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Adjusting to Altitude

Tips for coaches and athletes related to adjusting to altitude.

For many runners coming to this year’s USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Our city is located at 5,000 feet above sea level, and this is a significant adjustment for athletes coming from lower elevations. Even for athletes with high levels of fitness, effects of altitude can be significant.

A few tips from the LOC about adjusting to the altitude at this year’s championships
  1. Stay well hydrated – this is critical to feel one’s best at higher elevation, and is also important to minimize the chance of altitude sickness. This applies for athletes, coaches, and family members!
  1. Athletes may find that breathing feels more labored when running hard at altitude, due to lower air pressure when compared to sea level. We suggest that your runners get in 1-2 runs, including some harder effort, prior to race day to allow them to get used to how they will feel on race day.
  1. Expect that some athletes will notice more effects from the altitude than others
  1. Altitude sickness is not common at our altitude, occurring usually at altitudes of 7,000 feet or above. Symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, upset stomach, feeling unsteady, shortness of breath. Again, staying well hydrated is the best way for athletes to avoid symptoms, and if you think that anyone in your group is beginning to show symptoms, they should rest and keep hydrated.
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