Bill Hammons: Writing and Running in Boulder, Colorado


High Altitude Training - Bill's Boulder Guide

View from Mt. Sanitas, Boulder, Colo

Image Courtesy Norman Koren

High altitude training has been popular for endurance athletes ever since the 1968 Mexico City Olympics (elevation: 8,136 feet). An altitude of at least 4,000 to 5,000 feet has long been known to impair athletic performance, due to the lack of oxygen available to an athlete's muscles (Boulder's elevation: 5,345 feet). At least in this case, however, what doesn't kill you indeed makes you stronger: living with that same lack of oxygen increases an athlete's red blood cell volume, which leads to an increased ability to provide oxygen to the muscles back at sea level (end result: improved endurance). Think of high altitude training as aerobic resistance training, much like how a boxer punches against restraints to increase his punching power.

Altitude acclimatization generally takes two to three months (the higher the altitude, the longer it takes to adapt). What better reason to move to Boulder?

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