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Old 02-15-08, 04:43 PM   #1
tbrown524
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Altitude Training

I'm going Guatemala next month and will be in a section with a elevation of 6,000+.. I read someplace about the benefit of Alititude training.. I"m considering using a mountian bike for the two weeks I'm there.. There is a criterium(sea level) on the weekend I'm scheduled to come back.. I'm wondering if I will see an improvement after two weeks in high altitude.

Thanks..
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Old 02-15-08, 04:51 PM   #2
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I think you might.
I could definitely tell a difference between Colorado at 6500' and WI at 800', and I was only there for a week.
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Old 02-15-08, 04:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tbrown524 View Post
I'm going Guatemala next month and will be in a section with a elevation of 6,000+.. I read someplace about the benefit of Alititude training.. I"m considering using a mountian bike for the two weeks I'm there.. There is a criterium(sea level) on the weekend I'm scheduled to come back.. I'm wondering if I will see an improvement after two weeks in high altitude.

Thanks..
you should.. when I lived in Colorado Springs...5,000+ I remeber being told that you loose the benefits after 72 hours; so you should get some benefit...
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Old 02-15-08, 05:10 PM   #4
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"At intermediate altitudes, 1,500-3,000 meters, up to 25% of unacclimatized travelers may experience AMS. People with serious lung, heart and blood diseases are more likely to develop AMS. Healthy young adults who participate in vigorous activity upon arrival at altitude are also at great risk for AMS. Individuals with a prior history of AMS and who live at low elevations are especially susceptible. Those who travel rapidly to altitude, as is common with air travel, are also at greater risk for AMS."
-http://sportsci.org/encyc/altitaccl/altitaccl.html

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Implications

1. Training at altitude might enhance sea-level performance in originally unconditioned, non-athletic individuals. (p. 469)
2. For highly trained athletes, the training intensity required for maintenance of peak performances cannot be achieve at altitude. (p. 469)
3. Altitude training is not a stimulus for further adaptive responses in specific exercises in high-performance athletes.
-http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/csa/vol24/fox.htm
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Old 02-15-08, 05:18 PM   #5
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I believe that high altitude training just adjusts your body to produce more red blood cells to absorb more oxygen, and it doesn't necessarily matter whether you're training there or just living there and not training, because your body will produce the extra red blood cells anyway. I could be wrong about this though, I'm no expert. But yeah you will lose the extra cells after a few days back at normal altitude. Hey, you can always just take some EPO, it does the same thing
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Old 02-15-08, 05:29 PM   #6
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I believe that high altitude training just adjusts your body to produce more red blood cells to absorb more oxygen, and it doesn't necessarily matter whether you're training there or just living there and not training, because your body will produce the extra red blood cells anyway. I could be wrong about this though, I'm no expert. But yeah you will lose the extra cells after a few days back at normal altitude. Hey, you can always just take some EPO, it does the same thing
Training at altitude is less effective than training at sea level. The performance "benefit" from returning from altitude exists mainly in non-trained individuals.
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Old 02-15-08, 06:25 PM   #7
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All I can say is this: I returned from MT last fall having done little cycling other than my Logan Pass ride and too much hiking in two weeks. The next day I ride home from work and ride up my 10% hill like a scalded cat in the big ring without even noticing.

Next week, it's back to my normal 12mph slog. Correlation isn't cause/effect determining but...

I did notice at altitude my HR was up substantially. On a steady climb I was clocking mid-170's and it felt like mid 140's to me in terms of effort. I kept that up for well over an hour without pause. Perhaps that's what created the effect. Damn, that means harder intervals in my future.
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Old 02-15-08, 09:04 PM   #8
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You need to train at sea level where there is enough O2 floating around so that you can do the work you need and then recover (sleep) at altitude. While recovering at altitude your body will compensate and produce extra red blood cells.

Red blood cells are high turnover cells so the new, extra cells, will be used up pretty quickly and not replaced once you return to normal altitudes (for you). 2 weeks is also a pretty short period of time but you may see some effect.

You need to make sure that you have the compounds in your body to make the cells if the first place. Supplement with the following before, during, and after your trip:

B5, B6, B12. Zinc, FOLIC ACID, Calcium, Vitamins E and C and iron. Be careful with the iron. It is difficult to process. If you can take it in liquid form it is easier to absorb than pills. Too much iron in the gut can cause serious infection. I used to get 40-80mg elemental in an IV every 6 weeks or so during the peak of racing season. This kept my serum stores high and I didn't have to deal with processing the iron.

You might want to get a blood test pre and post trip. When you look at the iron don't look at the circulating iron. You can almost anemic and you won't see a drop in this number. Look at STORED iron. Also look at your reticulicite count. If you don't have cells ready to go then you will get zero effect. Lastly look at you TIBC (Total Iron Binding Compounds - these are the compounds I mentioned - they bind the heme to the cells). There should be enough to do the job. If this number is too high or too low something is wrong and again, you will get zero effect.

Enjoy your trip. Maybe you could post some pre and post number for the curious snowbound to ponder.
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