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May 11, 2012 Comments (10) Training

Sleeping at 15,000ft: Hypoxico Altitude Training: Part 1

I write these words from an altitude of 15,360 ft. The air is thin here. I am well above the tree line. I find myself taking a few deep breaths to keep my head clear. This is, by far, the highest altitude my body has ever experienced without the assistance of a pressurized, oxygenated, airline cabin.

My oxygen saturation right now is 94%…a safe enough level to continue this crazy experiment. My son, Jalen, smiles at me through the clear plastic of my tent. He is fascinated by the things his daddy does…but he is well accustomed to the ways of his “Endurance Family.” I share this experience with you from the safety and comfort of my basement here in Colorado.

Over the next few months, I will be sleeping in a Hypoxico Alitude Tent. This incredible technology will allow me to sleep in a limited oxygen environment, simulating high altitude. In response, my body will produce additional red blood cells, and allow me to tolerate high altitude environments better than ever before. Last night, I slept at 9,000ft. I will gradually increase my sleeping altitude to 15,000ft or higher. My race goals are lofty, and personal. I eat, sleep, and dream ultrarunning…Leadville is my key event for 2012.

My name is Jerry Armstrong… I am a mountain ultramarathoner.  The race takes place in August, about 3 months from now. I am currently at peak fitness, running 90-150 miles per week with 10-20,000ft vertical gain. My body weight (142 lbs) is 10lbs lower than previous years, giving me an indication that my training has been excellent in the past few months. With the assistance of Hypoxico Altitude Systems, I plan to take my fitness to the next level.

I will be sharing this unique experience with you in a series of posts at Trail and Ultrarunning  . I will share the personal view, the science, the challenges, and hopefully the evidence of success in using Hypoxico Altitude Systems to compliment endurance training and achieve increased athletic endurance. This, of course, is something you can do by purchasing or renting through Hypoxico I will also be conducting an interview with Dr. Krista Austin, a sports physiologist/nutritionist, and consultant to elite athletes and Olympians. She will be helping me use the Hypoxico equipment for my training and sharing insight into the Hypoxico methodology for athletes like us.

To be fair to our readers, I will share that I am a customer of Hypoxico Altitude Systems. They offered me a sponsorship through the Leadville 100, which discounted the cost of using the Hypoxico Altitude System. In exchange, I will share my experience openly through our website in a series of articles and videos. Hypoxico is excited to have me share this story with you…in part, because so many elite athletes use their system without giving credit where it is due.

From professional boxers to cyclists at the Tour de France, top athletes crawl inside these tents all the time. It’s time to see what this is all about. I look forward to sharing this experience with you. Please ask any questions in the comments section, or by email. I will use your inquiries to guide my articles and seek the information for all of us. Be awesome!

Your friend,


10 Responses to Sleeping at 15,000ft: Hypoxico Altitude Training: Part 1

  1. Jerry, I’m really excited to follow this series. I’ve been curious about these for a long time. I know you’ll cover a lot of ground over the series so pardon me if I’m jumping ahead. Can you tell us the size of the tent? Also, are there any safety precautions? Thanks again!

  2. Arylis says:

    Nice!! I’ll be looking forward to your posts as I too have been keenly interested in this technology but just haven’t made the leap to try it out. I hope it works out as well for you as you hope. Good Luck with this endeavor. 🙂


  3. Paul Crothers says:

    I think what you are doing it fantastic. I have lost a good deal of weight and hope to see 140 something this year. I also have to deal hypo-tension, hunger, low blood sugar, etc. I have a goal of running a 50M so I am fine with all of these symptoms. I’m not sure i can push myself much harder. So when I see what you are doing it makes me a bit nervous. I sent along an article of which there are many about the Sherpa. One of their genetic adaptations is not making too many red blood cells. Any way good luck and keep us posted.

  4. I find this interesting having read about this in Dr Phil Maffetone’s ‘The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing’. A few questions perhaps to be answered in your future articles:

    Dr. M also recommends hyperbaric tents, have you tried any of those?

    If your EPO levels skyrocket, won’t that be a problem if you get tested in a race?

    Are you taking extra vitamins like folic acid, B12, or other supplements like protein?

    Have you been able to sleep well – for example how much your heart rate will elevate in the tent?

    Are you going to gradually reduce your training as you increase the altitude to avoid overtraining?

    Any lab tests in the works to measure the effects?

    Thanks, awesome job & good luck!

    • Ken Z says:

      Totally second Trail Plodder’s questions. I’d love to see (if you thought to test this) graphs of your normal sleeping HR and the HR in the tent. Recovery is SO key in this sport, so you might be trading one advantage for another?

  5. mkreuzer says:

    Great intro Jerry. This is gonna be an excellent series for everyone in the sports world. By being open and honest people will finally learn what others already know. Looks like lots of people are super interested in all you have to say.

  6. EnduranceJer says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I’m taking all of it into account as I prepare my next post. I have no personal concerns, but I will likely get a blood test done in response to all the questions about that. Peter, I’ll cover all of those questions soon… Thank you all! Run long, eat plants!

  7. Waleed Baker says:

    hi Jerry, i am currently in the process purchasing an hypoxic unit from Matt at Hypoxic. I am in Cape Town South Africa and just completed a multi stage mountain bike race called the Craft Bike Transalps in Europe. Being from sea level i in Cape Town i really battled breathing at high altitude and even tough i trained almost 20 hrs a week , not being use to Altitude i bare finished the race. I am really keen to do these mountain bike events and that is the reason i am getting this unit. I will be following your reports with keen interest. All the best and good luck

    • EnduranceJer says:

      Thanks for your message Waleed. I’ve been using the Hypoxico tent and IHT exercise regimen for a couple months. I am seeing great success in my final few weeks of preparation for a 100 mile race at 10-12,600ft. I’m sure you will see similar benefits once you get past the learning curve of settings and adjustments for sleeping comfortably. Of course, Iron levels are also involved…but Matt will assist with setting you up with a consulation with Dr. Austin, which is especially helpful in this. Good luck! Let me know about your experience……..take care, Jerry

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