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Step 1: Select the Altitude

For staying and training at high altitude, altitudes of 1,800 m to 2,500 m are the most appropriate.
The Hida Ontake Kogen Highland Training Area ranges between 1,200 m and 2,200 m. With different zones located at different altitudes, athletes can stay and train according to their own objectives.

Step 2: Determine Time Period

  • If the goal is to boost red corpuscles and hemoglobin counts to improve endurance, stays of 3 weeks or longer are ideal. However, repeated high-altitude training at shorter periods (10 days to 2 weeks) can also produce good results.
  • Even high-altitude training for periods as short as 3 to 7 days can improve sea-level performance.
  • High-altitude acclimatization (adjusting to conditions at high altitude) differs widely between individuals. For first-time athletes, a relatively short period is probably preferred.

Step 3: Prepare

  • To make the most of your high-altitude training, it is extremely important that you are in good health and condition. Avoid engaging in hard training before starting your high-altitude training block.
  • To avoid poor physical condition during high-altitude training, and to maximize results, your body must have sufficient stores of serum iron, ferritin (storage iron), and similar. We suggest athletes have themselves tested for blood anemia at a medical institution before moving to high altitude.
  • To assess the results of high-altitude training, it is a good idea to conduct blood and fitness tests before and after the stay.
  • Check for local medical institutions beforehand.

Step 4: Train

Long-term (3 weeks or more) high-altitude training

  • Use the first week for acclimatization, and slowly increase your training load in the second and third weeks. Overestimating your condition and going out too hard during the initial period can negatively impact your form and prevent you from attaining the full benefits of the training.
  • Training intensity (speed, etc.) should be lower than your sea-level norms, while rest periods should be longer (particularly during the initial phase). In addition, intensity and rest should as much as possible be determined on an individual basis.
  • It is a good idea to occasionally move down to lower altitudes to carry out training at real (sea-level) intensities.
  • It is important to focus on managing your condition (physical fatigue, mental fatigue). The NTC Highland Training Performance Enhancing Facility has a range of equipment to help you monitor and manage your condition.

Short-term (4 to 7 days) high-altitude training

  • In this case, you will soon be returning to sea level, so from the second day on, you can increase intensity and load without worrying about major negative impacts on your condition.

Step 5: Return to Sea Level

The optimal timing for returning to sea level depends on the individual. Athletes should use trial and error to determine what timing works best for them. In the past, many long-distance track athletes have found that they achieve their best performances between 1 and 2 weeks or longer after returning from high altitude.

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