Couch to 5K
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W7 & W8R1 @ 1300m higher altitude? Possible?

I'm doing Couch to 5K to participate in a 5k at my son's school on April 26, but I'll be in Denver, Colorado, US, from 29 March-6 April, and I'm worried that I won't be able to complete my Week 7 and 8 runs with the altitude difference. I live at 266 m altitude, and Denver is 1609 m.

Does anyone have any experience with altitude differences? I don't know how much of a difference the altitude will make on my ability to run.

I want to stay on my training schedule so I know I'll be ready for the 5k at the end of April, but I don't know whether I should repeat the runs when I get home or just go on to the next ones if I can't complete the runs during my trip.

Thanks for any wisdom!

5 Replies

Medically 'High altitude' refers to heights that are between 1,500 and 3,500m above sea level. I've not run at high altitudes, however I've hiked extensively in mountain regions and have not experienced any drop in performance before about 3,000m. However, everybody reacts differently and it is impossible to predict how anyone will react to the different atmospheric conditions. Acute mountain sickness can be experienced as low as 1,800m/6,000ft.

I'd run on the last day before leaving home. then take two days to acclimatise at height when you reach Denver. It's probably best to rest on your first day there, then on the second day try going for short walks to see how you feel. If you feel up to running the following day try a very slow run and see how your body copes.

(When we were hiking in the Andes we were given Coca leaf tea to help prevent altitude sickness, but I don't suppose that is on offer in Denver! ;-) )


Thank you, swanscot! I was hoping someone would tell me not to worry about it. I'm going to just run like I'm at home and assume success. Coca leaf! Wowsa!


Enjoy your running in Denver.


Hey swanscot! Thank you again for the encouragement! Today is my last day in Denver, and I completed all four of my runs here; W6R3 and all of Week 7. I didn't take a break when I got here. I was too afraid I would let myself take a break for the whole week. So I ran the very next morning and every alternate day since. I'm very happy I made it. I finished my run this morning going up a very steep hill and couldn't manage to go much faster at all when Laura said to finish strong, but at least I finished. And I felt wonderful after I'd warmed down. I can't believe I only have 6 more runs in the program.

Hopefully I've developed some extra red blood cells from my week of running in Denver and running at home will be even better!


I was thinking about you when I was out running on Friday, but unfortunately couldn't remember your name to check in the directory to see if you'd posted again. I'm pleased to read you coped very well with the altitude, and hopefully you'll fly through your runs when you get home.


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