Run faster and preserve energy? What’s not to like?!
The marathon season is currently in it’s peak, and a lot of our clients have smashed their previous PB’s! But we also have a number of clients who specialise in the shorter distances, such as 5 and 10 km, and track-based 400, 800 and 1500 m.
To help them perform optimally on race day, they complete HypoxicHIIT and Run Club classes, and POD sessions throughout their training blocks. This permits a combination of short, sharp efforts, longer tempo and threshold efforts, and also exposure to high altitude whilst recovering. Whether they are racing at altitude or sea level, this kind of training has shown to set new PB’s on a regular basis!
How? I hear you ask. Training at altitude makes your sessions harder, as in, your heart rate will be higher than it would be for the same pace at sea level – but you also burn a lot more calories at a quicker rate than you would at sea level. Also, your blood oxygenation levels decrease whilst training at altitude, which leads to you becoming more efficient at using oxygen altogether.
A group of researchers from Japan concluded exactly this in a recent research study. They provided a group of competitive track runners a 6 day training block, comprised of 4 sprint sessions and 5 endurance sessions. One half of the group completed these sessions in a hypoxic environment (14.4% oxygen) and slept in a hypoxic tent (16.5% oxygen), whilst the other half completed the sessions and slept in sea level conditions (20.9% oxygen). After the training, those in the hypoxic group had a significantly improved maximal power during a sprint test, and significantly lower lactate production during submaximal running. Those in the sea level group had no such improvements.
Therefore, a 6 day training block in a hypoxic environment will make you a stronger (more power) and more economical (lower energy requirement) runner compared to the same training at sea level!
Oriisih et al. (2018). J Strength Cond Res, 32(1), 181-188.