Check Out My Trash Bag and Altitude Running



So it turns out a nice little form of cross-training is to fall on the pavement like a dork…who knew?! Just kidding, it’s just that my stupid arms are sore and it feels like I was hefting around some dumbbells. Funny how a millisecond of impact can put a weight workout to shame.

Speaking of, today I did my usual recovery/easy run of 8 miles and change followed by my core and abs routine. I on was on the treadmill today, okay Oregon is worst than a menopausal woman when it comes to it’s weather. Yesterday was beautiful out there, dare I even say warm, and today it’s rainy and gross.

Never fear, the gym in my apartment complex, with it’s fabulous single fan for the whole place was nice and humid. I think I sweat out half my bodyweight. I don’t understand how people can stand working out in full on sweats or those trash-bag sauna suits, I’d probably just melt into a puddle of goo like the wicked witch of the west.

Well, people usually use those things for one of two reasons: 1) they think that if they workout in them they’ll lose weight faster. (these people really make me laugh) or 2) they are actually training for an event that is going to be done under extremely hot conditions and are acclimating themselves to these conditions.

The second group of people are SMART and are sweating like mad for a good reason. I know lots of athletes prepping for those Beijing Oly’s were donning some mad sauna suits. If you’re going to be racing in conditions that you aren’t living in, it’s smart to take other measure to mimic race day. Otherwise the shock of the conditions can lead to some pretty ugly results. Another example? Altitude.

When I was first starting out as a runner, I remember I had a race up in Reno, CA. I’d never run at any kind of altitude and Reno was definitely higher than sweaty old Sacto. I remember my mom and dad saying how it will probably feel harder than running at home, but being young I gave them the ‘ya, ya, ya’ thing and sort of brushed it off. Flash-forward a few miles and I was sucking major wind. The thing with altitude is that the longer your race/run the more it effects you. Actually sprinters love the whole race high thing because in the sprints the higher up you go the less wind resistance you have to work against. So they get faster times. Not so with anything more than a couple laps.

So if you’re going to be doing a race in a place much different from where you train it’s probably smart to do the best you can to simulate race day. For the heat thing those trash-baggy suits might come in handy. For altitude it’s a little trickier but here’s some tips:

* At least try to take a visit to a place at altitude before the big day so you can see how it affects you.

* Get there either weeks before or the day before. Anytime in the middle is the ‘you’ll feel extra crappy’ phase. The body has time to sort of acclimate if you get there a few weeks in advance, on the flip side your body hasn’t had time to fully absorb the shock of the less air if you get there the day of your race or the day before. Anytime in between and your body is in the adjustment phase and it’s not going to feel so hot.

* Be conservative. Going out too fast in a race is never the best way to go about it but at altitude the effects are infinitely worse…trust me on this one.

* Adjust your target time. The same perceived effort run at sea level will show up as a slower clock time at altitude. Plain and simple, they have conversion charts proving it. The longer the race, the slower the clock time will ‘feel.’ So don’t try to beat your sea level PR if your race is at altitude. Even if the clock time is slower and you know you’re in awesome shape, take a gander at some of those charts and it will make you feel better.

There are also folks that do the altitude training camps, but that’s not all too realistic for us regular folks. Of course to those peeps already living at altitude, they get the benefit of sucking down less wind on a regular basis and are used to it. The nice perk for them is when they go down and race at sea level they usually are pleasantly surprised that their same perceived effort shows up as, ta-da, faster ‘clock times’ and they can unexpectedly get a new PR. 🙂



That all said, backing up a bit in my post and addressing the first group of people running in those trash-bag suits (I know Kendra Wilkinson was one) you’re wasting your time. You’re only ‘losing’ water weight and as soon as you start drinking again you’ll magically ‘gain’ it back. Work on busting your butt in the gym sans suit and you’ll get there, I promise.

Saturday at the races, anyone who did one let’s hear it and brag on yourself!! Ummm, and anyone who is a track nerd like me will know that next week USA champs are upon us…some smoking track races to be sure..exiting stuff, peeps. 🙂

1) If you were so cool as to rock out a sauna suit, what color would you choose?

Lime green.g

2) Ever had the joy of running at altitude?

Such a pleasure…lol. Side note, altitude also makes some people has even worse stomach issues, of course I’m one of those people…fun stuff! 🙂

3) Workout today? Race today?

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9 thoughts on “Check Out My Trash Bag and Altitude Running

  1. A sauna suit?! Never heard of those, but they look COOL! 😛 I would go for bright yellow to go nicely with your lime green:)

    Nope, I've never run at altitude! I think your experience has put me off though haha! And my workout today was hot yoga! SO MUCH FUN!! Who needs a sauna suit when you can do that?! 😛

  2. haha…u sure u wouldn't wanna rock a lime green sauna suit during hot yoga? jk, they'd need to mop u up afterwards…lol!!

    ya, altitude running isn't all it's cracked up to be. 😉

  3. I would get hot pink. Then the three of us can be highlighter colours.

    I have never run a race at high altitude and you have made me not to want to run one. ever.

    I had a 5K race today. I have NEVER run such a short race. It was so small and went by so fast. It felt really weird. But the weather was nice and I had a good run 🙂

  4. heck ya…power to the day-glo trio!!

    what, u had a race today?!?!! glad u had fun, and i agree how when u're used to running longer races, those shorter ones seem to zip by. well, ask me that again in the final mile of a 5k or the last lap of a mile and i'm sure i'd reassess that statement…hehe. 🙂

  5. I've heard of these suits – a lot of my friends who were wrestlers in high school used to wear them. I never quite understood it but I guess there's no harm in trying right!?

    I'm hopefully going to get a workout in today but I had a killer headache yesterday so I'm contemplating just taking it easy. We'll see.

    Have a great Sunday!

  6. No sauna suit for me. If it's hot, I want to wear the least possible amount of clothes. I used to run in the snow in shorts. I'm a little less crazy these days, but you get the picture.

    Also, I'd rather keep some water in my system. I do sweat a ton as it is in normal running clothes. I don't sweat as bad in Idaho as I did in Texas, but it's a lot. They say that if you're in shape you'll sweat more than people who are out of shape, so that's how I justify feeling like a gross puddle of ooze.

    Altitude… I currently live at 3143 ft. I ran a race last weekend in Provo, UT, which was about 4500 ft, but it did not feel difficult to run. I thought I did well and felt even better after looking at an altitude conversion chart. My question is, which time do you use? Part of me feels like I'm "cheating" if I say I ran the converted time.

    That said, I think my PRs were converted. I honestly can't remember since it was so long ago. I ran them in Lubbock, TX, which is where I went to college. The altitude there was 3256 ft. I was used to it by then, but I remember the first few weeks of practice were rough since I came from Fort Worth (612 ft).

    I didn't even know about this stuff back then, but it has its advantages now that I do. I feel great when I race back home or at lower elevation. So of course I ran my first marathon in Eugene (430 ft) and I'm running my next in Houston (125 ft). I'm smarter than I look 😉

  7. I like your altitude running tips. Luckily I live at altitude right now so I love the feeling like if I can run in the Utah mountains…I can run anywhere. okay maybe not anywhere but I feel like it is easier to transition. This past Christmas though I went home to KY for a few weeks…when I came back to UT it felt like I had never run before…it was SO tough and I had to stop at least like 6 rimes on my 8 mile run.

    Those trash bag suits are crazy. I could not even imagine wearing those things but if I was forced to it better be bright and amazing like neon orange! haha!

    sounds like you had an awesome workout this weekend 🙂 have a wonderful Sunday!

  8. awww, cait numb 2, i'm sorry to hear about ur headache and i hope by now u're feeling better. 🙁

    txgirl, nice to hear that theory on being in better shape means u'll naturally sweat more! i'll take it and run with it…ya, guilty of lame pun right here! okay, as for altitude: i feel the same kind of 'guilt' for conversion charts and listing pr's. case in point, converting a 1500 to a mile or 3000 to a 2miler. but i think for altitude you should def be more than okay with taking the lower time because trust me altitude makes a heck of a difference. also, u know that if u were to run the exact same race but at sea level u'd have run faster. now, i think u're gonna rock at those sea level marathons because u're training up high and once those lungs can actually breath all that air u'll be feeling like superwoman. 🙂

    julia, i actually was totally thinking about u and ur sis for this post! baby sis mentioned how she was feeling that altitude on her run and i thought, "my gosh, the girl does her first 1/2 up there…she's a champ!" i commented at the time but wanted to tell her that what she just ran at that race, she gets double props for because it would have felt SOO much easier had it been at sea level like she was used to. 🙂 same goes for u, but u already knew u were a rockstar. i hope u too are having a wonderful weekend!

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