Running at Elevation: Santa Fe, My Old Friend

Bonus points to anyone who hears music and can tell me what movie that’s in. I’ll give you a hint, it came out in 1992.

Give up?


Well actually, Santa Fe is my new friend. This is my first time visiting New Mexico. Yes! A new state for me and more progress on my 30 Before 30.

Mr. Huzzah and I are in Santa Fe for a long weekend with 2 of our friends from home. A little post Christmas with the extended family vacation if you will. We have a few must-do activities scheduled, but have a bit of free time to do some exploring.

The scheduled activities:

    Skiing. We are debating between Santa Fe and Taos, or maybe both. We will definitely ski at least one day, if not two.

Since we are also in half marathon training mode, we also have to do a 7 mile long run on Saturday, which will be the longest run I have done since the Hot Chocolate 15K on December 10. 7 miles is a mental challenge for sure. This is made even more daunting by the fact that Santa Fe at altitude!

In case you were wondering, Santa Fe is 7265 feet above sea level. That is 2000 feet higher than “mile high” Denver! Whoa.

I did a little research on preparing for elevation. Here is what I learned:

    Acclimate. If you have a race planned, arrive a day or two beforehand to give your body time to adjust. In fact, if you stay long enough (at least 2 weeks) your body will actually modify it’s production of red blood cells.
    Hydrate. Start drinking more water when arriving at a higher altitude. This helps your body acclimate to the air. My lesson in most things fitness and health related is to drink plenty of water.
    Avoid Alcohol. Alcohol is a respiratory depressant which can further tax your heart and lungs that are already working harder.
    Run by effort. Diminished oxygen at higher altitudes means your body will have to work harder to run at the same pace. This means I’m going to pay attention to my heart rate and breathing and SLOW down. It is just a training run after all.

To learn more, eHow Health has a few good articles on the subject.

QOTD: Have you ever run at altitude? Could you feel a difference?

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