Why did you choose to do altitude training?
I had read and heard from other people the good results that they had been experiencing from the altitude training. I felt it could bring another dimension to my training programme.
Therefore, I wanted to see what it could bring to my results. I also used it after I had a MTB bike accident as a way to maintain fitness during the recovery period.
What do you like about it?
It can be used as a short 1 hour session that is active on Watt bikes. The training effort at altitude is harder giving a high cardiovascular workout with effectively lower muscle load intensity. Great to compliment the other hard interval sessions!
What method (passive or active) did you choose to use and why?
Both. Active - I stay busy with work travel so fitting in the training can be hard. With doing altitude sessions using the Watt bike I was able to get the cardiovascular benefits as well as a bike workout done at same time.
Passive – for some weeks after an injury I did passive which I was surprised at how well it maintained my cardiovascular fitness, once I resumed training I hadn’t lost the “fit feeling” during the injury down time.
How has it impacted your training, racing or health?
Altitude sessions have been great to use in recovery from an injury when you can’t train at normal loads/weight. With an injury I was able to do active bike sessions at lower loads, but still found that with the altitude I got the same benefits as if I have done a hard interval session. Both in training and racing it has given me an increase in power at a lower effort.
With 2-3 months of altitude sessions built into my programme, I was able to come back from an injury and get to a 12% average power increase on the bike over a sustained 2 hour big gear hill rep power session. I had higher power output on the same hill course and measured set of reps compared to before injury and even the previous summer season. The breathing and effort just felt easier, with spilt times way better than previous sessions!
Was there anything that surprised you that maybe you were not expecting to come from the sessions you did?
I found that it helped develop by overall breathing rhythm and ability to keep controlled breathing in races that were short, fast or dynamic like MTB in Xterra.
-Vaughn Woods, Triathlete