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Altitude Training For Runners

Altitude training is a component of virtually all elite training programmes for runners. Over 95% of the medalists at the world championships and the Olympic games have either lived or trained at altitude.

This simulated altitude takes place over the course of weeks or months. Studies say that it takes 21 to 28 days for the body to make adaptations.


The benefits of exposure has little to do with training and more to do with the body's response to lack of oxygen. The first rule of altitude training is no hard workouts or hard efforts in the first three to seven days so take it easy and know that the benefits are happening inside the body.


Hydration is an important factor when it comes to its plasma volume increases but also because the environment is typically dry.



Important points that Runners need to know about Altitude Training.


Altitude training is a complex topic which has gathered attention in the modern running era. Most of the athletes are aware of the basics of Altitude training and that they ought to enhance your performance.


There is a difference of 4.4% between an athlete running at sea level and the same athlete running at altitude. An athlete is 4.4% slower when made to compete on an altitude as low as 700m.


The reason for this reduced performance is that there is a deprivation of Oxygen, which is also known as Hypoxia. We know that when we ascend to altitude, the concentration of oxygen in the air decreases.

When an athlete is exposed to hypoxia by training at altitude there are several physiological changes that occur.

  • A greater concentration of oxidative enzymes in skeletal mitochondria to generate more energy (ATP).

  • Fat utilization is increased which produce less acidosis

  • Stimulation of erythropoietin hormone production, which in turn increases more red blood cell production.

  • Immediately upon arrival at altitude, the kidneys react to send erythropoietin (EPO) to the bone marrow, which produces new red blood cells to carry more oxygen



Optimal period of altitude training for runners


A recommendation is 4 weeks of training at altitude. 4 weeks is sufficient for increasing red blood cell concentration.

The optimal time for return to lower altitudes and racing is about 2 – 3 weeks.

This times helps to return to normal breathing and blood acidity levels

It permits recovery from the fatigue of hard training at altitude.

This time allows sufficient opportunity for middle distance runners to run faster and better their racing skills.

Randy Eichner, M.D., suggests the following tips for handling high altitude:

  • Take it easy on day one.

  • Take a walk or nap. Give your body time to adjust before taking on a full workout.

  • Altitude is very dehydrating. Drink lots of water and juices, beginning during travel to high altitude.

  • Avoid alcohol. It's a diuretic and depresses the normal breathing response to altitude.

  • Limit caffeine. It's also a diuretic.

  • Eat pasta. The carbs are good for athletes in general and at altitude there's another benefit-the extra CO2 they produce spurs the breathing response.

  • Avoid sleeping pills but do get a good night’s sleep.



Contact us to know more on how our altitude training equipment can help you achieve your peak performance.

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