220 Triathlon




Any tips for dealing with mad elevation gain at altitude? My heart feels like it’s going to leap out of my chest when I run! Dean Breed A

Exercising at altitude is more challengin­g because, simply, the air is thinner, and you get less oxygen per breath, meaning you have to reduce your effort.

To a certain degree, you can train this through altitude training, which will help. However, you won’t be able to push the same effort. In other words, running at 5mins/km on flat terrain at sea level does not have the same physiologi­cal effect on your body as it does running at 5mins/km at 2,500m.

So for the equivalent power running at 5mins/km, you will need to drop your power by about 10-12%, even if you’re acclimatis­ed at 2,500m. If unacclimat­ised, you may see a drop of about 15-16% of your sea-level power.

After reducing your effort, the additional elevation gain may be enough to consider reducing your effort further as you climb.

Additional­ly, running with power has allowed us to start identifyin­g various thresholds based on the gradient: you’ll have different threshold powers at different percentage gradients.

Therefore, the best way to deal with severe changes in elevation if you don’t have the power data to work off is to go a little easier than you may have thought before, and try and dial into your effort rather than be forced by numbers on gradients. You may even find it as fast, but considerab­ly easier, to power walk or adopt a run/walk strategy!

Additional­ly, due to the reduced oxygen, you will need to drink more fluids and burn more carbohydra­tes. Both these factors can make your perceived effort harder.

Philip Hatzis

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