almost over. After having a peaceful Christmas and New Year I got back to training after good rest and with a lot of motivation.

I had one week of preparation in Finland before heading out to Sierra Nevada in Spain for a high-altitude training camp. This is the 4th time high up in the mountains. The thin air takes my breath away easily but makes me run fast… and it worked this time too.

I can see and feel the training effort from last year. I’m totally on a new level with training. I feel stronger, faster and in better shape in many ways. The tricky part is that trying to do a technically good jump at this level is not that easy. But that’s what I´m been doing on this camp, finding how to perfect that jump again.

For the past 2 years, I have done my best indoor jumps at the first competition at the beginning of February. This year, I try to be at my best in March at my last competition European indoor championships in Belgrade, Serbia. This means that I must train harder during at this camp, more than ever before. In the previous camps, I found it hard to execute technically good jumps with this kind of training. I must start my indoor season with two practice competitions before we change my training program to get me into better competition shape.

Although training here is hard, there is not much to do during your free time. The thin air makes you tired, but I like it here. Why? Well, I´m surrounded by my kind of people. I do my training like I do it back home, but instead of eating my lunch and dinner alone in my apartment I have over 30 other athletes to enjoy it with. As meaningless as it may sound, that is very important. We do not always necessarily have cheerful conversations, but we do have them, but just seeing others as exhausted, happy or sad from hard training makes you feel better in a way. Getting that group support is very important and it gives you energy for the next session.

I was really lucky here because I already knew some of the athletes at the camp from previous years. Catching up with them is always nice. Talking to athletes and coaches from other sports gives you also a new perspective. If you’re lucky you might pick up valuable information you didn’t think about before. Sometimes I feel more home at training camps because of the company. Getting that right atmosphere makes you happy even then it feels hard or if training wasn’t the best at that day. And when you feel great, it pushes you a bit further to even better results.