When athletes are up altitude internship expectations are usually high. Rightly so, because scientific research has shown on several occasions that a height internship of 3-4 weeks, carried out according to the 'living high-training low' method, can improve endurance performance by as much as 5 to 10%. This performance gain is largely due to an increase in the number of red blood cells due to an increase in the body's own epo, which ultimately results in a higher VO2max.
Responder or non-responder
However, not all athletes who return from an altitude training experience a positive effect on their performance. These athletes are classically referred to as' non-responders', and this in contrast to athletes whose performance does improve after an altitude training: the 'responders". However, this subdivision is gradually being surpassed. It appears that if both the hemoglobin mass and the performance of an athlete go up after an altitude training period (responder), this is not always the case after a subsequent altitude internship (non-responder?) and again after another altitude internship. is!
The possible causes of a minor to no effect in a classical altitude training period are described by the Australian Institute of Sport, six important points in the 'Altitude adaptation' appointed. We will go through these 6 causes below so that athletes and their guidance can take this into account and in this way obtain maximum returns from their altitude training.
1. Iron deficiency
Iron is one of the most important building blocks in the production of red blood cells. Make sure that your iron reserves are up to date 2 to 3 weeks before your internship. This can be achieved through adjusted nutrition and possibly through dietary supplements in the run-up to and during the height training period. Vitamin C in the diet or supplements can still optimize the absorption of iron in the body.
For example, with an intestinal infection or a cold, your immune system will be activated. This ensures a reduced sensitivity of your bone marrow to epo. Any small infection or bacterium can therefore ensure that fewer red blood cells are produced during your altitude internship.
Inflammation in the event of an injury also triggers an activation of your immune system and, consequently, fewer red blood cells.
4. Training load
Training too hard is tempting when you are on a height training period in a nice environment. This only causes fatigue. A tired body will again produce fewer red blood cells than normal. Therefore, do not train too hard during height during the first 10 days (acclimatization period).
5. Energy intake
Your need for nutrients for your muscles and red blood cells is higher than at sea level. So make sure you eat extra proteins and carbohydrates during an altitude training.
6. The mental aspect
A stressed or overtrained athlete will produce considerably less epo during high altitude training and his bone marrow will not respond to the low epo that exists. Especially mental stress due to disappointing results or private problems can cause this effect. So first of all, make sure that you can start your altitude internship without worry and with a well-rested body.