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Poster: Avocado's Number
Subject: RE: Oops, Altitude training may not help you atfer all-Pain but no gain.
Here is a fuller quotation from the article:
"Altitude training typically means living and sleeping at a high altitude, usually at about 2400 meters (8,000 feet) but coming down to sea level to train. Some athletes actually train at a high altitude, but most donít since working out with less oxygen doesnít allow them to get an intense work-out and may hurt their fitness. The idea is for athletes to get used to breathing in less oxygen while they eat and sleep, but to train normally at sea level."
Most of that excerpt is either false or misleading. By far the most common form of altitude training involves living, sleeping, and training at mid- to high-altitude (about 5,000 to 8,000 or more feet). Such so-called "live high, train high" (LHTH) programs have been a part of distance running for a long time, and many (probably most) international-caliber distance runners these days have spent a good part of their careers on LHTH programs.
In contrast, "live high, train low" (LHTL) programs became popular in certain circles relatively recently, generally in the mid-1990s. Those programs have not, however, generally involved living and sleeping at 8,000 feet while training at sea level, as the article suggests. There aren't that many places where such a program would be logistically feasible. More often, LHTL programs involve living, sleeping, and doing a substantial amount of training at a pretty high altitude, but coming down a few thousand feet for more intense sessions.
The article says that most athletes who live and sleep at high altitude don't also train at high altitude, but that's silly. For example, you won't see a lot of Kenyan runners commuting between Iten and Mombasa every day.
Regarding my reference to EPO, the basic purpose of artificially creating hypoxic conditions (through mechanisms like so-called "altitude" tents, chambers, rooms, and other facilities) is to decrease oxygenation of the kidneys by lowering arterial partial pressure of oxygen and thereby stimulate production of EPO, which in turn stimulates the production of additional red blood cells. It is notable that, although declining to ban the practice, WADA flatly acknowledged that it was performance-enhancing.
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