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Sea Level is for Sissies

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Sea Level is for Sissies Empty Sea Level is for Sissies

Post  Tim M on Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:35 pm

"Sea Level is for Sissies" is the marketing slogan for the BolderBOULDER 10k held in Boulder, CO.

I live just below 6,000ft and have been running some trails above 8,000 ft.

This week I'm in San Diego at sea level. I noticed that my pace on an easy 7 mile run along the waterfront was about 1:30/mi to 2:00/mi faster than my easy run pace back home.

Running at sea level is easy.


Last edited by Tim M on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Jerry on Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:37 pm

Temperature low 69, high 76, of cause it is easy. lol!
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Post  Jim Lentz on Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:48 pm

Cool!
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Post  John Kilpatrick on Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:49 pm

That is cool and does not bode well for me if I ever want to run a race at elevation. Since I live at about 270 feet, I guess I'm a major sissy! If you check out our summer weather, though, I think we should get some credit for something though!

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Post  healdgator on Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:12 pm

@Jerry wrote:Temperature low 69, high 76, of cause it is easy. lol!

Exactly. Come join me in Orlando, buddy. We'll see about your easy pace run.
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Post  Dave-O on Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:54 pm

Blood doper!
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Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:41 am

Yep. When I went to the Grand Canyon (6600'), my "easy" pace was 1:00/mi slower and 3bpm higher HR.
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Post  Ken Mello on Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:54 am

Conversely, I traveled from Austin (around 900 ft) to Cloudcroft, NM (around 8600 ft) a few weeks ago. My running was UGLY way up there. Dead
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Post  Peg Coover on Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:01 am

I lived in Laramie WY for 3 years at 7200 feet. The summer we moved to Nebraska at 1800 feet was my best racing! Of course, I was also a lot younger and thinner then too, but I remember how easy it seemed to run here at the time, despite the humidity.
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Post  Alex Kubacki on Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:17 am

Geoffrey Mutai, who won Boston, just ran a Half Marathon down in Columbia at 8,530ft in 1:02. That's impressive.
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Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:12 am

@Alex Kubacki wrote:Geoffrey Mutai, who won Boston, just ran a Half Marathon down in Columbia at 8,530ft in 1:02. That's impressive.

Impressive is an understatement!
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Post  Chris M on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:26 am

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Yep. When I went to the Grand Canyon (6600'), my "easy" pace was 1:00/mi slower and 3bpm higher HR.



The Daniel's based RunWorks calcualtor doesn't predict there would be quite that impact. As an example, it says doing 10 miles at 8:00 pace at 6,000 feet is the equivalent of doing it at 7:37 pace at sea level. That's closer to the experience I've had going from the low lands where I normally run and heading to altitdude. Its harder, for sure. But I've never experienced the 1:00+ per minute pace drop-off you guys are describing. Last year I did 800s on back to back weeks, the first set at home, the 2nd set in Denver. They were about 10-15 seconds slower in Denver so my very unscientific experience had it as a 30 second pace impact. Medium length runs done in Denver - and I've got about 10-12 data points on those - seem to impact me about at that same kind of level....30 or so seconds per mile slower on those runs .... or running the same pace I'mused to "feels" like it should be 30 seconds faster.



The calculator is fun to play with. Take that same 10 miler done at 8:00 pace but done at sea level. If you did that run in 90 degree temps, they are saying that it would be a 7:37 pace on 60 degree day. Funny that it gets to the same impact on the pace. 90 degrees at sea level equal to 60 degrees at 6,000 feet in terms of impact on pace.



http://www.runworks.com/calculator.php
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Post  Diego on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:36 am

I agree with Chris. When I had a conference in Denver, my paces for runs were about the same as at home. The heart rate was a bit higher but the effort wasn't much different. I found the same thing when I went to Casper(4400-4900 feet depending on where I ran).



I do however, notice the same improvement as others when I was at altitude for a few weeks and then ran at sea level. I was 30 seconds faster and at a lower heart rate.



Running in Aspen wasn't very tough either, but I was also born at altitude, llived in Laramie 6800-7200 feet for 12 years and think I still acclimate very quickly.



So I think there is lots of individual variability in the response to altitude.


Last edited by jimd on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:37 am

Huh. So basically, I'm the sissy.
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Post  Diego on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:39 am

@Tim M wrote:"Sea Level is for Sissies" is the marketing slogan for the BolderBOULDER 10k held in Boulder, CO.

I live just below 6,000ft and have been running some trails above 8,000 ft.

This week I'm in San Diego at sea level. I noticed that my pace on an easy 7 mile run along the waterfront was about 1:30/mi to 2:00/mi faster than my easy run pace back home.

Running at sea level is easy.





Not on the North East Coast with a 40 mph wind in your face.Suspect
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Post  Nick Morris on Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:13 am

So what you are saying that the 1,100 foot elevation that I run at is nothing, huh?
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:43 pm

Well, Tim, you did forget to mention that there is absolutely no humidity to speak of in San Diego and the temperature is always around 70F.



I live at 1100' in Atlanta and at 1300' here in Ny - wish that helped, but again when I visit my husband in San Diego, those runs by the ocean always feel better.
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Post  Tim M on Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:15 pm

Sure I left out some details. The weather here in San Diego is amazing. Cool temps and low humidity, but the normal humidity levels in Denver are equally low.

So while it is a little cooler here, the biggest difference is flat paths at sea level versus hills at 6,000 ft.

I know individual results will vary.
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Post  Chris M on Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:21 pm

@Tim M wrote:Sure I left out some details. The weather here in San Diego is amazing. Cool temps and low humidity, but the normal humidity levels in Denver are equally low.

So while it is a little cooler here, the biggest difference is flat paths at sea level versus hills at 6,000 ft.

I know individual results will vary.



I did almost and should have mentioned hills. That is a HUGE difference and bigger in my mind than the elevation. That was why I referred to the track workout I did in Virginia at sea level vs Denver becaue the regular runs I do in Denver are ALWAYS so much more hilly than the flatter stuff around here so its harder to compare them. Add hills to already dealing with less air....yikes, gonna feel like a very different run. The calculator obviously won't capture the impact of that when simply comparing 6000 feet to 0.
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Post  Tim C on Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:19 pm

@Chris M wrote:
@Tim M wrote:Sure I left out some details. The weather here in San Diego is amazing. Cool temps and low humidity, but the normal humidity levels in Denver are equally low.

So while it is a little cooler here, the biggest difference is flat paths at sea level versus hills at 6,000 ft.

I know individual results will vary.



I did almost and should have mentioned hills. That is a HUGE difference and bigger in my mind than the elevation. That was why I referred to the track workout I did in Virginia at sea level vs Denver becaue the regular runs I do in Denver are ALWAYS so much more hilly than the flatter stuff around here so its harder to compare them. Add hills to already dealing with less air....yikes, gonna feel like a very different run. The calculator obviously won't capture the impact of that when simply comparing 6000 feet to 0.



I spent a few days at Lake Tahoe 2 years ago, doing a bunch of hiking. I live in southern California near sea level and we were close to 7000' at Tahoe. I did 2 runs while I was there and I was surprised that the elevation did not seem to affect me when running easy on flat ground. However, when I started to run up ANY incline, it was VERY noticeable.



So I agree, it's the combination of hills & altitude that makes it tough.
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Post  Seth Harrison on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:19 pm

@Chris M wrote:



The calculator is fun to play with. Take that same 10 miler done at 8:00 pace but done at sea level. If you did that run in 90 degree temps, they are saying that it would be a 7:37 pace on 60 degree day. Funny that it gets to the same impact on the pace. 90 degrees at sea level equal to 60 degrees at 6,000 feet in terms of impact on pace.

That means we should be seeing a lot of fast marathon times this fall!
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Post  ChasMcG on Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:15 pm

So you're saying I could run a BQ if I ran in Hell?



Sweet.
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Post  Ken Mello on Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:53 am

Hills are the kicker. Like I said, we went to Cloudcroft, NM for a week recently. First day I tried just running on the roads, which are a tremendous up&down endeavor, and the ups were absolutely killing me - HR skyrocketed, and quickly.

So from then on I would have someone drive me to Cloudcroft village, which is the highest point in the area (8635 elevation) and run a net downhill from there back home. Tremendous difference!
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Post  healdgator on Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:34 am

I ran 6 while we were in Destin over the weekend. Perfect flat and at sea level (of course). Absolutely brutal. I think the heat index was 8 billion.
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