Your Heart, Lungs and Blood Chemistry Don’t Know the Difference!

Aug 02, 2023

While training in Mammoth Lakes runners may encounter hills, rocky trails, snow, wind and altitude. Many runners train with GPS watches to help keep them on pace, whether it’s an easy recovery day or a hard threshold workout. Runners training in and around Mammoth Lakes (above 7000’) need to know what to expect in regard to pacing while training at high altitude.

There is approximately 25% less oxygen in each breath you take in Mammoth Lakes. This is due to the lower partial pressure at higher elevations. For athletes who live at sea level and are looking to train or compete in Mammoth Lakes, it is important to take the first few days at altitude very easy. I suggest that runners cut back their normal sea level weekly mileage by 30-40% the first week of being in Mammoth Lakes and also scale back the intensity of their training. Runners should keep in mind that they need to let the “altitude” do its thing, i.e. let the body adapt by producing more red blood cells. If you are coming for a competition, that means you need to show up a number of days in advance so that your body can perform at the ultimate level here.

Another tip for athletes training and competing in Mammoth Lakes: stay hydrated! An athlete’s sweat rate is the same at altitude as it is at sea level even though we don’t see the streaks of sweat while we are training because it evaporates faster due to the low relative atmospheric humidity. In addition, we lose more water by just breathing at 8,000 feet because our respiratory rate is quicker, due to the “lack” of oxygen present in the air.

Whether you are a runner training for your next race, a gravel rider racing in the Mammoth Tuff, or a competitor in the OCR World championships, you will find Mammoth Lakes is a great place to enjoy everything the natural environment offers to supplement your athletic endeavors.

Looking forward to seeing you in Mammoth Lakes!

Coach Kastor

Andrew Kastor

Andrew currently resides in Mammoth Lakes with his wife Deena (Olympic Marathon bronze medalist and American Record holder in the marathon and half-marathon) and their daughter, Piper Bloom. He’s the head coach for the Mammoth Track Club.

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