Recently, in various sports, especially cyclic ones, various new methods of training and stimulation are increasingly being used for more productive work of the body. One such technique is hypoxic training. It limits the supply of oxygen to the body and can significantly increase the endurance of the athlete. Next, let’s talk in more detail about the history of this type of training, its effect on the body, as well as the features of mountain training for runners.
Training in the middle and high mountains. When and who first began to train like this
To begin with, we will define the concepts of “middle mountains” and “high mountains”.
The middle mountains are considered to be the height of 800-2500 m above sea level, and the high mountains are considered to be everything that is higher than the specified height.
In the first case, changes occur at low loads. And in the second, even at rest, a person begins to feel a lack of oxygen.
Training in the middle and high mountains is widely used in almost all sports. To date, training bases at an altitude of approximately 1200-1500 m above sea level are available in many countries of the world.
For several decades, a large amount of material has been accumulated, which proves the effectiveness of this method. It can be used by both beginners and experienced athletes.
In mountainous conditions, the effect can be urgent and delayed. The first type is typical for sports disciplines that depend on aerodynamic resistance: short and medium-distance running, jumping, throwing, speed skating, and sports. Another effect is typical for sports, where endurance plays a big role. For example, in long-distance running.
It is believed that for the first time running in the mountains as a sports activity originated in Scotland in the 11th century. Then the shepherds arranged competitions among themselves, and the best received a monetary reward and could get into the service of the king.
In the last century, training in difficult climatic mountain conditions was first noticed in 1968, when Mexico City was chosen as the venue for the next Olympic Games. This country is located at an altitude of more than 2000 m above sea level. Then experts from all over the world began to study acclimatization and conduct training in the middle and high mountains. It has been observed that athletes living in such areas show higher results than others.
Prior to this Olympiad, it was noticed that African athletes living in the middle and high mountains were also able to show themselves as excellent runners over long distances. When in 1960 A. Bikila outran many well-known athletes of that time, it came as a complete surprise to the whole world. Many attributed it to luck and mere chance. However, the runner won the 1964 marathon again.
After 4 years in Mexico City at the Olympic Games, participants from countries with mountainous terrain showed themselves advantageously compared to everyone else. Among the winners in the long-distance running were K. Keino, B. Jipcho, N. Dube, N. Temu, and some others.
One of the first researchers was B. Balk. He proved that 10 days of training in the middle mountains allowed him to increase lactate levels from 3.5 to 3.75 mmol / l. At the same time, runners on average increased the result in running by 1 mile from 5 minutes 29 seconds to 5 minutes 13 seconds.
Currently, researchers have been able to fully prove the high effectiveness of hypoxic training, artificial or natural.
The physiological effect of oxygen deficiency on the body of a runner
In conditions of low oxygen content in the body of runners or any other athletes, the following changes occur:
- the number of capillaries per 1 cm2 increases in the organs of blood supply, lungs, and liver;
- increases the size of the lungs, the working oxygen capacity of the blood;
- the activity of enzymes necessary for the production of hormones increases;
- the number of mitochondria increases;
- improves the ability of tissues to receive oxygen from the blood with its small amount.
In general, athletes have:
- improving the endurance of the whole organism;
- increase in speed indicators;
- reducing the likelihood of injury;
- strengthening of the ankle joints.
Well-known trainers were engaged in these types of research: A. Lydiard from New Zealand and D. Daniels from America. More detailed material can be found in their books Running for Life and From 800m to Marathon.
The optimal number of training days in the mountains for a long-distance runner
To create an optimal training program, it is necessary to focus on the level of lactate in the blood. For long-distance runners, this figure should fluctuate around 3-4 mmol / l.
At the moment, depending on the goal of the runner, there is the following accepted periodicity:
- When preparing for flat competitions, the number of training camps in the middle mountains should be 2-3 times a year, while one cycle includes an average of 21-42 days of stay above sea level.
- If the competitions are held in the middle or high mountains, then 3-4 training cycles will be needed. Where one includes from 4 weeks to 100 days.
- To diversify training and increase the endurance of the body, it is enough to make 1-2 sorties uphill. At the same time, two to four weeks of regular training will be quite enough.
The optimal time between the runner’s descent to the plain from the mountains and performance in competitions
After descending to the flat terrain, over time, all the properties acquired in the mountains begin to decrease. In addition, for the first time, the body will be rebuilt to new conditions (acclimatization). For the first 3-4 days the effectiveness will be at its peak, but then within 5-8 days, there may be a decrease in functionality (of course, everything is individual and shifts of 1-2 days are possible). At this time, it is better not to take part in competitions and not to overload the body with training.
After that, a delayed effect will be observed, which lasts 8-12 days. For middle and long-distance runners, camps usually last about a month, plus or minus three days. In this case, the minimum time before the start of the competition must be 22 days. And if you take the number of days until the last day of the marathon, then 30 days. Usually, the 20th day after returning to the plain is considered the most favorable day for competitions. Also, the duration of the effect depends on the frequency of use of hypoxic training.
For middle and long-distance runners who want to compete in the mountains, the training camp usually lasts about a month plus or minus three days. In this case, the minimum time before the start of the competition must be 22 days. And if you take the number of days until the last day of the marathon, then 30 days.
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The speed of overcoming the training segments in the mountains. How will the usual interval training for a long-distance runner change in mid-latitude conditions?
The speed of overcoming the training segments is built depending on the weeks spent in the mountains.
With a long stay in mid-mountain conditions, a gradual increase in the intensity of training is practiced.
If the experience of being in the mountains is small and the runner needs to prepare for a competition on the plains, then the following training model applies:
1 Week. The intensity is reduced by 15% in contrast to normal training on the plain.
2 Weeks. The intensity of training increases by 5% from the previous level. However, it is necessary to increase the time of jogging in the morning. Increase running speed.
3 Weeks. The intensity should be the same as in the usual area. However, the speed should be less than normal. It is also necessary not to forget about the increased periods of rest.
4 Weeks. This week, do the same as in week 3.
Summing up, we can say with confidence about the effectiveness of artificial hypoxic training, and natural, carried out in the middle and high mountains. The main thing at the beginning of using this method is to familiarize yourself with contraindications. And if they are absent at the beginning of the workout, give the body time to adapt to the changed conditions, then the result will not belong in coming.