A Guide To High Altitude
Books to Improve your Running
Training at a high altitude can be a unique challenge for most runners; however,
there are also benefits to this type of training. Runners who live at a higher
elevation are likely already used to training at this elevation and have usually
already made the necessary modifications to their training plan to ensure they
will avoid many of the dangers often associated with physical exertion at a high
altitude. This article will examine some of the advantages of training at a high
altitude and will also offer advice for runners who are training at a high
altitude for the first time.
Training at a high altitude gives runners a competitive edge over those who
train at sea level when placed in direct competition. Whether the high altitude
dweller goes down to sea level to compete in a race or his counterpart at sea
level comes to a higher elevation to race, the runner who lives and trains at a
high elevation will likely have a distinct advantage. This advantage is likely
to come in the form of an increased red blood count which enables the body to
carry oxygen more efficiently and more quickly through the body. Runners who
live and train at a higher elevation typically have elevated red blood cell
counts because there is less oxygen available at these higher altitudes.
Therefore the runnerís body generates more red blood cells in an effort to make
the runner more efficient at circulating oxygen. This elevated number of red
blood cells remains for several days after the runner has left the high altitude
location. Therefore the runner may travel to a race at sea level and enjoy the
benefits of his increased red blood cell count for a number of days.
While training at a high altitude does have some obvious advantages, there are
also some precautions which runners must take when training at a higher
elevation. This is especially true for runners who have only recently arrived at
the higher elevation and are not yet acclimated. These runners are advised to
keep their training relatively light for at least the first couple of days until
their body has had the opportunity to adjust to the lower levels of oxygen
Runners who are new to training at altitude should also take specially care to
ensure they are properly
hydrated while running. This is important because runners may be more
susceptible to dehydration at higher altitudes. Additionally, adequate fluid
intake can also be beneficial for helping the runner to adjust to the higher
altitude. Runners may initially notice their heart rate for certain levels of
exertion are typically higher until they properly adjust to the new elevation.
This is normal and once the runner becomes acclimated to the altitude his heart
rates should be similar to the heart rates he experienced while at sea level.
Finally, runners who are training at altitude should be aware of the symptoms of
altitude sickness and should stop running and seek medical attention if they
experience symptoms such as lightheadedness and nausea. While these symptoms may
subside shortly after the runner stops running, lingering symptoms may be a sign
of a more serious condition and should be examined immediately.