Friday, August 10, 2012

Altitude Sickness Part 2

So I've done quite a bit of reading about high altitude hiking and how to prepare for it.. or not prepare for it. Basically, there is no way of ensuring that I will not suffer from soroche. I can train all I want but in the end, I may still be flapping my arms.

However, there were a few tips I read that I will be incorporating into my pre-trip training regimen to hopefully make high altitude activities as enjoyable as possible while in Peru. Currently, I would consider myself to be of average fitness level, definitely not above average (Ignas is superior).

Cardiovascular Fitness
This is a must. Typically, I set a miles/month goal for running, usually 30-40 miles per month. For Peru, I plan to do a 30-40-50 mile goal from now until October. I'll probably throw in some biking, just to switch it up. I like to use the stationary bike at my gym because I can read or study my flashcards while I'm pedaling. Swimming was probably the most recommended exercise to prepare for high altitude hiking because it is a low oxygen activity. The key is to increase distance or intensity as the trip gets closer.

Hiking at High Elevations
Hiking in itself would be good training but the ideal practice would be to hike at high elevations. I read about Mt. Whitney and Mt. San Jacinto, which are two mountains in the Southern California area that I would like to trek before Peru. It was also suggested to wear a (heavy) backpack while hiking.

The path I plan to do interval training on.
Interval Training
Interval training is when you do an intense cardio exercise, rest (either by completely stopping or decreasing to a lower intensity), and then go full out again. There's a hill that leads to the beach path that I run at. I plan to run up that hill, walk back down, and then run back up again - slowly increasing the repetitions until Peru.

Other Suggestions
There were other interesting suggestions that I read about: snorkeling, wearing a gas mask while training, bilateral breathing while swimming, breathing through a straw... not sure about these but just wanted to throw them out there. 

On another note, my Arequipa > Cusco > Lake Titicaca plan from the previous post makes zero sense. I had hoped that we could go from Arequipa to Cusco and then on to Lake Titicaca since, in this order, these locations are in ascending elevation. Unfortuantely, this make zero geographical sense in terms of trip planning. Lake Titicaca is completely out of the way! Definitely going to keep this in mind when planning the final itinerary.

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