Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday 4 miles

I ran 4 miles with the Solepepper group this morning. Easy jogging, my first in a week. I took Benny in the babyjogger and chatted with people.
I also drove up to OUR NEW HOUSE to just look around the area a bit more. Amazing trails that are close, views of the Continental Divide, a huge lake close by.. our closing date is ~Dec. 17th. Once were there my jogging is going to take an extreme turn, for the better I think. There's very little flatness to anything. I think outside of my workouts in Boulder, most of what I have learned about the marathon in the past will not be applicable to the training I'll be doing. I'll need to reinvent my own training and pay strict attention to how my body breaks down- then doesn't recover from running huge hills daily at 8000-9000 ft. elevation. As I've said in the past- Boulder elevation isn't considered true altitude. 8000ft (our house is at 8200ft) is considered "high altitude" and the point at which physiological adaptations take a significant uptick. Higher than that and things happen for real.
The percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level is about 21% and the barometric pressure is around 760 mmHg. As altitude increases, the percentage remains the same but the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced. At 3,600 meters (12,000 feet) the barometric pressure is only about 480 mmHg, so there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath so the body must adjust to having less oxygen. I'll be somewhere in the 30% less oxygen range which will inhibit my bodies ability to rejuvinate.
Another huge thing that happens is that the body doesn't store CHO (carbohydrate) nearly as effectively as it does at lower elevations. This is partly why a sudden change in elevation for longer periods often stimulates rapid weight loss. Mostly fat- so I won't be so tubby.
CHO use will be hugely determined by my Vo2 Max.. of which I've never had tested. This also applies to lower elevations but it's more profound at high elevations where Vo2 can be cut by ~30% at extreme altitudes. Once you start working at a higher percentage of your Vo2 then fuel consumption shifts towards CHO. So for example, 7:00 pace in Boulder is.. lets say 60% of my Vo2. Once I am running at 8200ft though my Vo2 is lowered... so the same 7:00 mile may put me at.. lets say 68% of Vo2. It may not be that extreme but I'm just making a point. So 7:00 pace at high altitude means I am working much closer to my Vo2 max (which has been diminished) thereby shifting from fat burning and more towards glycogen burning.
I've always had a very efficient metabolism and can run a lot with little fuel, if that's true then my adjustment might not be a shock.

6 comments:

Matt said...

Tim, are you opposed to training and competing (seriously) for off-road races? You seem to have a great base(w/serious speed!) and tons of trails/mountains on which you can train. It seems to fit your philosophy of life, too.
But I can understand how the marathon is like the universal benchmark, perhaps has more credibility?

Lastly, if I can find my way to CO this summer, can I crash at your trail nirvana? Pretty bold, yeah?

Keep up the good work.

PS had your jump-rope video in my head while I did 30 minutes on my porch with a sick 4 year-old taking a nap. The bomb!

Jaakko Hiekkaranta said...

Hi Lucho!

I've heard very reliable sources say that altitude adaptations are more of a psychological thing (relating to having a positive environment) so if you guys are happy at your new home you're going to get a very good boost for your running! All the best!

Kevin said...

You know, I love where I live (South Louisiana) but I must tell you that I am jealous of your new home. No only is it in what seems to be a beautiful area, you have lots of land.

Lucho said...

Matt- I already told GZ that I may be a mountain runner yet. If you find your way to Colorado let me know. We'll have our new son plus a toddler so I may put you to work ;) I plan on turning our outbuilding (it has 3 rooms) in to a space that will be comfortable and nice. I wasn't joking about sleeping in the 'barn'..
You jumped for 30:00!!!? That's bad-ass. How much of it was single leg? You should try to throw in some longer intervals of single leg- like 3:00-4:00 straight.

Jaakko- I've read that same thing and often times tell my athletes that when they're going from Boulder to sea-level that most of the benefit is in their heads. I know that high altitude tends to limit training more than anything- there are certainly physiological disadvantages that aren't in the head. If I ever race at 8000ft then I will have a physiological advantage, but I agree with what you're saying. The environment is very nice- super clean air, almost zero traffic, beautiful trails. Thanks Jaakko!

Thanks for the good word Kevin. The land is perfect for us right now. I have always had a dream of owning hundreds of acres. But where our life is now I think this is far more appropriate.

kerrie said...

tubby...lol.

GZ said...

30 minutes of jump rope? Really? Holy crap.

I have contemplated the physiological benefits of living high, training low. I lived in Nederland for a few years. I certainly agree that if you want to race well at altitude, you need to have exposure of doing that sort of stuff at altitude (hence, in my case, ridiculously slow intervals at 12000 plus feet).

That said, I can't argue with a fact - my best 5K came in Denver when I was living in Ned (8500) - despite my mileage being lower, etc.