Live High Train Higher

I’m sure many of you have seen this table comparing performance at different altitudes:

I live at a little over 5,000’ elevation and I sometimes ride/train at elevations between 6,000’ and 10,000.’

While the chart is great at helping determine what my performance might be if I went to sea level or how someone at sea level might perform (acclimated or not) at a higher elevation, it doesn’t directly address the case of someone acclimated 5,000’ doing unacclimated work at 8,000’ for example. I definitely have some ideas for how to interpret this for my case, but I am interested in other interpretations. It seems like it might be a not so uncommon scenario.

On a related note, I can’t wait for TR to release elevation adjusted power files for outside rides. I’ve been told that they are working on something like this. It would have a very meaningful impact (for some of us) on the new outside progression level project they are about to release.

Does it matter if you are acclimated? If you aren’t you go slower… if you are you go faster. Your mark simply is an algorithm of what the equivalent performance would be.

I’ve personally never been a fan of conversions… but in terms of hitting a time qualifier for a distance event I see the need.

I live half ot the year at 2300 metres altitude, the rest of the year at sea level. When I’m up in the mountains I often ride up to 3000 metres (10 000 feet) and even if I’m acclimatised to 2300 metres it’s much harder up at 3000. I don’t really care to make up a new FTP for every 100 metres of altitude, and I don’t do any intervals that high. I do them below 2600 metres. If I am going for a pr I pace myself with time, feeling, heart rate and power in an unscientific formula. When I race, I race my opponents and not the power meter.

Just like you say, after a while you get an understanding what power you can do at a certain altitude. Nothing a table with numbers will beat you at. :slight_smile:

6-8% decline in VO2max for every 1000m gain.

It’s not perfect math, the gap between someone living at 8000‘ and someone living at sea level, both riding at 8000‘ isn’t much (84% vs 88%).
So since you are better acclimatized than „not-acclimatized“ but not fully acclimatized to 8000‘, your power should be somewhat in the middle of the two values (86% give or take).

Regardless of that, while the occasional ride up to even higher elevation is great, I really would refrain from training at high altitude. Train as low as you can for best results. More watts are worth more than less watts to your progress (not only altitude, but also heat training or indoor training can have similar negative effect on having to train at a lower power). All of the above create a sub-optimal climate for performance gain.


Thanks for the input about the percentages. I do the vast majority of my training indoor at home, but I love to get out, especially in the high mountains. I’m mostly looking for a way to evaluate those efforts.