TRAINING AT HIGH ALTITUDE-WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR TRAIL RUNNERS?
Julien Chorier, Val Thorens’ trail running ambassador and multiple Ultra trail winner often trains in our resort. Here, he reveals a few of his secrets, training tips and what he’s up to in Val Thorens… We discovered that the resort is located at the perfect altitude for improving his running performance!
We all know that many top-level athletes regularly train at high altitude, but what are the benefits?
«Firstly, it’s important to point out that the higher up you go, the less oxygen there is in the air, and your body will get used to doing physical activity with less oxygen. It will start to produce EPOs (natural hormones that increase the production of red blood cells) that increase the number of red blood cells, carrying more oxygen to the muscles. If the runner reacts well, their performance will improve when they go back to sea level, where they will experience normal oxygen levels combined with a higher level of red blood cells, and their muscles will receive far more oxygen than before.» Training at high altitude is the way to go if you want a boost during your early morning run, or to show off in front of your friends or colleagues after work!
«This ‘boosting’ effect is linked to the altitude, but that’s not all: being on holiday, breathing in fresh air, spending time altogether (with your family, friends or other runners), as well as a healthier diet, all have their part to play.»
The VT Summit Games, our summer trail running event, came into being thanks to discussions with Julien and advice he provided; it’s not just a race, it’s a week of trail running activities. From the 4th to 11th of August, both beginners and experienced trail runners will be able to get together to chat, train, race against each other… and also to recharge their batteries and spend time with family or friends on a sociable fun run that’s accessible to all. The event is rounded off with a conference and meetings with trail experts: discussing the benefits of altitude, tips on diet and nutrition, downhill running, how to avoid falling and injuring yourself…
How do you fancy losing weight whilst taking it easy?!
«Great news for everyone, whether you’re sporty or not: being at altitude helps you lose body fat. Your metabolism has to work harder, meaning you burn more energy dong exactly the same things that you do when you’re not at altitude, even when you’re doing nothing at all! Several weight loss centres are located at altitude for this reason.»
What a great tip - take it easy in the mountains and let your body reap the benefits. But beware, you still need to make sure you eat a balanced diet and stay well hydrated; the air is drier and you can become dehydrated a lot quicker!
Improve your performance and lose weight at altitude… When you put it like that it sounds easy, but there are a few instructions you should bear in mind to get the most out of your training. We’ll reveal Julien Chorier’s training tips in our next article «Getting the most out of your high-altitude training sessions»!