Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week 8 Update: August 6th, 2013

Week 8 Update: Aug 06, 2013

I had an abbreviated workout week due to my sailing from Friday through Sunday. Those days proved taxing to say the least so I did not count them as “off” days. Instead, I slept very little (11 hours in 3 days), endured some chilly evenings and mornings, and pushed my attention and concentration to the limits. It was a great weekend; hope to have many more like that in the near future. The past week provided me with several insights.

  • Hypoxic training is exhausting. Yep, I was beat and light-headed after just 30 minutes.
  • Monitoring my spO2 is more complicated than just taking a single reading. My levels fluctuate wildly throughout the night and also throughout a training session.
  • Hypoxic sleep seems restful but I typically wake up groggy and less rested than expected. Both Kathy and I sleep deeply but the quality is not as great as at sea-level or normoxia.

Workout Progress

I scheduled 16.5 hours of training last week but only completed 15.5 hours due to my weekend sailing adventure and my aching left foot. Sailing cut out training for Friday and Saturday (also Sunday but that day counts for next week). Since my left foot remains a little tender, I eliminated running from my routine and compensated the lost training time with a slight increase in bike and elliptical training. Also, last Tuesday was our last masters swim practice for August so I dropped swimming from my routine too. Bummer. I miss our team practices already. Finally, I ran out of time on Monday and could not lift on Friday so I doubled up my lifting sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. The change of schedule and routine turned out to be a nice break.

plot of chunk WeekEx

You will see from the figure below that I cut back this week (the lightest color line) from previous weeks. I am in the last three weeks of my first 15 week cycle. After these weeks, I get a full week off - well, not really “off” but instead I get to climb and swim in a meet. More on those events later.

plot of chunk DailyWL

Slowly creeping up to 200. I think I will celebrate with a few beers when I get ¼ of the way to my training goal. Join me in my celebration…but not before I reach that goal.

plot of chunk CumWL

Weekly Summary

The reduction from 21 hours to 15.5 seemed almost like a week off. Yep, the load progression is really starting to take hold. My highest total (26.5 hours) will be 4 weeks before I leave for Everest; until that time, I have many weeks at or around 15 to 18 hours over the next few months so I look forward to gaining back those precious few hours to get some work done.


Kathy and I were reviewing my mood figure while eating breakfast together and we both noticed a trend. We both feel better the longer we continue sleeping in the hypoxic tent. You will see from the figure below that my soreness and fatigue decreased dramatically over the past few weeks. Finally, my foot feels better but I plan to skip running for the next few weeks to ensure it heals fully. During that same span, I am getting more motivated to workout, feeling more optimistic about my preparation, and getting more things done - both work and home projects. I think the hypoxic sleep and the introduction of hypoxic training into my routine are helping me adjust to the novel demands on my body.

plot of chunk Mood

Hypoxic Training

Hypoxic sleeping is getting more comfortable and hypoxic training - while not exactly comfortable - has re-invigorated me. I love the novelty of training with a mask. Yeah, it is not the most comfortable but I am getting accustomed to the mask and sweating into a plastic thing hanging on my face. Kathy and I also noticed something cool about the figure below. Notice how my resting heart rate dipped back after a peak in mid-July while sleep quality slowly improved. The only oddity is that my spO2 appears to steadily decline - a point I raised with Brian last week and now have a much better understanding of the acceptable limits.

Last week, Kathy was out of town so I steadily increased the tent altitude from 7,500 feet (on Monday) to 10,000 feet (on Thursday). That increase decreased my spO2 levels from 96% to 90% - both within acceptable limits. I plan to slowly increase my altitude to 12,000 feet and then later decrease it back to 9,000 feet after I introduce more hypoxic training and IHT into my weekly routine.

plot of chunk Hypoxia

Updates for the week

Here are a few updates and things to expect in the upcoming weeks:

  1. Hypoxic training began in earnest this week (Week 8). After consulting with Brian from Hypoxico, I have a much clearer plan for the next few weeks. I plan to increase hypoxic training over the next two weeks before I take off for Portland.
  2. I plan to skip running next week but start back slowly the following week by running 15 minutes each day. That low level should be a good test for my foot.
  3. Work is starting to pile up a bit so my updates might be less frequent. Hopefully, I can steal away a few minutes to post my IHT experience in the next few days….stay tuned and thanks for following.

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