For those of us living at sea level, the idea of running a relay at an average elevation of 4,500 feet sounds pretty scary. We imagine ourselves gasping for air, struggling up the hills, and generally having a rough time of it.
In actuality, the elevation will probably not be as much of a concern as you might think. Mosquitos will definitely keep your mind of it!! (And yes, be sure to bring plenty of bug spray. Those suckers are fierce.)
Here is some great advice provided by the Wild West Relay, which is run at some serious elevation (courtesy of Jon Sinclair of Anaerobic Management):
Make sure you stay well hydrated through the entire event. Most of us know that drinking fluids during a long race is important, but at altitude it is VITAL. Drink plenty of replacement fluid before, during, and after the marathon. Drinking replacement fluid is better than plain water. On rare occasions people have “overdosed” on plain water. Replacement fluid has enough electrolytes to keep your body in balance and it’s safe to drink copious amounts.
Be very conservative with anaerobic stress. Even living and training at 5000 feet we know that when we get into oxygen debt at higher altitudes it’s really tough to get back out. You should be cautious about running any harder than what feels reasonably comfortable. That’s a pretty tough task if you’re running a mean uphill or racing closely with another person, but it’s very important.
Be as fit and rested as you can be when you arrive. This may seem obvious as it’s good advice before any race, but in an altitude marathon it’s even more important. The best way to be prepared is to be well rested […]