General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Training at Altitude - Failure Rss Feed  
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2023-08-16 12:24 PM

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Yang Min Shan, T'ai-pei
Subject: Training at Altitude - Failure
I live in Quito Ecuador at 9700 feet. I trained for the last year at this altitude and completed my second Ironman 70.2. My first was Eagleman in 2022. I did all of my bike training indoors because of the poor condition of the local roads and did most of my short runs indoors on a treadmill. I completed all of my long runs outside. I used the same off the shelf training plan from Training Peaks for both races. However, I completed Ironman Ecuador (at sea level) two hours slower than Eagleman. I was equally consistent with my training, missing very few sessions as I prepared for both races. The only thing that was different is that during Eagleman I rode my Madone and for Ironman Ecuador I purchased a new QR PR Six. I trained on the bike exclusively indoors until the race. During my Ironman my swim was fine and close to my PR. During the bike, I had substantial problems maintaining my aero position. This started early in the race. I rode nearly 90% of the ride upright and finished 40 minutes slower than Eagleman. I expected t to finish the run between 2:00 - 2:15, I finished in 3:30 hours; walking the last 7 miles.

I am trying to get to the bottom of why i tanked this race. I am planning to run the 70.2 in Ponte del Este, Uruguay in March and really need redemption.!



2023-08-17 10:54 AM
in reply to: TK

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Champion
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Subject: RE: Training at Altitude - Failure

Not sure it's a "training at altitude" failure or some other combination of things.  Nutrition?  Hydration?  Race-day temperatures? 

How much of your training did you do on the new bike?  Were you able to hold aero during training?  If you're on the trainer, it can be easy to not notice how much time you spent in aero (or not).  If you did all of your training on the Madone without really riding the QR much, that can easily be a large source of disappointment.  When I was doing IM training, even if I did 80% of my training on my roadie, I did at least 1-2 of the 100-milers on my Klein (tri bike) and switched over to it in the last month.  For me, aero position was good for 1+mph improvement in bike pace over my roadie, but I could see that sitting up would be slower than the roadie (never tested that).  For the most part, my IM races were varied enough terrain that I wasn't camped on in aero for 30-40 minutes (or 2 hours) straight. 

Here's another aspect to consider:  If you'd had goals and aspirations that the QR would result in a dramatically faster bike split and you spend the first half-hour riding and realizing you are falling behind "expectations" so you push harder (even while sitting up) which works for an hour, but then that extra effort catches up for the last half of the bike and the run.  That isn't so much a training failure as a race execution failure (and one that's easy to do).  My race-day philosophy is to graciously accept every little "gift" that comes my way (a fast transition for example) and let every little setback go so I'm not trying to "force" anything.  If my bike pace is a bit slow for my effort...oh well...a disappointing finish time won't cost me my day job or leave me homeless. 

2023-08-24 11:19 PM
in reply to: TK

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Cypress, Texas
Subject: RE: Training at Altitude - Failure

Originally posted by TK I live in Quito Ecuador at 9700 feet. I trained for the last year at this altitude and completed my second Ironman 70.2. My first was Eagleman in 2022. I did all of my bike training indoors because of the poor condition of the local roads and did most of my short runs indoors on a treadmill. I completed all of my long runs outside. I used the same off the shelf training plan from Training Peaks for both races. However, I completed Ironman Ecuador (at sea level) two hours slower than Eagleman. I was equally consistent with my training, missing very few sessions as I prepared for both races. The only thing that was different is that during Eagleman I rode my Madone and for Ironman Ecuador I purchased a new QR PR Six. I trained on the bike exclusively indoors until the race. During my Ironman my swim was fine and close to my PR. During the bike, I had substantial problems maintaining my aero position. This started early in the race. I rode nearly 90% of the ride upright and finished 40 minutes slower than Eagleman. I expected t to finish the run between 2:00 - 2:15, I finished in 3:30 hours; walking the last 7 miles. I am trying to get to the bottom of why i tanked this race. I am planning to run the 70.2 in Ponte del Este, Uruguay in March and really need redemption.!

I have gone back and forth between sea level and high altitude quite a bit over the past 30 years including attended University at 7,200 feet while my home was at 300 feet and traveling back and and forth between home and school every couple of month and moving from a port city at sea level to the mountains 10 days ago where I have already logged runs at 8,100 feet elevation. 

When I was younger I would defiantly notice the difference in altitude and would get very short breathed when running at high altitude.  I don't notice altitude as much now though.  My track coach in college had a degree in altitude training and had his own adjustments for time/pace.  I don't remember exactly what his formula was but I was something like 1 to 1.5 second per mile for ever 1000 feet above sea level.  So when I go from seal level to 10,000 feet about seal level I adjust my running plans something along the lines of 7:30 min/mi to 7:40 to 7:45 min/mi to get an equivalent effort.  Pacing is the key to success.  

Note:  At high altitude the air is thinner so you have less drag in the bike so you can actually see faster times there.  I hate swimming at high altitude though.  Unlike running I don't have pace adjustment formulas for high altitude and find that swimming at high altitude I get oxygen deprived.  I normally breath ever 3rd stroke but at high altitude I probably need to breath every stoke (and sometimes that isn't even enough).  

 

I have done multiple Marathons and 70.3 Triathlons at elevations that are 6,000-8,000 feet higher than where I train.  I have done well at all of them and PR's at some of them.  The elevation didn't hindering me.  

I don't think elevation should hinder you.  You will be a little faster and lower elevation and a little slower and higher elevation but everyone in the race will have the same pace adjustment as you.  I don't think the bike will make a big different either.  The better your bike the bigger advantage you have in head-to-head competition but if you pace the same effort on each bike you can have good races on either.  Pacing is the key.  Go out easy on the swim and bike to set yourself up for the run and you should get your redemption in the next race.

 

2023-08-26 11:18 AM
in reply to: TK

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Lethbridge, Alberta
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Subject: RE: Training at Altitude - Failure
If you rode 90% of the ride upright, you not only went slower because of the increased wind resistance but you probably worked harder to do it too. That could burn out your legs for the running as well. It seems like the key problem is maintaining your aero position, whatever that takes. Perhaps the setup of the new bike is not right for you?
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