The mountains in your own bedroom

Jan Van Den Broeck and Niels Plateau dream of the Olympics from 2016 in Rio. Both middle-distance runners really want to do everything they can to get to Brazil. They not only train hard, but also invested in a scientific approach. For example, they slept together for four weeks last monthaltitude tent. magazine was allowed to take a look in the bedroom.

Jan Van Den Broeck and Niels Platteau experiment with height tent

Endurance athletes often pull up altitude internship to places such as Font-Romeu (Pyrenees) and Sankt Moritz (Alps). Scientific research has clearly shown that altitude training, among other things, increases oxygen transport and glucose and oxygen uptake in the muscles and organs.

altitude internship however, has two major drawbacks. "In the first place, you can quickly count on a budget of 2000 euros per person," says runner Jan Van Den Broek. “You also have to take into account a fairly long period of time to acclimatize. It usually takes two weeks for the body to adjust. "

Armstrong, Nys and the Borlées

altitude tent is an alternative to the mountains. Lance Armstrong, for example, used it much earlier. Sven Nys and the brothers Jonathan and Kevin Borlée also regularly sleep in a height tent or aaltitude room..

A price tag of about 4500 euros is attached to a height tent. "Fortunately, it is also possible to rent a tent and a corresponding generator," says Van De Broeck. “That costs around 125 euros a week. For a traditional course of four weeks, you end up with an investment of around 500 euros. "

In our national athletics there are more athletes who are working on it, but many are rather mysterious about it. Half-distance runners Jan Van De Broeck and Niels Platteau have just had their first experience, and were happy to invite magazine to their height tent.

January 6, just after this magazine went to press, was marked with red in Jan Van Den Broeck's agenda. During the provincial championship in Ghent, he wanted to reach the limit at the 800 meters for the European Indoor Championships, which takes place in early March 2013 in Gothenburg, Sweden. In addition to the support of his teammate Niels Plateau, the athlete of Lebbeek Athletics Toekomst also hoped to count on the beneficial effects of his very first experiment with a altitude tent.

Jan and Niels shared the bed and the height tent for four weeks in December. Over the double bed of Jan there was a construction that looks a lot like a party tent, with the difference that the height tent is completely airtight. The corresponding generator was placed in a neighboring room. He blows the low in oxygen air in the tent. "To get the cable from one room to another, we even had to cut a corner of the door," laughs Niels.

It takes about two hours before it oxygen content the tent has dropped to the desired level. This can be arranged via a button on the generator. Then the zipper opens and Jan and Niels quickly fly into the tent.

They try at least 12 hours a day in the altitude tent to stay. “We usually crawl into our tent around 10 p.m. and stay in it until 8 p.m. Sometimes we also have breakfast there. In this way we already arrive at a stay of 10 hours. During the day we usually do a power nap of two hours ”, Jan says. Doesn't his girlfriend find it annoying that he shares the bed with someone else for four weeks? "Absolutely not. My girlfriend, multi-chamber Marjolein Lindemans, is also a top athlete herself, so she understands this better. "

The mystery of the missing car.

For both athletes it was blown seriously during the first days in the tent. Especially for Niels, who didn't sleep in his own bed. Moreover, the device continuously makes a blowing sound. "But that does not prevent me from falling asleep," Platteau responds. “The sound is reminiscent of the wave hose from the sea and that is calming. I then try to breathe at the same rhythm and I fall asleep very easily. ”

In an episode of the television program Man Bites Dog, a collapsed fellow athlete Kristof Van Malderenlast summer he sometimes had very bizarre dreams in that tent. He remembered another dream in which he was floating around in the ocean in his inverted tent. Jan and Niels recognize the feeling. "You dream much more intensively, but it is exactly a lot," says Platteau.

Also during the day let the consequences of the altitude tent feel sometimes. “I am studying in Ghent and during the first week of our experiment I had a bizarre incident. Like every morning, I had parked my car near the school. When I came out a few hours later, I was completely out of the world, because I could not find my car again. Only after half an hour of searching, I could finally leave, "says Niels Platteau.

And there are other side effects. "Indeed", Jan Van Den Broeck laughs. "Since I sleep at Niels, all my blankets are taken away every night."

Brazilian flag

Or the experiment with the altitude tent the desired results, had to appear for the first time on January 6. During the first few days it became clear that there is an impact. "The first week in particular was difficult," says Niels Platteau. “You wake up earlier and you are also wide awake. Around noon I got a knock every time. We also noticed the impact of sleeping in the height tent on training. We managed to run our tempos, but that little extra was clearly missing. But after two weeks we felt stronger every day. "

If the results are better than expected, Jan and Niels will undoubtedly continue with them in 2013 altitude tent. Maybe they will even buy one by then. Niels aims primarily at the European Championships for promises (11-14 July in Tampere, Finland). About a month later Jan wants to shine at the World Cup in Moscow).

But the ultimate main goal lies a little further in the future. The Brazilian flag in the room explicitly refers to this. Both Jan and Niels want to go to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and they have everything for that. "If it doesn't work out, we won't be able to blame ourselves afterwards," says Van Den Broeck, who will have to nibble around two seconds of his best time by then.
The challenge is even greater for Niels, because he has to make much more progress, but he is also younger. “I am convinced that it is possible and we will do everything we can to make that dream come true. We leave nothing to chance. For example, until 2016 I will no longer drink alcohol. Or almost no drop. If Jan treats champagne at the beginning of January when he reaches the limit, I will taste it. "

This article is published in the magazine.

About Altitude Dream

Altitude Dream is the market leader in the Benelux in the field of altitude training. For more than 10 years we have been helping athletes realize their dreams and bringing people without altitude sickness to the mountain of their dreams. Altitude Dream is not a company. Altitude Dream is a dream. A dream that leads to the maximum use of our possibilities.