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

Oct 20, 2020

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 in Mammoth Lakes during the summer, it is important to take the first few training days of living 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.

Another tip for athletes training in Mammoth Lakes this summer: 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.

On May 18 Mammoth Track Club elite athlete Reid Buchanan set a personal best in the 5,000m in Los Angeles. His time of 13:35 was a 13-second personal best and he is excited to lop off another chunk of time next month at the Portland Track Festival.

Both Sarah Attar (Saudi Arabia Olympic Marathoner) and Crib athlete David Flynn (Ireland) are racing the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on June 4. David is looking for a 5:00 minute per mile pace (1:05:30) and Sarah is going after her own Saudi National Record of 1:31. Both athletes have been training well this spring and I am looking forward to watching both of them perform in San Diego.

Looking forward to seeing you in Mammoth Lakes this summer!

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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