Blood doping vs high altitude training?

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Jun 19, 2009
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Granville57 said:
Not sure if anyone noticed but the first name attached to this article is "A. Baker." That would be the same Arnie Baker from San Diego that worked so closely with FL.

Here's an interesting article from Wired magazine that I read a few years ago. Some interesting things here.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.08/nike.html
There are double-bed enclosures that can simulate 10,000' plus so you don't need the whole house. A couple of locals have them and swear by the benefits. They are bigger guys and still don't go up hill that well, though.
 
hrotha said:
This thread makes you wonder, why did ONCE (Zülle, Jalabert and Breukink) and Mapei (Rominger and Escartín) go all the way to Colorado for altitude training in 1994, when they could get the same effect from EPO (which they presumably did freely)? Why cross an ocean, face the jet lag, go through altitude adjustment and all that? Does altitude training provide additional benefits?
To give them an alibi? To get away from Eurocentric testers?

The fact that they didn't come back every year is probably the main message to take home.
 
Granville57 said:
For starters, there's the house itself. Research shows that sleeping at high altitude increases the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which, when combined with intense, low-elevation workouts, dramatically improves athletic performance. Of course, it's logistically tricky to live high and train low - unless Nike makes you a special mock-altitude house. Which is exactly what happened. Molecular filters inside the house remove oxygen, creating the thin air found at 12,000 feet. Runners eat, sleep, watch TV, and play videogames at what their bodies think is high elevation. Meanwhile, they train at Portland's sea level.

Its actually quite easy to create a hypoxic chamber in your own house.
An industrial air compressor, a lot of gaffer tape to seal the room and you can sleep at "altitude" every night.
 
Willy_Voet said:
To give them an alibi? To get away from Eurocentric testers?

The fact that they didn't come back every year is probably the main message to take home.
An alibi that seriously jeopardized their training, mind you. They lost very important training days just getting used to the altitude, but also due to the travel there and back and the jet lag. They could have got away from the testers easily by going to the Canary Islands or anywhere else. And either Rominger or the ONCE guys (I don't remember exactly which of the two) did do altitude training in Colorado in 1993.
 
ingsve said:
For those that have experience of a positive effect of high altitude training, how long does the effect last?
I've heard in multiple places that the effect is strongest a good week or 2 in. I seemed to have the greatest bang within a few days already, and then it tapered off.
My home altitude is just around sea level, and I train below. Just training and sleeping at 1200m for me was a huge difference. I wasn't exactly superman in the week that I spent there, but I sure came back feeling like I should enter a race a full category above the level I had 2 weeks earlier. When I went for another week (2 weeks at home) at 700m, the effect was again huge. Slightly better than the first time. Unfortunately I didn't measure.
An important factor though, the training weeks also contracted 5-day work weeks with just 2 running practices. Once at altitude, I took in food as if I was preparing for a winter sleep, albeit pretty protein rich (adding protein rather than skipping carbs), and trained 7-8 days, multiple sessions per day. Just not super intensive, as I can't ski that well. Second week did have some races though.

My recent altitude experiences make me want to specifically pick a training week before a road run race. Maybe a week in Davos (1600m) a good week before the Rotterdam Marathon, to contest the 5km.
Really I should somehow have my blood be tested before and after to learn what's going on. But then, the training volume is so off from what I usually get, can anything be learned from results at all?
 
Dec 7, 2010
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Granville57 said:
Oldman said:
There are double-bed enclosures that can simulate 10,000' plus so you don't need the whole house
andy1234 said:
Its actually quite easy to create a hypoxic chamber in your own house. An industrial air compressor, a lot of gaffer tape to seal the room and you can sleep at "altitude" every night.
Yes, but these guys were doing much more than just sleeping at altitude, they were essentially living it.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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hrotha said:
An alibi that seriously jeopardized their training, mind you. They lost very important training days just getting used to the altitude, but also due to the travel there and back and the jet lag. They could have got away from the testers easily by going to the Canary Islands or anywhere else. And either Rominger or the ONCE guys (I don't remember exactly which of the two) did do altitude training in Colorado in 1993.
Indurain did as well. Being away from Euro-public scrutiny while refining their program was advantage #1.
Rominger and a bunch of others would also trip to San Diego in January for several years. Made for great stories with the locals seeing them.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Oldman said:
Indurain did as well. Being away from Euro-public scrutiny while refining their program was advantage #1.
Rominger and a bunch of others would also trip to San Diego in January for several years. Made for great stories with the locals seeing them.
They rode over the Coronado bridge once, got pulled over by the cops.
 
Nov 26, 2010
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Most people end up overtrained and tired when they train at high altitude. Hence, train low sleep high. But thats tough logistically.
 
I have never gone to low altitude and felt like Superman. My hematocrit is usually in the high 40's to very low 50's. Funny thing is that I was talking with my brother a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned that he recently had bloodwork done. His hematocrit was also high, 49%, and he is doing a metric buttload of training right now.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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BroDeal said:
I have never gone to low altitude and felt like Superman. My hematocrit is usually in the high 40's to very low 50's. Funny thing is that I was talking with my brother a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned that he recently had bloodwork done. His hematocrit was also high, 49%, and he is doing a metric buttload of training right now.

 
Jun 19, 2009
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BroDeal said:
I have never gone to low altitude and felt like Superman. My hematocrit is usually in the high 40's to very low 50's. Funny thing is that I was talking with my brother a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned that he recently had bloodwork done. His hematocrit was also high, 49%, and he is doing a metric buttload of training right now.
You probably wouldn't because your recovery from workload was developed at altitude; denying you the ability for maximum stress. That's why I've been a little skeptical about guys using altitude sleeping arrangements most of the year; elevating their hematocrit during their entire training period. Seems that the benefit is to increase the hematocrit after particularly stressful training by being at altitude or taking the medical equivalent.
Noted that most Utah guys that wander to sea level can climb longer but struggle somewhat at high speed/watt crit recoveries. Your brother will probably find that, if his hemo stays at that level he will not net a huge gain in power. He'll just have a higher hematocrit.
 
BotanyBay said:
As long as the ability to train harder (or longer) is of benefit to your particular program.

But just living at altitude and training at sea-level alone is not the key. The increased RBC production needs to be part of a structured program.

In other words, racers from Colorado aren't fundamentally "better" than racers from SoCal. It doesn't work that way.
Ya, that part is pretty clear. I was thinking about the case where you get back to competeing at sea level after a period of high altitude training.

I know that skiers that have prepared for the current world championships came down from altitude right before last weekend so that they have had almost a week before the competitions begin and from what people have said it seems like they can easily last through the whole championship.

I wonder if someone did a high altitude session and came down a week before the Tour started if they would last the whole GT or if it would affect their last week.
 
May 7, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
.... :D You can only bump your hematocrit 2 to 3 points by being at altitude. I think it was Big Boat who said it long time ago. I thought that was too low compare to what you can boost with EPO or a blood transfusion.
I was just wondering whatever happened to Big Boat ??

was he banned or something ?
:confused:
 
Jun 20, 2010
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I used to spend 6-8 weeks a summer in the Mojave Desert and then returning to the southeast of the US we would schedule our annual physical fitness test for a few days after returning. My run times were usually 2 minutes lower on the course after that trip than any period of the year. While this is only anecdotal it was noticed by many of my fellow troops. Also contributing to the increases were the runs up different mountains every morning while there helped our runs on the flats of Georgia.
 
Aug 10, 2010
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on3m@n@rmy said:
This does not answer your question of altitude training compared to doping, but the article explains some things about how EPO is produced naturally in the body (which I thought was interesting) and has performance results of runners tested under different conditions of training and living.

Altitude Training for Sea-Level Competition
Many people advocate train low/sleep high.
 
Deagol said:
I was just wondering whatever happened to Big Boat ??

was he banned or something ?
:confused:
People caught on that he was half full of sh!t. They got tired of him claiming that everyone needed to dope just to finish a pro race. His conclusions based around power became ever more dubious.

He still shows up rarely.
 
Kodiak said:
I used to spend 6-8 weeks a summer in the Mojave Desert and then returning to the southeast of the US we would schedule our annual physical fitness test for a few days after returning. My run times were usually 2 minutes lower on the course after that trip than any period of the year. While this is only anecdotal it was noticed by many of my fellow troops. Also contributing to the increases were the runs up different mountains every morning while there helped our runs on the flats of Georgia.
2 minutes over which run duration and intensity was this, please?
 
Jun 20, 2010
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on a 2 mile course. for most those two minutes were a 15-18% decrease in the time to cover that distance from norm.
 
Jul 11, 2009
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Interesting thread, just a question for the more knowledgeable here, I recently had a blood test and on looking at the results it said my HB was 17.3 and heamocrit was 0.52 (does that mean 52%) and what do these figures really mean.
 
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