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  • Writer's picturerganderson915

Into Thin Air: Park City Camp!

Hi and thanks for checking in. I’m in Park City, Utah for a ski training camp. Park City is at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level, so training there offers a different stimulus - or basically it’s harder to breathe.

I’ll admit that I used to think it was harder because there is less oxygen up high. Welll, it turns out that the amount of oxygen doesn’t decrease as you ascend in altitude. The atmospheric pressure does, so the oxygen spreads out, and as a result you breathe in less oxygen. The amount of oxygen in the air is a constant at 21%.

Isn’t that neat! But I guess my body doesn’t know the difference - all it knows is that it’s getting less oxygen than it’s used to (getting about 4% less oxygen in Park City than at home). This adaptation is a great boost to endurance training.

I used to think my body wasn’t “cut out” for altitude, but it turns out it’s just a different strategy. We’re training somewhere around 3-4 hours per day, which is a big load! So, here are some things I think about to make it a good experience.

1. Hydration and fueling.

Just by existing (let alone training) in a place with lower oxygen availability, the body works hard to compensate (ie. makes more hemoglobin to deliver oxygen around the body). With endurance training at altitude, there are even more physical stressors, so I make sure to drink more water and eat more food, especially carbs. Twist my arm

grocery shopping is my worst nightmare but it must be done

2. Sleep routine

I am a terrible sleeper in general, and it gets much worse at altitude. This is certainly the worst part of camp for me. My plan is to crack down on my bedtime routine more aggressively and hope for the best. (Wind-down well before bedtime, drink tea maybe, read a boring book, avoid instagram reels, perhaps eat a melatonin gummy or three, at least lay there for 9hr even if I’m not asleep)

3. Chill pill

This camp brings the US Ski Team and all the professional teams together! It’s a super fun and inspiring atmosphere, but it can also be tempting to try to show off and train fast all the time. Training fast all the time is generally agreed upon to be a bad idea (if you want to perform well). Even with that knowledge, it’s surprisingly hard to resist when it comes down to it. Maybe writing this in blog form will hold me to it.

4. General good health practices

I’m going to try to resist the temptation to fry myself in the sun after being a little deprived up in Anchorage this summer. I’m also looking forward to the team bonding aspect of camp that makes the work fun and helps keep the stress low!

Love, Renae

Disclaimers: This isn’t intended to be an advice blog - just sharing what I do.

  • I wouldn’t recommend training more than you’re used to when you travel to higher altitudes. We do 3-4 hours/day because that’s our standard volume throughout the training season.

  • For higher elevations like Mt. Everest, there just might be a more strict protocol to follow - see sources other than my tuesday blog for that


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