Habitat 10K and Live High-Train Low Study
Today was the Habitat 10K run up here in Winter Park. I've never done the run, let alone this distance (this is my 3rd race so far), but do have a fun loop of Creekside to Flume with a tag of Fools Creek that is around 7.2 miles. On these shorter races I figure there is always going to be a couple speedsters that will just take off and blow away the rest of us. No different here, except that I turned out to be one of the speedsters. The morning was hot with no shade, and the race got started at 9:00 in a very casual manner. This is a fundraiser, so it is very casual and quite fun. A group of us took off from the start and kept together for the first 3 miles, at which point I was in 4th with one guy out front and two others next to me. At the turn around I pulled away from the other two runners and kept my pace going the rest of the way. I never looked back, but could hear there were others behind me (no idea how many or how far), so I was motivated to keep pushing. I focused on my cadence and leg speed, noticing that if I tried to open up my stride (thinking I would push a little harder to get some distance), I would actually slow down. So I worked on much quicker strides that almost felt closer to a very fast shuffle then big strides in a run. This worked, and I was able to stay in second for the finish in 41:39. I have no idea if that is a good time for this distance, but I figure it is decent for a race at 9,000 feet. I'm excited to start feeling more confident during a race, which is obviously helping. That, and getting my fuel and drinking down is also helping. Now back to some longer distances before the North Fork 50K in two weeks.
In other news, a new study just published looks at the Live High-Train Low idea that has been around for at least 20 years or so. The general idea is that if you live high your body must adapt to be able to process oxygen better (as well as increase efficiencies in lactate thresholds, VO2Max, and blood/oxygen flows, among other things). Then, when you train at a low altitude, your body is more efficient and with the extra oxygen you are able to train harder then if you were at altitude. Well, this new study says that idea holds no scientific merit. At least not if you only do it for four weeks. They found that there was no noticeable muscular or systemic capacity for maintaining pH and K+ balance in athletes that spent four weeks Living High and Training Low. Now, this study only looks at pH and K+, and not at VO2Max, lung capacity, oxygen ratios in the blood, etc. Similarly, it was only conducted for four weeks. I personally Live High and Train High, but that changes the stresses. So, a two week crash course of Living High and Training Low may not be worth the effort. Whether spending the summer at altitude will improve your running is another question. I think it does, and by the number of runners who move up to Leadville, Silverton, or somewhere else seem to indicate, others do to. However, they are also Living High and Training High.