Yearly, within the midst of a marathon coaching cycle, about six weeks out from the massive day, elite runners make a visit to altitude. A few of them reside there completely, in locations like Arizona, house of the Northern Arizona Elites, for instance, whereas others, make the common journey to the notorious Flagstaff every coaching season.
However wherever they reside, or hunt down altitude to coach, the motive is similar: prepare at the next altitude (typically 7,000 to eight,000 ft) than sea stage to enhance oxygen effectivity. When athletes prepare at increased altitude, they’re compelled to exert extra vitality to get outcomes, as a result of decrease quantity of oxygen current within the air. Because the physique acclimates to this elevated charge of perceived exertion, it compensates by producing extra pink blood cells, permitting extra oxygen to be carried to the muscular tissues.
As soon as athletes return to sea stage, they nonetheless have this elevated quantity of blood cells, and enhanced oxygen carrying capability, however now not need to cope with the elevated charge of exertion attributable to increased altitude. The outcome? A pure increase in efficiency attributable to larger oxygen availability and enhanced oxygen effectivity.
The underlying premise is that coaching the physique to carry out at increased altitude means elevated blood quantity and extra oxygen availability to the muscular tissues. A fascinating end result that has been proven to enhance elite efficiency by one to 2 p.c, that is nice information if altitude coaching is accessible and should you can arrange the logistics to reap the benefits of it.
However for many people—those that sadly aren’t paid to run—the flexibility to go to an altitude coaching camp for 4 to 6 weeks, leaving the remainder of life behind, isn’t sometimes an choice. However what if as a substitute of going increased, you would simply make issues hotter?
A current article by Endure writer Alex Hutchinson explored the growing reputation of warmth remedy, the place he mentioned how athletes are “turning up the thermostat in pursuit of an edge.” As he says, “warmth is now sizzling,” and growing and following a well-thought out warmth coaching protocol is changing into a mainstay a part of coaching intervals for a lot of endurance-based athletes.
To check it to altitude coaching, the place the elevated altitude forces the physique to generate the next variety of pink blood cells, warmth coaching will increase pink blood plasma quantity, providing extra blood to hold oxygen to the muscular tissues. Elevated blood quantity doesn’t routinely assure elevated pink blood cells—and extra oxygen—because of this nonetheless, and analysis continues into how deep the 2 are associated.
However Chris Minson and colleagues did present a related connection between warmth coaching and efficiency, discovering an improved efficiency in time trials and VO2 Max amidst cyclists who have been subjected to hotter situations as in comparison with the management group. Nevertheless, this can be as a result of warmth coaching has extra advantages than merely improved blood quantity: it additionally develops resilience, helps enhance notion of effort and fatigue, and advantages the psychological boundaries confronted in working by laborious efforts or excessive situations. In different phrases, it helps you push farther, regardless of the warmth and hone additional into that you just’ve-got-this angle.
And for the every single day runner, possibly that’s what it’s all about. It’s not misplaced on anybody who has tried to push by laborious efforts in working or attain new ranges of success that always the thoughts provides up first, and begins the unrelenting “this hurts, let’s stop;” or “it’s okay to cease now;” or higher but, full on self-sabotage within the type of your thoughts saying “you most likely can’t preserve going.” And we’ve all been there, when it’s sizzling out, and the solar beats down mercilessly, creating beads of sweat rolling down our face.
Coaching within the warmth forces you to construct toughness and tolerance. It asks you to get gritty and endure, after which after all, makes you do it another time once you’re struck with per week of extremely sizzling days. You’ll be able to consider it like working on drained legs, whereby you run, regardless of being drained, figuring out that having the ability to take action is what you have to come race day. And on race day additionally, you will want the elevated resilience and toughness that the warmth coaching allowed you to develop, whereby your capacity to push by laborious efforts is strengthened. And possibly your blood quantity is just too. Listed here are some recommendations on getting hotter as a substitute of upper:
- When doable, relying in your location or the season, select to finish a few of your exercises within the warmth of the day as a substitute of avoiding it. Remember that due to how laborious your physique must work, this can represent a tougher exercise, not a restoration or straightforward day. Alter your plan inside your coaching accordingly.
- Head to a dry sauna instantly earlier than or after your run for 20-25 minutes, and keep away from ingesting water throughout this time.
- Run in further garments to coach your physique to regulate to overheating and performing in lower than optimum situations and discomfort.