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Thread: Prep for high altitude

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Default Prep for high altitude

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    OK fellow geezers:

    I'm more or less happy with where my lifts stand for the moment, but I have a high altitude fishing trip coming up in about eight weeks. The altitude is around 6,500 feet and on some days we might hike out five or six miles, mostly over trails, although there's some fairly rough terrain. We try to move pretty quickly (more time spent hiking means less time fishing).
    There's less pressure to move fast on the way back, but of course the beer and whisky are calling, so we end up moving pretty quickly anyway.
    I don't have to carry much beyond my fishing gear and a light pack. Last year, I didn't have any problem making the hikes, but I was definitely slower than I'd like to be. I'd like to be faster and we might try to go farther and higher, depending on weather conditions and where the bigger fish are hanging out.

    How would you train for this? I'd like to improve my ability to hike at high altitude at a pace around 15 minutes per mile. I live at low altitude in a flat country, but do have a treadmill at home. I'm not planning to do this on a permanent basis, I just want to improve as efficiently as possible. After the trip, my focus will be on lifting again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    North Texas
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    39,291

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    You cannot prepare for high altitude at low altitude, or really even at high altitude. We have a place in Colorado at 9300 feet, and no real adaptation in O2sat takes place even after several months of training at altitude. The trick is learning to not mind the fact that you can't breathe. I know several people who train at the gym, including me, that function much better at altitude than people who live at altitude that don't train. Enjoy your fishing trip.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2009
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    Thanks for saving me a lot of pointless time on the treadmill. I guess I'll just get back to my squats.

    BTW, I had originally meant to post in the Elderly forum, hence the reference to geezers...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    137

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    You cannot prepare for high altitude at low altitude, or really even at high altitude. We have a place in Colorado at 9300 feet, and no real adaptation in O2sat takes place even after several months of training at altitude. The trick is learning to not mind the fact that you can't breathe. I know several people who train at the gym, including me, that function much better at altitude than people who live at altitude that don't train. Enjoy your fishing trip.
    Endurance athlete go to altitude to train. It's definately more difficult performing at high altitude, but I don't know if it's any diferrent than just running at the uphill. I mean, yes, during an uphill at the same effort your speed will be slower, but is it a better training stress related to running at the same intesity (effort related to your max), at the stadium, meaning a faster speed? I don't know.

    What's your opinion on going to high altitude for endurance training? Is it just like running an uphill slower, or does it have any extra gains?

    I train swimmers, and I can tell that the following ~2-3 weeks after they come back from altitude training camp, their performance in terms of endurance is better. But it definately may be because they were stressed more than usual, because they were "running only uphills" at the camp.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2007
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    North Texas
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    As I said earlier, your O2sat does not improve with training at altitude. Your ability to train harder under the discomfort will adapt, as will your H&H with time. Beyond that, I don't know.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2011
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    New Mexico
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    Get there a few days early if you can. A week will make a huge difference, 2-3 days will still help. Drink more water and less alcohol than the people around you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by TalEphrat View Post
    Endurance athlete go to altitude to train.
    Professional endurance athletes train at altitude because it is very costly and time consuming for anti-doping authorities to go and see them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    I went from 15 feet to 7200 feet the week before Christmas. This was the first time I had done this after starting training. I was pleased to find that training was no different. Also activities of daily living left me gasping for breath less than before. I think you will find an improvement over your previous years. I know it's hard but don't listen to closely to the calls of the beer and whiskey, hahahaha. All in moderation till you get your altitude legs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    America
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    if you dont mind me asking is it in Western CO? Do you ever hunt/fish up there? We just moved from Grand Junction, CO and miss the Grand Mesa lakes and wildlife. I myself have been looking at a small cabin just to enjoy all the public land over there.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyE View Post
    Professional endurance athletes train at altitude because it is very costly and time consuming for anti-doping authorities to go and see them.
    Maybe it has something to do with it, also.
    But they go there for 3-4 weeks, and I happen to coach two elite endurance swimmers (1500m and 10km) which perform at the top 30 at the world at the moment. They are not doped, and one of them has improved dramatically after a 3-week training camp at altitude. By dramatically, I mean related to his level. At his level you don't drop full 5 seconds out of your 400m individual medley in 3 weeks and usually not even in 3 months, even considering this is not his main swimming race and he has never trained specifically for that.

    So,
    It's possible that he was better because he was just training harder and even when he slept he was stressed more than usual, so it was 24 hours of some sort of stress he is not adapted to, for 3 weeks. And that specific stress is the base of endurance - oxygen supply.

    No blood test has been done, but the conventional wisdom state that altitude make your body produce more red blood cells. If this is the case, endurance should definately improve, as Lance Armstrong has shown.
    Don't you think this is the case?

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