Alex Hutchinson is a columnist for Runner’s World, and writes the magazine’s popular Sweat Science blog on the latest training and fitness research. A former national-team distance runner, he also contributes regularly to magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Outside and Men’s Journal, and his award-winning travel writing appears in the New York Times.
Recently Alex wrote an article on high altitude training and some of the theories being considered on the issue. It is certainly a hot topic in the world of sports science at the moment and is sure to generate some interesting conversation between EOA delegates.
Contained within the article are a few case studies pointing to the possible effects on athletes after high altitude training, and it’s clear that debate on the topic is still keen.
One section of the article refers to Zurich researcher Carsen Lundby, whose experiments “failed to find any performance or physiological improvements in well-trained cyclists after four weeks of LHTL (live high, train low)”.
This is in contrast to Alex’s own research, and he states that “none of the physiologists I’ve spoken to who work with national teams have any doubt whatsoever that LHTL boosts the haemoglobin mass of their athletes.”
He also outlines some of his own experiences with altitude experiments by saying “I had the chance to go down to 11% oxygen, which is equivalent to about 4,500 meters of altitude, and the oxygen saturation of my blood dropped to around 80%. It’s a weird feeling going back and forth between normal oxygen and low oxygen over and over again.”
It can’t be said that Alex Hutchinson doesn’t get out there and have his own experiences!