We’re just under 30 days out from the 58th edition of the DeCelle Memorial Lake Tahoe Relay! With Lake Tahoe standing at an elevation of 6,229’, this might be a bit more challenging for some while others think nothing of it. Over the years, you may have heard about professionals moving to higher elevations to train and improve their times. Is it really that big of a competitive advantage? Surprisingly, no. In the ENTIRE history of the Lake Tahoe Relay, only one local team has EVER won it. What does this mean to you? It means it’s anyone’s game! For those still concerned about the elevation and not thinking positively of winning, here’s a quick run-down of why our environment can be more of a challenge for some YET how to prepare for running a successful race at altitude. You can do it!
Why Does Elevation Affect You?
First up, why does altitude affect folks? The basic science behind it is that the higher above sea level you go, the less oxygen is available to power your muscles, leading to an increased risk of dehydration. Specifically at 6,000’, you have 17% less oxygen available to you compared to 8,000’ @ 25% less oxygen. So, how can YOU prepare for being at a higher altitude?
Tips On Running At Altitude
For all of us, we’re very fortunate that our bodies naturally adapt to their surroundings. But, there are several simple things you can do to make it a bit easier on yourself.
Drink Lots Of Water:
When first arriving, be conscious to drink LOTS of water, especially when you don’t feel thirsty. It’s very easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it. This is due to the elevation and the air being so dry. To combat this, you need to make sure you drink more water than you normally would.
Stay Away From The Booze:
Alcohol naturally dehydrates your body and will slow your adjustment to the elevation. Stick with water and elctrolytes to keep hydrated!
Pump Some Iron:
We’re not talking weight lifting here, but rather eat foods rich in iron such as meat and greens along with vitamin C to help with absorption. Your body needs iron to create more blood cells, which will translate to feeling better at higher elevations.
Bread and French Fries Are Your Best Friend:
Normally, people avoid carbohydrates but when you first arrive at altitude, be sure to increase your carb intake at least 70%! It takes a WHOLE lot less for you to process carbs than any other type of food. Your body high up in the mountains will apprecieate it.
Slow Your Roll:
We know you’re just as excited as us about the race but listen to your body. You might want to run at an 8:00 min/mile pace but don’t push it. Instead, look at the gorgeous views around you, absorb the experience and enjoy the race no matter what pace you run!
If you follow these basic tips, you’ll feel good, look good, and most of all enjoy the experience.