Many of you have already experienced training and racing at moderate to high altitudes (less than 5000m). Why might you do this? To achieve potential performance benefits… I’ll start with a reminder about how “training high and racing low” works.
The higher in elevation you go, the lower level of oxygen is in the air that you breathe. When you spend time at moderately high altitudes, physiological acclimatization to the area occurs with an increase in red blood cell production, blood flow, and oxygen binding capacity*. With more blood and oxygen delivered to your muscles and throughout the body, there’s a greater circulation of nutrients and oxygen, which may result in better performance.
This adaptation can be hard on the body when rushed and/or done improperly. Some adverse effects can include a weakened immune system, reduced training intensity, dehydration, loss of appetite, and reduced muscle adaptation. Don’t let this happen to you! This is completely avoidable with a few key nutritional strategies…. This month, I will focus on hydration at altitude since it’s easy to forget about when in a new environment.
How can my hydration assist with the body’s adaptation to promote the best results? I’m so glad you asked….
At higher altitudes, your respiration and ventilation increase, which leads to a greater loss of water from your body into the air. This happens both rest and during submaximal exercise. It is not uncommon to see a loss of ~200 – 1500mL/day of water! That’s about 1 – 6 fluid cups, or up to 1.5 large Nalgene bottles! Therefore, it’s essential to hydrate properly before, during, and after your training/racing- especially [...]