Stories of an ultra runner and adventurer: an obsessive approach to the outdoors by Candice Burt

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sleeping high, training low with Hypoxico

Hypoxico altitude tent fits right over my bed
I'm super excited to be adding some altitude acclimatization from Hypoxico to my training in the form of an altitude tent for sleeping and exercise mask for biking workouts.  With lots of fun and competitive events planned high in the mountains this summer, this acclimatization will help me adjust ahead of time to the higher altitudes that I normally cannot train effectively at due to my work/home being located at sea level Western Washington State. This summer, I will be training and playing in the mountains of Colorado for about a month, including competing in the San Juan Solstice 50 miler at the end of June, if I get in off the wait list.  July will be spent mostly in Silverton, Colorado to crew and pace James Varner at the Hardrock 100 miler and later in the moth to train and run the entire Tahoe Rim Trail (165 miles) and hopefully set a new FKT (Fastest Known Time).  All these locations will be from 7,000 feet to 14,000 feet.

In addition to the benefit of being more adapted to the high altitudes I will be racing at this summer, I am looking forward to the physiological benefits of sleeping high (around 9,000-10,000 feet in the altitude tent). My usual sleeping environment is just above sea level, so this is a big change!  From Hypoxico's website, they explain that altitude acclimatization, has been shown to:
  • Maximize speed and endurance
  • Elevate strength and power
  • Enhance energy levels and overall wellness
These benefits come as a result of physiological changes that the reduced oxygen environment of the tent (or being at high altitudes) stimulate in your body (from the Hypoxico website):
  • Amplified pulmonary oxygen absorption
  • Boosted production of Erythropoietin Hormone (EPO) by the kidneys, stimulating generation of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) and enhanced oxygen transportation through the body.
  • Increased capillarization for greater oxygen delivery to the tissues, muscles and brain.
  • Enhanced production and rejuvenation of mitochondria (the cell’s hub for aerobic energy production) and mitochondrial enzymes, allowing more efficient use of oxygen for energy production and superior enzymatic anti-oxidative defense. 
It will be interesting to see how the tent helps me improve physiologically in addition to being able to enjoy the mountains that much more this summer!
Training in Dunedin, New Zealand this past March. Droz Photo

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