As a physiologist and physician, I believe in integrating the scientific aspects of training with the joy and appreciation for the sport I’ve gained over thirty years of running and racing on trails, roads, and track. My goal is to help build a varied, sensible training plan that fits into your busy lifestyle, and will help you reach the finish line happy, healthy, and enthusiastic for whatever challenges lie ahead.
Highlights from Are you ready for Leadville?
Basic effects of altitude:
Disturbed sleep, increased ventilation, decrease blood O2 saturation, and various performance effects (such as drop in VO2max)
Acclimatization and Strategies
Increased ventilation, circulatory changes, blood changes
Acute Mountain Sickness
- Dependent upon the rate of ascent, level of exertion, altitude attained, length of exposure, and inherent susceptibility.
- Onset 12-48hrs but symptoms can persist.
Strategies for Success
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid alcohol
- Small frequent high-carbohydrate meals
- Acetazolamide, Vit. C, Antioxidants
- Anticipate issues (nausea, poor appetite, etc.)
- Adjust your expectations (run/ride by feel)
When should I arrive?
- Ideally, 1-2 weeks before the event
- OR, consider <24hr before the event
- Training camp weekend
- Do another race (series) before
- Hiking or training trip at altitude
- Ideally, you focus on nailing your training at home (or low level) before compromising it for altitude
- Live high/train low (4-6weeks, 5-6 nights/week)
- Intermittent hypoxic training
- Rental altitude tents, training centers
- Creates a “cross-tolerance” effect from heat stress
- Inc. Plasma volume
- Inc. red blood cell (RBC) production
- Can utilize the summer temps. by including some workouts in the heat of the day
Performance at Altitude
- Slowing/decrement in performance
- Constraints at upper limits of alt.
- Nutritional errors can be magnified
- There is no substitute for fitness!
- Train for the event, not the altitude
Altitude: It is what it is
- Be diligent about preparation but don’t obsess
- Don’t let the course rule you - you chose it!
- Dial in your nutrition now
- When in doubt, train!
Q: How long does/do the benefits of altitude persist?
They should last about 3-4mo. Beyond then, you should see it start to wear off.