following articles provide more information for those planning an
altitude training trip. As
well as practical advice, athletes share their altitude training
factsheet gives advice on the training at altitude, and gives useful
tips to help you stay fit and healthy at altitude.
your Altitude Training Trip Factsheet
factsheet lists some of the essential things to pack, some of the most
popular places to do altitude training, and what things you should
consider when choosing a destination.
at Altitude Factsheet
at altitude is very difficult! This factsheet aims to highlight
some of the difficulties, and give you some pointers to help you enjoy
and Travel Fatigue Factsheet
long distances may result in fatigue and symptoms which are
detrimental to performance. Travelling across multiple time
zones (e.g. to Mexico, the US or Australia), will also result in some
degree of jetlag. Measures can be taken to reduce these
symptoms. For more information, read the above factsheet.
Iron and Anaemia Factsheet
Get your iron and haemoglobin levels check regularly, particularly
before and after periods of altitude training.
Travel Advice Factsheet
General Travel Worksheet
makes up a very large part of an athlete's life. It doesn't have
to be a stressful waste of time that impedes performance though.
The above advice sheet and worksheet can be used to help plan your
trips, and make them as productive and hassle-free as possible.
key to performing and training well, is eating well. Good
nutrition is even more important when you travel. The above
factsheet points out some of the things to look out for, and give some
guidelines to keep you healthy, nurished and performing at your best.
external resources and articles of interest
by me published in Athletics Weekly, 18th Oct available online.
Alternatively the magazine with the print edition of the article (with
all the pretty pictures) can be purchased online
training and team sports -
Special supplement of the British Journal of Sport
and Exercise Science.
with the Kenyans -
Adharanand Finn's Guardian blogs from his travels
to the town of
on a six-month mission to discover the secrets of
's elite runners.
should athletes compete after returning to sea level
- Article from
training: Challenging conventional wisdom -
BBC article, including video footage from Iten, Kenya, by US Olympic
team physiologist Randall L Wilber
article on Paula Radcliffe training in Albuquerque and dreaming of
your altitude -
Version of Google maps which allows you to find out the altitude of
each point on the earth.
Wilkinson's Altitude Experiences, Apr 2011
Year University of Birmingham Student and GB International James
Wilkinson (pictured below, left, with University of Birmingham and GB
teammate, Nick Goolab) is keen to build on the European medal successes that he has
had as a junior, and already includes altitude training stints into his
annual training plan. As James explains, there is not only
physiological benefits to altitude training; planned periods of
training in inspiring environments away from the routine can work
wonders for motivation and focus.
2009 James won an unexpected silver medal in the 3,000m steeplechase
at the European Junior T&F Championships in Novi Sad, and followed
it up with an individual bronze and team gold in the Junior race at
the European Junior Cross Country later that year. His greatest
achievement to date, however, is no doubt his 6th place finish in the
Senior Race at the UK Intercounty Championships in 2010, and his
subsequent selection to represent GB&NI in the Senior race at the
World Cross Country Championships while still a teenager. As
James's list of honors continues to grow, altitude training will
continue to play an important role in his training, as he now
the end of this summer, I will graduate from the University of
Birmingham after three years of studying Sport and Exercise Science. My
immediate plan for the next year is to train full time whilst spending
extended periods of time at altitude throughout the year, made more
possible through the UKA altitude initiative. Training at altitude has
known physiological benefits which are hugely important for endurance
runners. Aside from the physiological advantages, there are also, the
often over-looked, psychological rewards. Training at altitude enables
athletes to focus 100% on their sport without the distractions of home
life. An improved focus combined with the physiological boost is the
main motivation behind my plan for next year.
I have trained at altitude on three occasions. These trips were to
Font Romeu in France, St Moritz in Switzerland and Iten in Kenya. Both
the Kenya and the France trip were with UKA. I often get asked which
place I prefer, I really can’t decide between them. I thoroughly
enjoyed all of the trips. Hopefully I can give you an insight into
what each of these venues has to offer.
Moritz and Font Romeu are very similar in that they are both ski towns
at a similar altitude (Approx 1800m). One huge benefit of these places
is that they are located in Europe. This makes them much easier for
travel both logistically and financially. Kenya
is very different to these towns. The climate, altitude (2400m), and
the way of life are all very unlike France and Switzerland.
Moritz was my first altitude training trip. I went in September 2009
with two club mates (Joe and Nick). Altitude training was very new to
us and we loved every bit of the trip. We stayed there for 3 weeks in
total and came back a lot fitter than before the trip. The difference
with St Moritz was the variety of running. Straight from the apartment
there was a track, numerous lakes and many forest paths to explore.
After experiencing two other altitude trips this significantly sets St
Moritz apart from other places.
September 2010 I went to Font Romeu with a small group of British
athletes as part of a UKA altitude setup. Font Romeu is located at an
altitude of approx 1900m, a very similar height to St Moritz (1800m).
One major difference in Font Romeu and St Moritz was the price. Font
Romeu is considerably cheaper than St Moritz; however it is not
lacking anything. Font Romeu is very similar in price to many other
holiday destinations; where as St Moritz is more expensive due to its
as mentioned earlier the variety of running is better in St Moritz.
This variety is available in Font Romeu, however a car is needed.
Moritz and Font Romeu are brilliant venues to train in. The facilities
are brilliant and the atmosphere of these towns is great. Very
traditional and friendly.
most recent altitude trip was to Iten in Kenya. Iten is located at an
altitude of 2400m; it is classed as the running Mecca of the world.
The sheer number of runners out in Iten was amazing. One early morning
run with a Kenyan group saw over 100 athletes running together! The
facilities are basic but as a trip to the track will show, you don’t
need world class facilities to be a world class runner.
Kenya was a brilliant experience and if you can afford it, I
would definitely recommend a trip here. It really is an experience!
conclusion, I really can’t decide which altitude venue I prefer. I
loved every one of the trips and I would jump at the chance to return
to any. I wholeheartedly recommend all venues and I hope to return to
all 3 in the near future.'
James for your insight. I think it's fair to say that James's
advise is that if you
have the opportunity to travel to any of the wonderful altitude
training venues available, you'd be well advised to take up that
opportunity, no matter where it is.
Waldron's Albuquerque Experiences, Dec 2010
up, Sarah Waldron, University
Birmingham Graduate, and
New Mexico Student, shares her thoughts on adapting to life at altitude in Albuquerque. Sarah missed out
on 3 consecutive European Cross Country Championships between 2006 and
2008, by the narrowest of margins, but after spending just a few
months at her new training venue in New Mexico, Sarah not only made
the GB&NI team, but earned a well deserved, and long-overdue, team
gold with the British U23 quartet.
August 2010 I accepted a full athletics scholarship to the University
New Mexico (UNM). It was an opportunity which I had been offered for a number of
years, but one which I had never been ready to take. In the end, the
decision to go out was still a last minute one (end of May) - but I am
pleased to say that I have absolutely no regrets. I feel as though I
have benefited hugely from it and hope I continue to do so.
which really attracted me to UNM, rather than other American
Universities, is that it is situated at high altitude in Albuquerque (ABQ). I was
slightly apprehensive at first as I knew that there was potential for
me to get sick as my body tried to adapt to the altitude. I had been
to altitude once before (Potchefstroom,
South Africa) and had stomach trouble. I knew that my body would also need to get
use to the hotter climate. When I got out there, the coach told me
that we needed to ease into training. I love doing hard runs, so I
found it really difficult to restrict myself – but now I am very
glad I did. So many people don’t – and then they regret it. After
I had settled into a routine of training I started to push on – but
one vital thing that I have now learned is that you need more recovery
at altitude. Also, you need to eat more as there is more stress placed
on your body. Iron levels can have a huge impact on performance and my
dosing has doubled from the quantity I was taking in the UK.
is never a cloud in the sky in ABQ – you will always see the sun.
It’s usually a lot warmer in the afternoon than the morning when it
can be a bit nippy, and it gets very cold at night. The terrain is
good – fairly forgiving but I do wish there was more grass. Without
a car I am unable to get to much green grass, and even with one I
would somewhat struggle to find any large amount. They just don’t
have the parks that we have in England!
for a Sunday run we have the beautiful foothills, which are great for
training at altitude…mind you, you have to be careful not to get
lost! There’s so many
paths you can take – you can never get bored!
Something I also love about training in ABQ is the facility to
do tempos – long and hard - which are so important for fitness.
There’s a straight path which is ideal so that you can monitor your
mile times to make sure that you are working at the correct intensity
and monitor progress. If
you have a car you can also go to places like Sante Fe which is even
higher than ABQ.
Americans are very friendly and so ABQ has a great atmosphere. It
attracts all kinds of athletes. At Academy (which I would need a
car to get to – nice trails) and the foothills in particular, I see
joggers out quite frequently, and also elite runners from all over the
World including Japanese and Kenyan marathon runners.'
Thanks to Sarah for taking time out of her busy training schedule
to share her experience and advice.
you have been to altitude, have a favorite venue, or can offer advice
to athletes, and would like to write a short piece for this website,