Jeroen Hendrikx goes on an altitude training trip to Sankt Moritz in Switzerland in June. In preparation for this internship, Jeroen is already going to sleep in a height tent for a few weeks. Jeroen reports on his website:
Let's get high ..
Dis indeed what I intend to do in June of this year! During a high altitude internship in the Swiss walking paradise Sankt Moritz I will try to improve my condition at a higher altitude. First of all, during this three-week internship I will be able to give full attention to what you really need to get better: training, resting and eating! Of course I will not go there alone .. In preparation for the night of athletics and the Belgian Championship in June, there will still be many fellow countrymen around! I travel there with the East Flemish and "megaspike guru" Jonas Roels there on June 12.
However, these plans are only for two months. But because I want the best preparation for this internship, I got an idea. As you may have read here and there, there are many top athletes (eg: Sven Nys) who can also live at higher altitudes in Belgium. The firm Altitudedream.com has made it possible to sleep in a height tent.
What happens to your body at a higher altitude?
The higher you go, the lower the air pressure and that means that less oxygen is available. As a result, the maximum amount of oxygen that an athlete can take in the blood (the maximum oxygen uptake) is falling. This results in a decrease in the maximum endurance and a reduced intensity of the heavy (intensive) endurance training sessions and competitions. Doesn't sound very positive, BUT:
"When living at altitude for several weeks, the human body adapts to the lack of oxygen. The most important adaptation for endurance athletes is the increased production of erythropoietin (EPO) in the kidneys. EPO stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. This increases the haematocrit. The red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the muscles. So more red blood cells means improved oxygen transport and this will (hopefully) manifest itself primarily through performance improvement at sea level."
To achieve optimum performance at heights, it is necessary to stay at heights a few weeks in advance. To make this adjustment period go smoothly, I will probably start from the beginning of May sleep in the height tent. Because I have to spend enough time in the height tent, I will certainly have enough time to let you know something from time to time.