L. Donlea, T. Favero, K. Flann

University of Portland, Portland, OR

High-altitude regions have long been used as training venues for distance runners to boost oxygen carrying capacity and aerobic fitness. Numerous altitude training methods exist, including live high train high (LHTH) and live high train low (LHTL). Hypoxic rooms now provide the option for live low train high protocols (LLTH). PURPOSE: Evaluate the potential for LLTH on increased aerobic performance in distance running. METHODS: Participants were experienced runners (run 20-50 miles per week). Three experimental groups of one (n=6, 6.42 miles/week average in altitude room), two (n=8, 13.13 mi/wk), or three (n=8, 17.72 mi/wk) one hour altitude training sessions (prescribed as 70-80% max heart rate (HR), or a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 13-16 on the Borg Scale) per week for six weeks were created. Experimental groups were instructed to maintain a consistent training volume during the six weeks as before the study, including the new altitude sessions. A control group (n=3) maintained normal training. Participants underwent pre and post HR and VO2 testing on a metabolic cart, with participants undergoing identical testing protocols for both sessions. Weekly logs for training totals and subjective measures, such as RPE and fatigue were collected. RESULTS: No significant change in VO2 max (ml · kg−1 · min−1) was found due to simulated altitude training (p=0.461) and no significant difference in VO2 max was found among groups (C=1.43±8.92, G1=0.40±16.39, G2=1.6±5.81, G3= -0.57±9.96, p=0.757). Despite no significant change in HR measurements at specific speeds between groups (C=-4.33±15.53 D, G1= -5.00±7.28 bpm D, G2= -3.50±12.78 bpm, G3= -2.12+11.14 bpm D, p=0.716), there was a significant correlation between those who reported a higher average RPE per altitude training session and a decrease in active HR measurements at set running speeds (p=0.029). CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate simulated altitude training did not have an impact on running performance under the six-week training protocol of one hour-controlled sessions, one to three times per week. There was significant correlation between greater RPE and decrease in HR measurements between pre and post testing; a key finding showing RPE is critical in aerobic fitness gains regardless of environment.

Altitude room access: Evolution Healthcare

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