Ultrarunning High: Hypoxico Altitude Training: Part 2
I’ve been sleeping above 10,000ft for two weeks now. Each night, I turn on the generator and zip myself inside the altitude tent. This incredible experience is provided by Hypoxico Altitude Training Systems. I’ve slept comfortably, deeply, and awoken each day ready to conquer another mountain summit. Research suggests I should not yet notice much athletic improvement, but psychologically, I cannot help but feel confident during my runs knowing I’ve been adapting to altitudes above the treeline. The very idea of “eating, sleeping, and breathing” endurance training has crossed my mind many times. Now I feel as though I am truly living that reality. My body is experiencing changes in it’s chemistry, like those discussed in this article by Dr. Hendrickson.
The tent itself is not much different than a standard camping tent. It has clear plastic on all four sides, allowing plenty of light to illuminate the sleeping space. Either side can be unzipped to enter and exit. A small zipper is located at the foot and/or head of the tent, which allows the airflow line to enter the tent. Because I live in Colorado, I’m utilizing an Oxygen Monitor, which provides an accurate reading of the O2 output. Using a small chart inside the tent, I then adjust this O2 setting for various altitudes. For instance, at sea level, a “1.5″ on the Everest Summit II Generator is equivalent to approximately 1,070ft altitude. Because of my true altitude here in Colorado (5,400ft), the same “1.5″ creates an altitude inside the tent of 8,340ft. The simulated altitude is created through a limited oxygen environment. The air inside the tent is safely modified through patented Hypoxico technology. The body responds to this “hypoxico” environment by developing additional blood cells to acclimitize to the simulated altitude.
The tent itself is approximately 5ft x 7ft in size, allowing a double or queen matress to fit inside. The tent is 5 ft high and provides ample head space to sit and read or stand on your knees. I have been sleeping very comfortably with a single cotton sheet and several pillows. The tent does warm up due to body heat, but the single cotton sheet is ample covering for comfort. I have a small flashlight inside to read the altitude equivalency chart during darkness. Less than 1ft from the tent, the “Everest Summit II” generator hums softly, and provides nothing more than white noise to my sleeping space. I am able to unzip the tent and adjust the generator if needed without leaving the tent.
In preparation for my key race, the Leadville Trail 100, I contacted Hypoxico and arranged to rent the equipment for hypoxic sleeping, known as “sleep-high, train-low.” Matt Eckert, the VP of Hypoxico, responded to me right away and we set up a plan for my training. In cooperation with TrailandUltrarunning, I offered to share my experience with the readers of our website. Matt extended his offer to allow me more time with the Hypoxico Altitude equipment. This is the second article I’ve posted about my experience with Hypoxico Altitude Systems. I wish to share the experience from a point-of-view perspective.
The process is very simple. Upon contacting Hypoxico, you rent or purchase the equipment. They send it to your home via UPS. You follow the instructions in your shipment and set up the equipment in your home. I wanted to share that experience, so I’ve developed a short video about the delivery and set-up process. In my next article, I will share the details of my conversation with Dr. Krista Austin, a physiologist/nutritionist who has extensive experience in coaching elite endurance athletes. I have also undergone some blood tests, which I will share in the next article.
For me, the experience of altitude training is quite powerful. The total experience is much more than physical, and I allow my mind to take me to places far from my basement. In this, I allow this training to prepare me physically, mentally, and spiritually. My sleeping room has become a place of great peace for me. I hope you enjoy this video.
Run long, eat plants,
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