Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2018) 17, 607 - 616

Research article
Training Quantification and Periodization during Live High Train High at 2100 M in Elite Runners: An Observational Cohort Case Study
Avish P. Sharma1,2, , Philo U. Saunders1,2, Laura A. Garvican – Lewis1,3, Julien D. Périard2, Brad Clark2, Christopher J. Gore1,2, Benjamin P. Raysmith4, Jamie Stanley5, Eileen Y. Robertson5, Kevin G. Thompson2,6
Author Information
1 Discipline of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Bruce, ACT, Australia
2 University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia
3 Mary Mackillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
4 Discipline of Physical Therapies, Australian Institute of Sport, Bruce, ACT, Australia
5 Physiology Department, South Australian Sports Institute, Adelaide, SA, Australia
6 New South Wales Institute of Sport, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW, Australia

Avish P. Sharma
✉ Discipline of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Leverrier Crescent, Bruce, ACT, 2617 Australia
Publish Date
Received: 05-07-2018
Accepted: 25-09-2018
Published (online): 20-11-2018
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The questionable efficacy of Live High Train High altitude training (LHTH) is compounded by minimal training quantification in many studies. We sought to quantify the training load (TL) periodization in a cohort of elite runners completing LHTH immediately prior to competition. Eight elite runners (6 males, 2 females) with a V̇O2peak of 70 ± 4 mL·kg-1·min-1 were monitored during 4 weeks of sea-level training, then 3-4 weeks LHTH in preparation for sea-level races following descent to sea-level. TL was calculated using the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) method, whereby duration of each training session was multiplied by its sRPE, then summated to give weekly TL. Performance was assessed in competition at sea-level before, and within 8 days of completing LHTH, with runners competing in 800 m (n = 1, 1500 m/mile (n = 6) and half-marathon (n = 1). Haemoglobin mass (Hbmass) via CO rebreathing and running economy (RE) were assessed pre and post LHTH. Weekly TL during the first 2 weeks at altitude increased by 75% from preceding sea-level training (p = 0.0004, d = 1.65). During the final week at altitude, TL was reduced by 43% compared to the previous weeks (p = 0.002; d = 1.85). The ratio of weekly TL to weekly training volume increased by 17% at altitude (p = 0.009; d = 0.91) compared to prior sea-level training. Hbmass increased by 5% from pre- to post-LHTH (p = 0.006, d = 0.20). Seven athletes achieved lifetime personal best performances within 8 days post-altitude (overall improvement 1.1 ± 0.7%, p = 0.2, d = 0.05). Specific periodization of training, including large increases in training load upon arrival to altitude (due to increased training volume and greater stress of training in hypoxia) and tapering, were observed during LHTH in elite runners prior to personal best performances. Periodization should be individualized and align with timing of competition post-altitude.

Key words: Altitude training, performance, hypoxia, tapering

           Key Points
  • Athletes experienced in altitude training did not complete 1-2 weeks of low intensity training during the initial acclimatization to altitude, as generally recommended, but instead commenced high intensity training after 2-4 days
  • Whilst training load was acutely increased at altitude through a combination of increased volume and training under hypoxia, athletes did not exceed training volumes to which they were previously accustomed
  • Prior to competition, athletes completed a taper in the final week of LHTH, which was individualized based on the volume of prior training, preferred event, and timing post altitude
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