Altitude Training

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Radical Ron

Altitude Training

Post by Radical Ron » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:31 pm

This statement by Tim Noakes intrigued me:  “If you look at the literature, some people benefit and some get worse, and the general result is no effect,” Noakes said of altitude training.

I've often wondered what kind of improvements I would make if I trained at altitude.  I've been encouraged by Coach Tom that living in the midwest where it's so hot/humid during the summer is like living at altitude.  Your body adapts by increasing blood volume and it does make you tougher.  So the net effect might be the same.  Regardless, I train at 900ft and I've embraced the heat/humidity as there's nothing I can do about it. 

Tinman
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Re: Altitude Training

Post by Tinman » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:12 pm

I think that Dr. Noakes is speaking about the average effect, which is basically near zero. But, as an individual, the effect may be profound for one person and non-existent or deleterious for another person.  Joe might have a 10% improvement and Larry has a 10% decline in improvement. It's like caffeine; it may or may not be helpful; it's an individual thing.

I do think that altitude training is ideally done with a live-high, train-low approach. Or, a runner can use a fancy altitude tent to sleep in, like some of the elite Nike guys or elite cyclists. Then, train during the day at low elevation so that speed is high.

I think long distance runners benefit from altitude training the most. They don't need as much speed and power to race a marathon well, but they need great endurance and high blood volume. Also, there are some enzymatic changes that occur due to altitude training that help a runner, according to Dr. Joe Vigil.

Note the anaerobic capacity goes up for competitive runners who train at altitude. Several enzymatic changes occur, and blood buffering improves. If I were a 400-800m runner, I would perform 3-4 week stints at altitude to improve anaerobic capacity. Go up there and run fast reps with long recoveries. Then come back down to sea level and execute speed-endurance and speed maintenance while working on stamina with long intervals and various forms of tempo running (steady, short or long, and progressive).

Tinman
Last edited by Tinman on Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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