C-151 Free Communication/Poster Altitude and Athletic Performance
The model of living high-training low is becoming widely used by athletes from various disciplines. An element of this model has been the identification of so-called ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’ based on degree of adaptation to altitude.
The purpose of this study was to assess the individual variability exhibited by elite runners in response to an average of 40 days of simulated high altitude sleep exposure and low altitude training.
Eight elite level distance runners (age 23 ±6 yrs; VO2max 78.2 ±3.5mL·kg−1.min−1) served as subjects in an ongoing training group study. They spent 8–10 hrs/night in simulated altitudes ranging from 1980 to 3650 m, while training at sea level. Three control subjects lived and trained at sea level throughout the experimental period. Blood volume and hemoglobin mass were determined by the CO method before and again after 41.7 ±5.9 days of sleeping in the simulated high altitude.
Hematological parameters exhibited a range of changes over the 40-day period. The table below details the maximum percentage increases and decreases observed for each parameter.
These results give an indication of the variability in adaptation exhibited within a group of elite runners exposed to 8 to 10 hours a day of simulated altitude for an average of 40 days. It is evident from the range of individual changes observed here that not all athletes respond with the same level of adaptation to this type of simulated altitude exposure. In this case, variation in adaptation was not explained by any differences in altitude level, total duration of exposure, or serum ferritin levels. Further research is necessary to identify the specific individual factors that most strongly mediate the adaptation response.