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Tips For Training in High Altitudes and High Humidity

Help! Training in Tough Conditions

FitSugar reader amusesbouche posted this in the RunningSugar community group. Can you offer her some advice?

FitSugar readers, I need your help! I'm training for a half marathon in July, and I've been following a training regimen pretty closely. Problem is, I'll be traveling a bit in the next month before my half, and mostly in tough training conditions.

One weekend, I'll be in Colorado, at an altitude of 8,000-plus feet. I've never run at high altitude, but I imagine it's about 10,000 times harder — as if training weren't hard enough already!


Another weekend — the weekend of my 13-mile long training run — I'll be in Houston. No high altitudes, but knowing my hometown, I'll pretty much die running by myself (I usually run with others), for 13 miles, in 100 degree heat with 100 percent humidity.

Guys, I'd love any advice you might have for training. I'll only be in each location for three to four days, but that's enough to impact me, since I typically save my longer training runs for Saturdays. Help!!

Have any other burning questions or helpful tips about running? Post them in RunningSugar and they could be featured here on FitSugar.

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Join The Conversation
redmed redmed 7 years
I agree with ChloeBella, if you try to do your longest workout in heat or humidity you will probably get discouraged-- especially if you are new to running. I would actually worry more about the altitude than the humidity. In Houston you could always find a gym with an indoor track, use a treadmill, or simply run VERY early in the morning before the heat of the day. But, altitude is another story. You can't escape it. Some people are very susceptible to altitude, even to the point of getting altitude sickness (believe me it's not fun). You will NOT become acclimated to the thin dry air for several weeks, so you won't gain anything by pushing yourself those 3-4 days you will be in Colorado. I would move your harder training runs or long run to any other day before or after your trip. You may not notice a difference your first day there, but altitude is a cumulative thing. Your body has to breathe faster to account for the lack of oxygen it is receives with each breath. It is SO important to stay hydrated while you are in Colorado. Not only because the air is very dry, but you are breathing faster, which leads to more water loss. Force yourself to drink water and gatorade while you are there. Know some of the signs of altitude sickness: fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and headache. Listen to your body, and do what you can. These few days out of town won't be what makes or breaks your race. Congrats on sticking to a training routine and good luck with your half marathon!
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I posted an answer to this when it was in Runningsugar, but to repeat what I said - I agree with noodledancer. If you're only away on the weekends, reschedule your long runs for during the week. Also, I would consider moving your 13 mi Houston run up a week or back a week, depending on where it is in your schedule. If you try to do your longest run in heat and humidity that you aren't accustomed to, it won't go well and you'll end up getting needlessly discouraged about your race.
michlny michlny 7 years
I run in NYC all the time and I could NOT run in Vail!! Just cross train -- hike and walk fast up all the amazing mountains!!
amybdk amybdk 7 years
I absolutely agree with Bplasters: you will most certainly notice the altitude change in Colorado. She gave you some great advice which I encourage you to follow. It took me over a year to acclimate to the change, so don't get down on yourself if you have a rough time. Where in Colorado will you be, if you don't mind me asking?
damsel427 damsel427 7 years
Amusesbouche - when I was training for my first long distance race, I travelled to Pheonix when I was supposed to do one of my long runs. I'd never been there before and was afraid of running by myself not knowing anything about the city, so I contacted a running group there. They were very nice and offered for me to run with them (they were even doing about the same distance as me). I myself live in Houston and am part of a big running group. Our group has their long runs on Saturday mornings and you are more than welcome to join us for a run while you are in town. If you are interested, PM me and I can give you details about our group or help you with places to run.
Miss-Bree Miss-Bree 7 years
I live in city is roughly a mile high, and when I go to altitude (my mother lives on mountain property) I have trouble handling it. You WILL notice the difference. Unlike when i run on vacations at sea level , where I can go for miles and miles, at altitude it does get very difficult to breathe. Just do shorter intervals with more moderate jogging in between, and don't overestimate or over exert yourself. My biggest problem with working out at altitude is pushing myself too hard, hitting a serious wall, and getting down on myself. Just pace yourself and you'll be golden. And hey, once you've been training at altitude, it will be that much easier to run your marathon! woot!
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
I feel your pain! I hate running in humidity, it makes me feel like I am running underwater. Maybe for Houston you could try running super early in the morning. After a particularly humid day I ran at at 6 something in the morning and I could see my breath! It was such a nice run! Or if worse comes to worse there is always the dreaded treadmill (shudder). But, I couldn't imagine running that many miles on the treadmill!
itsallabouttheg itsallabouttheg 7 years
it sounds like amusesbouche is just away for weekends, so if that's the case, the easiest thing would be to switch around your training schedule so she does her long run(s) on a week day before leaving town. otherwise, she should just do the best she can under unfamiliar conditions and get going early while in houston.
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