​Update+ Tips for Training at Altitude

Posted by Garrett Butts on Jul 2nd 2021

​Update+ Tips for Training at Altitude


Happy Summer!! Here in CO, summer is in absolute full swing! Meaning, I am busy, busy, busy. While I’m at home in the summer I’m fortunate to work for my Dad’s outfitting business (Tenderfoot Outfitters) guiding horseback day rides, overnights, and fishing trips. I’ve been doing this since I was 4 (or so I’m told), and it is something that I really enjoy! Between work and training, it is just non stop. For me, a typical day might look something relatively close to this... 6am wake up, train 7-9, work 9:30-4, train 5-7, eat dinner, do some computer work, prep for the next day, and do it all over again! This last training block, which was my first full one back in CO, seemed to go quite well! I enjoyed getting back on my bikes, visiting a lot of my favorite stomping grounds, and enjoyed the luxuries of home like home cooked meals & having a Mom that's a massage therapist. (Thanks Mom) During my easier week, I developed a little strain in my calf, something super minor, but if neglected could’ve turned into something much worse, so I stopped running for a number of days, did everything I could to aid in a rapid recovery, and now I’m building back the run. As for the near future, I’m looking forward to spending some more time in the backcountry, keeping the good times rolling with training, eating well, spending more time with friends and family, and of course watching Le Tour de France, and the Olympics!!!

Growing up in Gunnison, CO at 7,700 ft, I’ve spent plenty of time training at altitude. Over the past few seasons, I have been able to gain quite a bit of experience from coming from sea level to altitude,and vice versa, but there are a few key things to take into consideration when at altitude that I never really realized until I had more experience at sea level and also coming up to altitude from sea level. Here are some tips that you can use whether you're a junior skier, a master skier, or just looking to make the most of your time at altitude.
1: When training at high altitude, it can be extremely advantageous to wear a heart rate monitor, especially for the first couple of weeks when you are coming up from sea level. When you’re at sea level, you get used to putting out a certain power for a given effort level, and when you come to altitude, it's easy to just go out at that same power output thinking it will yield the same effort output. This however, is not the case, and is why wearing a heart rate monitor can be very important. Otherwise, you might find yourself going way too hard all the time and compromise the greater plan.
2: Stay Hydrated! Chances are, if you’re at altitude, you’re going to be in a dry, arid climate and every time you exhale you will be losing exponentially more water. Sweating at altitude can be deceiving because it evaporates so quickly, but that doesn't mean that you aren't sweating, so keep the fluids coming.
3: Carbs! Put simply, when you’re living and training at altitude, your base metabolic rate is higher because your body is just having to work that much harder all the time to keep your body in homeostasis. This really just means higher caloric demands, and because protein and fat needs generally don’t change too much, that means the outlier is carbs, where you will likely get your needed extra calories.

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Until next time, Garrett Butts