If you wanted to get the maximum out of your altitude training, make sure first of all, that you got all the necessary nutrients in your body at correct levels or even a bit higher than optimal.
You could take a supplement for all the mentioned on the primary image, but I find that B12 / IRON / EAA and hydration are the most crucial for most athletes. Folic acid and folate can be also something that especially females are lacking of. I also observed during the last basically 3 decades, that because of judgement, girls, women and female athletes do not drink enough quality mineral rich water. Get over it girls and boys, bosses and coaches, teachers and professors. Women need more time to go to pee and need a more “hidden” place to pee. There is a ratio in-between RBC / WBC / Plasma. If you don’t drink to add water and minerals to increase plasma volume, you won’t have enough place for extra RBCs, or your body will force RBC into the lack of plasma, so you’ll have thicker blood. Do you remember Armstrong’s book where we’ve read, that the cyclists had to wake up during the night to drink and to ride their bikes, when overdosed on EPO ?
EAAs or essential amino acids are also necessary for fast and healthy red blood cell formation. Essential enzymes are found in the RBC plasma membrane and while we know that they are there, most of their functions are a kind of still under research.
Relax. You do not need to strain 3 times a day to get the benefits. The shorter time you spend at altitude, the least you must train. You should be focusing on adapting and creating blood cells, instead of spending energy on training and using your body battery for recovering.
I am not sure what is the length of stimulation needed for triggering new RBC creation, but apparently the procedure takes about two days, in case of normal circumstances. If you had the stress of the altitude, the stress of training and maybe other external stresses, nutritional deficiencies, bad sleep hygiene and incorrect hydration habits, most likely your altitude training length must be longer. You might not even engage in any adaptations, just extra fatigue. While someone else who is totally chill, eating and sleeping like a baby and doubling in on mineral rich water, might trigger measurable gains after only 3 days.
The initial state of each athlete is different. Personally I find that a place to stay at around 1600 to 1800m is the best, so I can go and train above 2000ms and get back down to sleep and live without being winded and too fatigued. If I had more time, I would choose a refuge for instance at the Col d’Allos, Col de la Cayolle or Madone de Fénestre, what are around 2000m height and would be training in the area under and over 2000ms.
Type of training
Often we do not understand the stress of the altitude. It is major and important. When our goal is really the adaptation and RBC creation and we stay short, I would really just do Z1 / Z2 training. It could be long or very long, like 10h a day, but really easy and chill. Hiking, cycling, nordic walking. Of course, if my future races are close, I would not do that, but shorter 1 to 2hour sessions and technique drills. It really depends on thousands of factors !
Thanks for reading this. Please comment and discuss if needed !