Date of Award

7-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Health and Human Performance

Program

Exercise Science

First Advisor/Chairperson

Scott Drm

Second Advisor

Phil Watts

Third Advisor

Randall Jensen

Abstract

Elite and recreational endurance athletes routinely seek strategies to enhance sea level (SL) performance. Altitude (ALT) training continues to be an appealing approach. The primary purpose of this study was to measure the effect of a 12-day adventure running camp at ALT on 5 km time trial (TT) performance at SL. Secondarily, we explored changes in select metabolic and blood variables. We hypothesized an improvement in TT at SL. A group of five well-trained individuals (2 females) volunteered. TT, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), running economy (RE), and a complete blood count (CBC) were measured at SL before and after ALT. Natural ALT exposure occurred in Colorado where runners engaged in low-moderate intensity trail runs for 12 days. After 12 days, runners traveled to SL for post-testing 1 day (e.g., TT) and 3 days (i.e., VO2max, RE, CBC) after return from ALT. Paired t-tests were utilized to describe differences between pre- and post-tests with p < 0.05 set for significance. Mean TT performance improved significantly from pre- to post-ALT (-3%, p=0.004). Moreover, significant increases occurred in red blood cell count (+5.6%, p=0.005), hemoglobin concentration (+8.4%, p=0.012), and hematocrit (+6.7%, p=0.012). There were no significant (p > 0.05) differences observed for VO2max and RE. Since TT improved, our hypothesis was supported and positive blood changes (e.g., hematocrit) may have contributed to the enhanced 5km SL performance.

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