If you’re not used to running at high elevations, the first time you hit the sky-high trails, you may notice that your head hurts, you feel nauseous, you’re coughing more than normal, or your hands and feet are swelling beyond their normal size. Worst case scenario, you could even develop fluid in your lungs or around your brain, called pulmonary or cerebral edema, which is all of the more reason to train for any exercise that you’re going to do higher above sea level so you don’t face these types of unpleasant and possibly even deadly consequences.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Go slow. While you may be used to running long distances at lower levels, you don’t want to take on too much at higher elevations until your body has time to acclimate.
- Stay hydrated. Because working out at high elevations tends to be dehydrating on the body, make sure you drink enough before, during, and after your running sessions.
- Skip the coffee. Anything with caffeine in it is going to dehydrate you more, possibly compounding the effects, so skip your coffee (or at least limit your intake) and you’ll likely feel better as a result.
- Don’t overdo the alcohol. Drinking alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to adjust your breathing as you climb higher in altitude, so stick to water the night before a high elevation run and you likely won’t face this issue.
- Eat your carbs. Eating carbohydrates causes your body to produce more carbon dioxide, further enhancing your ability to breathe at higher elevations, so bring on the pasta!
- Get natural sleep. If you tend to take medications to help you get a good night’s sleep, nix them before running at higher elevations so they don’t interfere with your ability to finish your run safely and effectively.
If you run at high elevations, what would you add to this list?