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A single high-altitude training bout improves high-altitude aerobic performance following one week of low altitude training




Andersen, Brady Dean, author
Chicco, Adam J., advisor
Hickey, Matthew Sean, committee member
Gotshall, Robert William, 1945-, committee member
Turk, Daniel E. (Daniel Ernest), 1961-, committee member

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Consecutive bouts of aerobic exercise at high-altitude are known to improve subsequent aerobic exercise performance at high altitude due to a variety of acute and chronic adaptations referred to as altitude acclimatization. However, it is unclear whether these benefits can be elicited by a single bout of high-altitude exercise followed by several days of training at lower altitude. PURPOSE: We investigated whether a single bout of hill running exercise performed at high-altitude improves running performance, arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2), hematocrit (HCT) and perceived exertion (RPE) during a strenuous timed run at high-altitude performed 1 week following the training stimulus. METHODS: Participants were well-trained competitive runners (VO2 max 52 ± 5 ml/kg/min, aged 42 ± 14 yrs, n = 8) living in Fort Collins, CO (5,003 ft) that were naïve to higher altitudes for at least 8 weeks. All were training regularly (66 ± 3 miles/wk) and refrained from any non-prescribed altitude exposure for the duration of the study. Baseline testing consisted of a timed run on the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway in Colorado (11.5 miles at 11,500-14,100 ft) followed by one week of training in Fort Collins. Runners were then randomized to perform a 12 mile hill running workout in Fort Collins (LOW; 5,550-7,170 ft, n = 4) or Mt. Evans (HIGH; 12,750-14,100 ft, n = 4). All runners then engaged in 1 week of routine training in Fort Collins followed by a post-test run at Mt. Evans that was identical to the baseline test. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in run-time from pre to post-test for either group. Pre-run (11,500 ft) percent change in SaO2 was significantly different between groups (+3.70 ± 2.95% in High; -3.95 ± 1.62% in Low, P = 0.029). The high group experienced a 4.01 ± 2.72% mean increase in exercising SaO2 from pre to post-test, while the Low group decreased 1.21 ± 1.41% from pre to post-test (P = 0.029). In addition, the High group experience a 8.45 ± 8.13% increase in recovery SaO2 from pre to post-test at an elevation of 14,100 feet, while the Low group had a 2.21 ± 2.82% decrease in recovery SaO2 from pre to post-test at an elevation of 14,100 feet (P = 0.057) . HCT increased from pre post-test to post post-test in the Low group only (43.55 ± 1.04% & 45.67 ± 0.79% respectively; P = 0.68). There were no differences in HR or RPE within or between High and Low groups. CONCLUSION: A single high-altitude training bout prior to 1 week of low-altitude training improves subsequent aerobic performance and arterial O2 saturation at high-altitude, while a single bout performed 2 weeks prior to testing is ineffective.


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high altitude


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