High altitude training: demoralizing

Hi all--I'm new here--I live in the US and did the couch to 5k program years ago. This month I decided to do it again and was disappointed to discover that you now have to pay for the US couch to 5k app so I decided to try out the NHS podcasts. I really like them so far! My husband and I are on week three, but I'm finding running at a high altitude (almost 8000 feet) to be very challenging. Last year we were regularly running 3 miles per run at sea level. It's going to get easier right? I hate being so out of breath.


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  • Well, as I have recently put on another post - I can't really breathe much above 7000ft and get quite poorly so you are doing brilliantly. Back to sea level you will be breaking world records!!

  • LOL or at least be able to finish--We already decided we are going to do our next 5k at sea level. I swear It feels like the start of an asthma attack for the first 1/2 mile, but I know it could be much worse.

  • Doing ANYTHING at 8000ft is going to be a challenge, and presumably you don't have many flat stretches to run on either, so well done for even considering it!

    If you were running 3 miles regularly last year, chances are your fitness hasn't completely disappeared and this is mainly an altitude thing.

    To be honest, I'd advise getting the breathing under control to a reasonable level of being out of breath at the end of a run. Repeat weeks if necessary, there's no shame in doing that at all. The mantra on here is to slow down, and you really will need to slow down.

    On the plus side, I live at about 2000ft and don't have any flat routes, and it has just got hot here (25 degrees C at about 9am when I did my last run), but I find that if I run in the UK I can run much better than up here!

  • Wow that is hot!! The mornings are always cool here (due to the altitude) and we have very low humidity. And almost no bugs...lots of lizards, but no bugs. We always joke that we moved to Mars as the climate and terrain in New Mexico is so different from the East coast.

  • Just wondering what the lizards eat if there are no bugs?!

    Today as there was a chameleon in the tree outside the classroom I was teaching in. Fortunately the kids didn't spot it and point it out to me until the end of class, otherwise I might have got a bit distracted!

  • I guess I should have qualified that there are relatively few flying bugs (mosquitoes, flies, gnats). Ants? There are a lot of ants. These are the lizards I see everywhere. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_M...

  • You'll get used to whatever you're running in. High elevation, hills, temperatures. But what you absolutely need to do after you complete the program, and next time you're at sea level on vacation, is book a race. You'll feel like a star.

  • Thanks for the encouragement. A 5k at sea level is what is keeping me going at this point!

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