Training at altitude

Discussion in 'The Training Wing' started by badmash, Oct 23, 2007.

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  1. I'm currently based near a rather large mountain range in Southern Europe and was wondering whether there is any benefit to be gained from training 1500m to 2500m above sea level? I will only be able to train in all probablity for one day a week, with the possibility to push it out to a weekend maybe once a month, before returning to sea level for the rest of the week. I however will be able to maintain this each week for a good six months.

    I had planned on just doing treks with a loaded bergan (Berghaus munro as I don't want to be seen mouching around spain with issue kit on.), should I be thinking about varying this?


  2. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Basic answer is yes.....

    but why are you doing it (other than being some sort of masochistic sod...)?
  3. Basic answer is obviously because I think the panoramic vistas will enhance all aspects of my life...

    The alternate is that there might be a point to walking long distances at altitude if it were to give you an advantage when walking long distances at less then 900m, or perhaps completing things like a 10 miler faster…

    What would be your more advanced answer? I have heard various things about low-high training both good and bad and am not sure what to believe?


  4. Panoramic vistas?? Are you a homo??

    The air at altitude is thinner, if you can get your body to work well under physical conditions at a high altitude, then in theory it will work better at lower altitude.

    For best results ask your airline if they can put a treadmill on the plane for you in place of your seat ;)
  5. 1 day a week at 1,500-2,500 m isn't going to make much difference.

    Putting a pack on your back and hitting the hills just might.

    Hope that this helps.

  6. PassingBells,

    How many days a week would you have to train for it to make a difference?

  7. 2 - 3 days a week.

    It worked wonders for me in the Balkans.
  8. Yes you will get more red blood cells. Traing at alitude has the same effect as the drugs that were used in cycling in the 90s. Ideally you would live at alitude and train at a similar or just slighty lower but training in any form can have many advantages. One day a week would be significantly better than no day a week. From what I have read 2500 should see an decent increase.

    Personally I think from my own experiance that even lower has advantages but its unsubstanuated. As well as blood it also helps work cv system harder than on ground. Kenyan distance runners regarded as the best live at higher altitude. Paula radcliff in between craping the street trains at alitude its one of the reasons wins. I have a few books on this at home could proberly quite a bit on the web. If you want spefics I could look it up I am dyslexic and dont remeber words well.
  9. There are too many variables to enable anyone to give you a definitive answer.
    Long story short, it certainly won't do you any harm, and will probably be slightly more beneficial than training purely at sea level.
    Don't diss the panoramic views though, without wanting to get all misty-eyed about it, mountains are good for the soul.
    Oh yes, don't forget your sunblock/flares/strobe/bivvy & doss bags/mat/goji berries/tins of pilchards....................etc
  10. I haven't looked at any statistics recently, but IIRC to fully acclimiatise to altitude, you need to spend about 1 month at that altitude. You lose most of your acclimitaisation fairly quickly when you come down - within a couple of weeks.

    Training once or twice a week isn't going to give your body much time to react to the lower oxygen levels.

    What are you training for BTW?
  11. You might as well. Altitude aside climbing up 2500m mountains cant be a bad thing for your fitness. If you are not acustomed to being up high, get ready for a shock, everything seems so much harder. I stayed in swizerland at 5000feet a few years back and it was shocking how bloody hard everything was, I got knackered just walking up small hills to the shop etc.. was nuts. Then again I was a lard arrse then but still was a big difference.

    Have fun :)

  12. I concur with JayCam, I trained in kenya in the aberdares national park. (some of the best world class kenyan distance runners come from there) In the beginning even walking was hard work, but its amazing how quickly you can condition your body to stress, before long (2 weeks) I was able to run up to 3 miles, then 5 miles but not particularly quickley. However, on return to the UK I had knocked 45 seconds off my BFT time and 10 minutes off my half marathon time.