Training once per week at 2500m won’t give you any benefits. If you are looking for preacclimatization sleeping in a tent is worth considering. But you will have to spend a lot of hours (200-250) to get a good effect.
Dear Uphill Athlete community and experts,
I am a big fan of TFTNA and I am currently training for Pik Lenin based on TFTNA principles and structures. There is a place close to me offering altitude training (room at “2500m/ 8200ft” with treadmill). TFTNA covers altitude acclimatization right before the actual climb but I did not find any reference to incorporating training sessions at (fake) altitude during base period. Is there anybody in the UA community who has experience or (evidence based) knowledge about this? Is it worth foregoing faster pace on the treadmill since due to the “altitude” I am reaching my upper zone 2 HR at a slower pace?
Posted In: General Training Discussion
Thanks for writing in with your question. I am in the process of updating the articles on our website about the use of hypoxic tents. Here is a short summary of my findings concerning the use of intermittent hypoxic exposure like you are proposing. I think it can benefit you.
Intermittent Hypoxic Training Observations
• There is minimal to no pre-acclimatization benefits from spending a hour three times a week on a treadmill at simulated altitude. The time exposure is too short to trigger acclimatization adaptations.
• There does seem to be some sort of benefit however. I hypothesize that the benefits come from increasing the aerobic capacity and economy of the ventilatory muscles. This group of muscles can require about 20% of the cardiac output when working hard. The conventional way to work those breathing muscles hard is to do high intensity work. Breathing hypoxic air while exercising at a moderate hiking speed on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike will produce a very high ventilatory rate and depth as if one was doing a HIIT session. However, the legs will not be working hard at all. Hence, there is much less global fatigue generated but those all-important ventilatory muscles will be get a strong training stimulus for aerobic adaptation.
• Even low rates of work at high altitudes will have a climber breathing like she is doing an interval work out of 400m repeats on a track. With the above mentioned hypoxic treadmill hiking session the climber is simulating the demands of breathing at high altitude but without the high intensity that would be required to get the same high ventilation rate.
• I have only used this with one very fit professional climber but with excellent feedback. In his case this is done for about 1 hour 2-3 times/week.
• That professional climber never pre-acclimates in a Hypoxico tent but feels that the intermittent hypoxic training has benefited him when he goes to altitude and starts a natural acclimatization program.
I hope this helps.