cronin_burger
Altitude Benifits. How Long? 2/17/2010 5:31PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
How many days at sea level will I benefit from training above 6000 ft? How short of a distance will I see the effects (short as 2 miles possibly)?
Big G
RE: Altitude Benifits. How Long? 2/17/2010 5:47PM - in reply to cronin_burger Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I visiting a school in CO. does one week at elevation have any kind of effect?
Altitude Vet
RE: Altitude Benifits. How Long? 2/17/2010 6:21PM - in reply to cronin_burger Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
There is a lot to the answers here. Red Blood Cells may last up to 2 months, but they will be declining during that time. That assumes you were at altitude long enough to increase your RBC Count. You would need at least 10 days to have an increase. Longer will make them last longer too.

The real benefit of altitude training is the increased capillaries and pain tolerance. Training at altitude will stimulate capillary growth and you will get used to running in O2 debt almost constantly. At sea level you will feel like superman and that compounds itself into running even better than you should. The new capillary growth will last as long as you continue to train hard and use them so this benefit can last for years.

The downside of altitude training is that you will not be able to run as fast as you can at sea level in training. This usually results in a loss of pure speed. Likely your shorter distance events will suffer from this. However, if you can come down from altitude and do 4 weeks of serious speed work, the short distances will also improve because of both greater strength and then a speed tune up. Regular strides during altitude training can help counteract this effect.
Avocados Number
RE: Altitude Benifits. How Long? 2/17/2010 6:49PM - in reply to Altitude Vet Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Altitude Vet wrote:

There is a lot to the answers here. Red Blood Cells may last up to 2 months, but they will be declining during that time. That assumes you were at altitude long enough to increase your RBC Count. You would need at least 10 days to have an increase. Longer will make them last longer too.

The real benefit of altitude training is the increased capillaries and pain tolerance. Training at altitude will stimulate capillary growth and you will get used to running in O2 debt almost constantly. At sea level you will feel like superman and that compounds itself into running even better than you should. The new capillary growth will last as long as you continue to train hard and use them so this benefit can last for years.

It seems to me that the evidence of increased RBC count at 6,000 feet is pretty slim. RBC concentration (hematocrit) may go up, but that's largely, if not entirely, because of decreased blood plasma volume at higher altitudes. (In my mind, that makes altitude training very different from breathing nitrogen-enriched gas to stimulate EPO production while housed in a so-called "altitude tent," which I regard as a permitted form of blood-doping.)

I don't know if Jack Daniels still stops by here. He has tinkered with altitude training since the '60s, when guys like Jim Ryun were preparing for the Mexico City Olympic Games. His view, as I recall, was that altitude training could have some relatively long-term effects, but I'm not sure if he had any clear idea about why that was.
here to help
RE: Altitude Benifits. How Long? 2/17/2010 8:00PM - in reply to cronin_burger Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'd highly recommend getting the book "Altitude Training and Athletic Performance" by head USOC Physiologist, Dr. Randall Wilber. Everything you need to know is in that book, if you want to get the most out of high altitude. To address your questions, you need to go to at least 6900 ft.. Anything below this altitude provides mixed results (you may or may not benefit). You also need to stay a minimal of 4 weeks at high altitude. According to the research, the benefits last ~3 weeks, but considering the lifespan of RBCs (120 days, but I've heard 90 days for elite distance runners) the benefits could last 3-4 months. Any event that is mostly aerobic, including 2 miles, is going to get a boost. However, you need to make sure you maintain basic leg speed (~strides, hills, short intervals, the longer threshold stuff is much more difficult at high altitude). Start an iron supplement + Vit. C (OJ) a month before you go up. You end up with a greater total blood volume (more RBCs) because of the EPO surge at high altitude.
cronin_burger
RE: Altitude Benifits. How Long? 2/17/2010 8:37PM - in reply to here to help Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Nice. Well I guess I'll have to see what happens. I'll only be there for a week before the ol' race soooo yeah.