Running at Altitude

Yesterday’s 10 mile run was hard. I ran/walked the entire run in 10 minute intervals. When I say I walked, I really walked. I didn’t speed walk, I sauntered. I’m not sure if it was jet lag, lack of hydration or just my body struggling to adjust back to being at altitude, but it was just a blah run. I struggled to keep my overall pace just under 9:30 min/miles.

What helps when you’re running at high altitude? Well let me tell you.

-Allow yourself adjustment time. The thin air takes some getting used to. Allow your body time to adjust. Altitude sickness, marked by drowsiness, thirst, nausea, nose bleeds, etc. is no joke. Don’t go out for a long run just 24 hours after arriving from sea level.

-Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Drinking water or Gatorade just before a run will not hydrate you. True hydration takes several days. On an average day, I drink about 120-160 oz of water. I also take water with me when I’m running more than 5 miles.

-Sunscreen. I was an idiot yesterday and went out for my run without lathering up. I look like a lobster. At a mile high (or higher) you are closer to the sun. You need sunscreen! Typically, except for my brainfart yesterday, I put on at least 30 SPF sunscreen before a run, 50-60 SPF on my face. Wrinkles are not pretty at 27.

-Replace your electrolytes. I’m not a fan of sports drinks when I run. They do nothing good for my stomach. I do really like Nuuns tabs though. I split one tab to put into the two water bottles I carry in my Fuel Belt. The pink lemonade flavor is my favorite. I even drank these when I was in labor with Ella.

-Ease into your pace. If you’re not used to the altitude, you’re going to be sucking air trying to run your average pace. The air is definitely thin up here. The best plan of attack is to slowly easy into a comfortable pace and pick it up when you can.

This is one of those, do as I say, not as I do moments. I didn’t do any of these things before my run yesterday, though I did refuel and carry water with me on the run. I think my body has readjusted to being back from sea level. Hopefully tomorrow’s run will be much better!

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