Running at Altitude

Having only completed 3 sessions at the Altitude Centre, I am by no means an expert on this topic! However, I have been asked to write a post about this, so I am simply sharing my experience thus far.

There is a vast array of benefits associated with exercising at altitude, including improved strength and endurance, decreased resting heart rate and blood pressure, increased VO2 max etc. Apparently, altitude training can also help with ‘beauty enhancement’; I have no idea what this means and obviously it’s complete rubbish, but I did find it quite amusing.

My initial feedback is as follows:

  • Be mindful of altitude training if you are anaemic (I have suffered with anaemia on and off for a number of years.) I woke up this morning feeling a bit odd/shaky which could be down to several factors…but I have felt particularly ‘anaemic-y’ since I started altitude training
  • It takes my body significantly longer to recover from an altitude training interval session vs. a standard interval training session. This sounds obvious, but it is something that I most definitely underestimated
  • I struggle to eat post-class, which makes sense given that hypoxic environments reduce levels of ghrelin (the hunger-inducing hormone.) Nonetheless, this came as quite a surprise to me as I spend 86% of my waking hours thinking about food
  • I am faster and stronger than I anticipated, and I apologise if this comes across as arrogant. Up until recently I have refused to partake in any form of heart rate-based training, partly because I am stubborn, but predominantly because I believe that the in-depth analytics of every run/workout can sometimes be unhealthy and obsessive. However, the fact that I am now equipped with the knowledge that I can run quite a bit faster than my perception told me has been a wonderful confidence booster!

I cannot comment on the potential long-term benefits that I listed at the beginning of this blog (improved strength and endurance etc.) at this early stage. However, I am planning on incorporating some altitude training into my weekly schedule post-Malawi, so I shall be able to provide more in depth feedback at a later date!

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