Benefits of running at altitude

Training at Altitude: A Guide for Runners

Training at altitude, specifically between 6,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level, is akin to legal doping due to its ability to stimulate oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This practice is common among elite athletes, but it's not exclusive to them. Runners of all abilities can reap benefits from spending some time above sea level.

When we return to running at sea level after training at altitude, we perceive notable improvements. Generally, the body performs better with less effort. The fatigue tolerance index and the aerobic and anaerobic threshold recovery capacity are improved. Training at altitude increases the ability to generate red blood cells by 10 to 20%.

Shop Running Shoes Now

Risks of Running at Altitude

Running at altitude does come with risks, especially if very sudden changes occur. The higher the altitude, the more red blood cells increase, which can thicken the blood and potentially cause cardiovascular problems.

Additionally, running at altitude could lead to hypoxia: a lack of oxygen to the nervous system. This situation could have serious consequences for the brain. The symptoms of hypoxia are gradual, starting with a euphoric sensation, followed by numbness in muscles and organs, and potentially leading to loss of consciousness.

Shop Workout Bands Now

Tips for Running at Altitude

To benefit from this type of training without suffering negative consequences, consider the following tips:

  • Take your time. Allow yourself to get used to your new training conditions. Give yourself enough time (about two weeks) to adjust to the new altitude. Start with long walks and gradually progress to running to avoid overexertion.

  • Slow down. Monitor your pace and listen to your body. Start running slower than you normally would at lower altitudes until you understand the impact high altitude training has on your body.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to fuel your body as it adjusts to a new height. This will help you adapt faster and recover better. As always, combine your hydration with nutritious meals to provide your body with everything it needs to function at its best.

  • Dress in layers. The temperature can fluctuate quickly at high altitudes. Dressing in layers will help you adjust as you start warming up.


Running at altitude offers numerous benefits, primarily improving our performance when we return to sea level. Despite its advantages, it can also cause some inconveniences. Therefore, we must be careful and gradually introduce these workouts so that our body can adjust.

For more information, talk to one of our Fitness Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request in our Mavyn website.

Shop Fitness Watch Now