Are there any benefits in being in altitude 1 week before an event

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  • #22071

    Hi Everyone

    I have been training with Uphill Athlete for the last 14 weeks, I purchased a custom program as I have two specific goals in the next 5 weeks. I will be running the Mont Blanc Marathon, 23km event on June 29th with a total elevation of 1000m, then peak bagging the following 3 weeks a minimum 12 x 4000m peaks is the plan.

    I will be traveling from Perth, Australia to Chamonix a week before my running event.

    My questions/options:

    1. Would there be any benefit in going up to 2,310m, the Plan de l’Aiguille daily for a few days, I work remotely so I can sit at a table work and spend my days there?

    2. Or would running/walking on the trails around up to 1,900m be better, if so how often?

    3. If the option is available staying up in a hut in altitude of 3,500m, if only for a few days would there be any gains from doing this? Getting there is just the issue.

    If anyone is familiar with the region and has any other suggestions that would be amazing.

    Thanks in advance 🙂


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #22073


    One week at altitude won’t do much but it’ll be better than showing 3-4 days before the race. Usually day 4 is the worst performance at long travel AND altitude increase. You’ll want to be training very lightly in those days as you rest up for the race. Hiking on the Plan (2200-2300m) is quite gentle and will be helpful especially spending a few hours there each day. Sleeping at over 2000m might prove to be a problem when coming from sea level as your sleep will be disturbed. Poor sleep in the final week has a negative affect on your race.

    Good luck,

    mikaim01 on #22081

    Hi Scott

    Thanks so much for your response!

    Can you please clarify what you mean by ‘One week at altitude won’t do much but it’ll be better than showing 3-4 days before the race. Usually day 4 is the worst performance at long travel AND altitude increase.’

    Do you mean showing up 3-4 days before the race?

    And is day 4 worst in performance, day 4 of that week after travel?

    Many thanks!

    Anonymous on #22087


    The many adaptations to altitude occur at differing rates. Some (which are not well understood at this point) are short time frame, like hours to days. This means that you will typically feel better on each subsequent day after arrival at altitude. However, other adaptations like an increase in red blood cells do not begin until about 2 weeks at altitude and will take several weeks to maximize.

    The main thing you will notice when running at a higher elevation that you are used to is increased ventilation and perceived exertion. This usually results in comments something like: “I was so fit last week at sea level. What happened to my fitness?” It is not fitness that has been lost it is an acclimatization issue. But the effect can be had mentally.

    I have traveled to Europe from the US many times when I was coaching Cross Country skiers on the World Cup. We usually saw the jet lag have it’s biggest effect on day 3 to 4 after arrival. So, we planned those as rest days or site seeing or only light activities. When you combine traveling many time zones and going up in altitude the problem compounds. In your case, since you may not be living/sleeping at high altitude the compounding problem may not be as severe. I would still plan light days around day 3 and 4.

    I hope this helps,

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