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Purpose: To compare the effects of natural altitude training (NAT) and simulated (SIM) live high:train low altitude training on road-race walking performance (min), as well as treadmill threshold walking speed (km·h−1) at 4 mmol·L−1 and maximal oxygen consumption, at 1380 m. Methods: Twenty-two elite-level male (n = 15) and female (n = 7) race walkers completed 14 d of NAT at 1380 m (n = 7), SIM live high:train low at 3000:600 m (n = 7), or control conditions (600-m altitude; CON, n = 8). All preintervention and postintervention testing procedures were conducted at 1380 m and consisted of an incremental treadmill test, completed prior to a 5 × 2-km road-race walking performance test. Differences between groups were analyzed via mixed-model analysis of variance and magnitude-based inferences, with a substantial change detected with >75% likelihood of exceeding the smallest worthwhile change. Results: The improvement in total performance time for the 5 × 2-km test in NAT was not substantially different from SIM but was substantially greater (85% likely) than CON. The improvement in percentage decrement in the 5 × 2-km performance test in NAT was greater than in both SIM (93% likely) and CON (93% likely). The increase in maximal oxygen consumption was substantially greater (91% likely) in NAT than in SIM. Improvement in threshold walking speed was substantially greater than CON for both SIM (91% likely) and NAT (90% likely). Conclusions: Both NAT and SIM may allow athletes to achieve reasonable acclimation prior to competition at low altitude.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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