Getting faster isn’t simply a matter of getting high and cranking out the miles.
Written by: Kevin Beck
If you’re a distance runner — even one who hasn’t left your seaside home since 1983 — when you hear the term “high altitude,” you don’t even have to think about it: It’s an unqualified good thing if you can get it. It’s EPO lite, the natural way. It’s bottled oxygen without the bottle. It’s minutes off your 10K or marathon time. The Africans are born there, the best Americans congregate in places like Mammoth Lakes and Boulder and Flagstaff, and if you have the time, means and motivation, you’ll become a better, stronger, and faster distance runner after spending some time on high.
But wait. Is it really that simple? If only it were.
This series of articles will explore a number of aspects of high-altitude training, which I will arbitrarily define as any training done at one mile (5,280′) above sea level — the altitude at which I type these lofty words — or higher. I’ll start with the physiological basics, move on to a discussion of what constitutes savvy versus unsophisticated altitude training, explore the issue of individual response to altitude, jump down to a discussion of how to take advantage of altitude gains at sea level, and finish with tips for people visiting high-altitude locations for the first time and on a limited-time basis. By the end of the series, whatever doubts or misconceptions either one of us might have held about altitude training will hopefully have been dissolved.Pages: 1 2 3