Monday, June 15, 2009

Breathin' EASY

I've been very slug-like for the past week, minus one hot humid run and a short lap swim in Texas. This moring I had hoped to cycle commute to work, but it just isn't happening. But that's not what I want to post about...

I want to ruminate on my little Texas run for a bit.

Not sure what the elevation was exactly, but it clearly wasn't up at a mile above sea level like it is where I live.

I was scheduled for 4 miles easy. I didn't have my garmin, but I had my sport watch. We were running around a park on a course that was 1/2 mile long. I made note of the time on my watch at 3 miles which was 29:15. Now this works out to a 9:45 pace which is fairly close to my normal 5K pace, only this was an EASY run. Even if the route was a bit short, I was definately moving faster than I would on an EASY run at home.

I define an EASY run by the ability to hold conversation or talk while running. It's all about breathing easy.

Up here at altitude, it doesn't take much speed to push me past EASY. But down there, EASY was just easier.

I've always known that I *should* be able to run faster in an oxygen rich environment, and now I'm more interested in actually finding a race down at sea level and see what this body can do.

17 comments:

  1. Very interesting, i'd heard about the impact it can have, but was never really 'sold' on it. I'll be curious to hear about your comparison! Sounds like it was a great run and a huge confidence booster :)

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  2. Yeah, you'll blow your PRs away if you run at lower altitude.

    I went to high school in Albuquerque and my cousin's basketball team played in a tournament there (he went to school in Ohio). More than one of the guys nearly passed out from the higher altitude and lack of oxygen and these were super fit guys.

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  3. very cool that you could run faster - but this story does nothing for my fears I'd racing in Utah next month!!

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  4. That's pretty cool. The opposite happens to me, of course, and I'm huffing and puffing at altitude. You should definitely sign up for a sea-level race and see what happens!

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  5. Amazing what a difference it can make! I hope you can find a race to really out it to the test.

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  6. This is the exact reason I DON'T go to mile elevation. No way I could hang with your mountain runners.

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  7. Hmmmm, LOTS of sea level races in my neck of the woods.

    I am just saying....

    :o)

    p.s. I would kill for a 9:45 pace! Not literally, do not be afraid to come run with me!

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  8. A lower altitude can do a lot for making things easier, but sometimes runnign at sea level is trade off in terms of humidity and heat.

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  9. I find some days that flat is just easier, and part of that I think is mental as well.

    but hey, you never know until you try something to find out!!!

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  10. Wow very interesting. Your body can do a lot girlie!! Keep it going!!! AND GOING!

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  11. Like running on hills and in heat, I think running at altitude is harder. I know for a fact that I'm slower at 5000-6000 ft elevation than at sea level. Even noticed a difference at 3000 ft. There's a Daniels calculator that adjusts for various factors that I use to get an idea of what to expect when I run races in different locations and conditions:

    http://www.runworks.com/calculator.html

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  12. Sounds like a good plan! Plus it's fun to do different races on different courses too.

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  13. Wow, and cyclists seek the high mountains for special altitude training before big races (I bet you see a number of Tour de France contenders riding around Vail and Aspen right now) while you train at altitude all the time.

    I bet you would be surprised about new PB times you would post at sea level.

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  14. I've never trained at altitude so I don't know anything but sea level =).

    You should find a sea level race and go for it! Looks like you would have a great PR.

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  15. definitely find some lower elevation races!!!

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  16. I found out the same thing in Yellowstone. Not only was it winter cold in the morning, but at 6666 feet, I was out of breath in 5 minutes. After a 3rd walk break, it went better. The next day was much easier but I still had to walk. Didn't know what the problem was until I saw the sign that said "West Yellowstone. Alt. 6666." So my first experience at altitude. Glad to be back home at 900 feet.

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