February 25, 2013
Now that you know the basic fine points and pitfalls of spending a month in Kenya, lets look at how to develop an actual LHTH altitude-training program.
As we suggested earlier a quality LHTH program should be developed around maximizing biological benefit acquisition, while minimizing performance-inhibiting factors such as detraining.
Let’s start by looking at some world class altitude training programs used by professional endurance athletes around the world.
2. 2-4 week training phase
3. 1 week recovery and preparation phase
4. Athlete returns to sea level for competition
**Note: A detailed description of Dr. Joe Vigil’s altitude training program and other acclaimed programs are available in the book Altitude Training and Athletic Performance by Randall Wilber. In this program training volume and intensity are increased according to mathematical tables that account for both altitude related aerobic decrements and wind resistance reductions.
Lets look at the principles of this program and their underlying scientific rationale:
1) The Acclimatization Phase:
2) The Volume Before Intensity (VBI) Approach:
Problems with the VBI Approach: Why Many Elite Coaches Are Wrong
1) High training volume is a larger risk for over training than high intensity!
2) Reducing training intensity without ever fully restoring it to sea-level values will lead to detraining effects 100% of the time!
The VBI approach was developed to prevent overtraining at altitude and results in sea-level training intensity to never be restored. This method not only increases the risk of overtraining, but also makes detraining a certainty.
The New LHTH Paradigm: Intensity Before Volume (IBV) and Harnessing the Altitude:
So how can you avoid detraining without running the risk of overtraining in the high altitude environment?
Believe it or not, maintaining high training intensity and gradually increasing training volume is the solution. It is completely possible to achieve sea-level training intensity at high altitude. It simply involves reducing training volume. For example, a 1000 m runner cannot maintain his 1000 m pace while at altitude, but he can maintain it for 800 m.
As the runner harnesses the aerobic benefits of acclimatization as well as the anaerobic benefits of maintaining training intensity he can then expand training volume. However, full volume will not be restored to sea-level values to prevent overtraining.
The efficacy of the IBV principled is highly supported by its use in the training regiments of Kenyan runners. When interviewed about the success of Kenyan runners, Kenyan coach Mike Kosgei claimed that “intense training at high altitude” was the number on reason for their historical domination of endurance events.
Here is a basic outline of how to implement IBV into a program:
1) Week 1:
2) Week 2:
3) Week 3:
4) Week 4:
After you have completed this training program you will seriously be the best competitive shape in your life. Your red blood cell count will be 3-9% higher, your muscles will be more effective in buffering the lactic acid and h+ ions, and you will not have experienced any muscle loss of neuro-muscular detraining.
We have trained many elite athletes with this program that have gone on to shatter the personal best race times. Feel free to ask questions about how to tailor this program to your individual training regiment or sport.