This type of psychological theory can be pretty daunting. Put in more time and effort and you may feel trapped! I prefer a more positive interpretation. I think that when you create a medium-term training or process goal (as opposed to a race or performance goal) you are more likely to think of yourself as a serious athlete and therefore start being more dedicated in your commitment to training. This means prioritizing sleeping, eating, core strength and all of those one-percenters.
When we bring the brain chemistry into the equation though things get really interesting. Renshaw posits that when coming to altitude, people experience an increase in dopamine and a decrease in serotonin.
What’s interesting is that some people feel better at altitude, while others suffer from the depressive like symptoms. Renshaw suggests that in these cases the increase in dopamine supersedes the decrease in serotonin, and that this likely occurs in those who are born at altitude. These are the people who move away from the mountains and yearn to be back home.
On the flip side, if the drop in serotonin levels predominate then people are more likely to feel the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and so forth.
What’s more is that, how they react depends on whether a person moved to Utah and altitude, or was born there. This could be seen as evidence for an adaptation or epigenetic component.
The point is that if Renshaw’s theory is correct, it means that those susceptible to low serotonin levels, such as those that have tendencies towards anxiety, mood disorders, depression, etc. might have a much harder time adjusting to altitude. The mood disturbances will predominate.
On the other hand, those who may need some more dopamine, but have plenty of serotonin to spare, might thrive at altitude. They might be the outdoor adventure seekers who need the high of another hit of dopamine to keep them going.