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Improving 10k time at altitude - Printable Version

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Improving 10k time at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

Hi TheEd, All,

I've been running for around 20 years on and off. Recently I've got more time to commit to running and have decided to take a more structured approach to training and reach for a long-standing ambition to run 10k in under 40 mins. I'm currently a fair way off that (and my previous fitness levels!) though, so my current goal is to run a 10k in under 50 mins, and reassess from there.

A slight complication is that in October last year I moved to South America and now live at approx. 2,600m above sea level. I have found that it makes a huge difference in running performance. I am now more acclimatised but the more intensive runs such as intervals are still extremely tough on the lungs, even though the legs are willing! Apparently each breath takes in 25% less oxygen at this altitude which explains that. I expect to move back to sea level or thereabouts in around 3-4 months from now, so hopefully will be able to reach my ultimate goal later this year, or next depending on progress.

I have started the sub-50 min programme and will post details so far separately after this. Before then, a bit more background about me and my running history:

Age: just turned 40
Weight: 68kg
Height: 178cm

Previous PBs:
10k 45:06 (2012)
1/2 marathon 1:34:40 (2005)
marathon 3hrs 47mins (2013)

Kms run in recent months:
March so far 78km
Feb 67km
Jan 78km

Progress on sub-50m plan coming after this!


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

DAY 1
10km in 61:47
Av HR 144
Felt easy and comfortable


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

DAY 2
Waking HR 55
Felt a bit tired and had a cold previous week so had a rest day


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

DAY 3
Waking HR 52

2km intervals:
Interval / time / pace / av HR / peak HR
1 / 9:48 / 4:54 / 167 / 172
2 / 9:44 / 4:52 / 172 / 180

Was feeling completely exhausted after the 2nd interval so decided to miss out the 3rd. Several factors, I think still a little tired from previous week's cold and not being used to long intervals, combined with the altitude. Legs were fine, just not able to get enough air in. Also, did a total of 11km including 4km warm up and 1km jogs between intervals, so adjusted this for 1km session.


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

DAY 4


Waking HR 54

Decided to have a rest day to fully recover for long run day 5.


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

DAY 5
Waking HR 54

15.01km in 93:35
Av HR 142
Felt good, could have continued but hadn't run over 11km recently so decided to stop there.


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

Day 6

Waking HR 58
Feeling slightly achy and sleep deprived due to neighbours all night party, so rest day.


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

DAY 7

Waking HR 52

5.19km in 30:01
Av HR 142

Felt very easy


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

DAY 8

Waking HR 53

1km Intervals (with 90 sec walking rests):

Interval / time / Av HR / Peak HR / Recovery HR (at end of rest)
1 / 4:30 / 164 / 168 / 129
2 / 4:36 / 161 / 169 / 136
3 / 4:46 / 164 / 173 / 138
4 / 4:48 / 165 / 173 / 142
5 / 4:46 / 167 / 180 / 144

Intervals were still pretty hard but more manageable that the 2km ones. Kept the warm up to 8 mins and cool down to 5 mins. Walked the rests instead of jogging which definitely helped recovery. Again legs felt great! I went off a bit too quickly (had watch on average pace rather than current pace, thought it seemed a bit hard Big Grin).
Generally happy with the above, however as a comparison I was able to do 3x1km intervals at 4:10 pace a few weeks ago when at sea level, so shows how the altitude is limiting!


Sub 50 min 10k at altitude - MarkCo - 20-03-2019

Up to date now, day 8 was today. Will post more updates soon and look forward to hearing any comments and advice! cheers