As the the science has shown, high altitude training camps work and are a common practice among athletes. I was wondering is there any benefit to recover at altitude? Meaning, If you spend a week (10days in my case) at high altitude +10,000ft without access to a bike, would you loose less of your fitness than at sea level. What would be the best practice to maintain the fitness during the week+ off the bike at altitude? Running?(yuk)
And after returning to sea level will there be any benefits from time spent at altitude? Improved oxygen intake capacity or smth that would help my cycling
Thanks! and keep on FTFPing
oh man there is a lot here.
Basically my short answer is yes there are benefits from being at altitude physiologically (increased ventilation rate, hemoglobin levels, and increase in blood vessels to muscle mass) but that might likely be outweighed by you being off the bike for a week. Yes strength training and running could help hold onto some fitness, but it will not be a full substitute + then you need to keep in mind fatigue at working out at 10k+feet.
You will have a short window of time that you are able to capitalize on these adaptations when you come back to sea level (about a week). So what you could try when you get back is doing a few targeted Vo2 sessions. You might be a little capped however from being so fresh from the 10days off the bike, but you also might find the ability to tap into some good numbers. Just depends on how your body reacts. (also of course depends on if this matches with your goals)
This also might be a case where it’s not worth overthinking it because there are a good amount of variables that come into play at altitude (loss in sleep normally and dehydration)
Hope that helps and enjoy the mountains!