Over the years, I have come to understand how difficult it is to live and exert at altitude. Successfully summiting three mountains over 18,000ft. has taught me that proper acclimatization is incredibly important to success in reaching the "tops". And, according to a recent article written by a medical doctor in Triathlete Magazine June 2014 about altitude and acclimatization, I was right.
Dr. Winsberg writes that the best effects to increase EPO and red cell mass occur after 3-4 weeks of "live high, train low", meaning you are living at altitude above 8,000ft. and training at much lower altitudes in order to keep training intensity high. However, since most of us cannot replicate that living arrangement, some of us opt to fake it, using an altitude tent. It is important to note that you must spend at least 16 hours a day for 3 weeks in the tent to achieve the EPO response. Good luck with that! And, the studies are disappointing on athletes who have done that - their performance was subpar, probably because of the sedentary lifestyle inside the tent for such a long period of time.
For the rest of us, we can plan blocks of base training of one week or longer. We can also plan another week or longer of training 4-5 weeks before our race. Peak performance will happen approx. 3 weeks after this block.
No matter which training protocol you decide to use in order to prepare for your race at altitude, don't forget the other important factors for success: quality recovery from your training at altitude; proper hydration; and hard training at sea level such as hill repeats and VO2max work.
200yds. alt. 25k/25swim your choice of stroke
200yds. reverse IM
200yds. decrease stroke count per 100yds.
20x25yds. freestyle good effort - note the avg. time for your 25's - can be done on 25/30/35sec interval or 10sec. rest
400yds. done 100free/100IM easy
8x50yds. freestyle with paddles - add 1sec. to your 25yds. time and try to make the 50's at this time
300yds. done 100free/100IM/100free
3x100yds. freestyle with fins - add 2sec. to your original 25yd. time and try to make the 100's at this time
200yds. done 100free/100IM
200yds. pace freestyle with fins and paddles - add 3sec. to your or