Thursday, May 22, 2008

Top Of Utah-Altitude training?

Has anyone ran the Top of Utah marathon? I didn't get into St. George and am trying to find a back-up because I don't want my training to go to waste. I think what intimidates me is the altitude. I run at 100 feet. How much will altitude affect how I run the race? I don't want to drive for 10 hours and run a horrible race (who does, right?:) Just wondering if anyone had any comments on the race or altitude adjustment!! Thanks ladies!

9 comments:

poky girl said...

Oh man windrunner. Have I got an ear full for you! I ran the Top of Utah last year and not to scare you or anything but the altitude did affect me. I also live pretty much at sea level. Now having said that I did have a decent race at Logan and it was my first full marathon so I don't have much to compare it to. The problem was after we came down out of the canyon and hit the flat part I just kind of died. I started really struggling about mile 17 and it was pretty tough the rest of the way.
Also last weekend I traveled to Ogden to do the half there and could feel the altitude immediately(race report to come soon.)I think you'll be fine if you're planning on just finishing the race and not shooting for a PR or trying to really push it. Sorry, very long post. Hope it helps.

Tall Girl Running said...

I've run the TOU marathon and while I can't comment on the affect the altitude has (since I train at an altitude even higher than Logan), I can advise you to make downhill running a regular part of your training. 14+ miles of downhill will wreak havoc on your legs if they're not accustomed ot it. The course flattens out eventually, but if your legs haven't handled the first half of the race well, you'll have a tough time the rest of the way. On a positive note, TOU is a tremendously fun race with a spectacular course. It's well worth the trip, provided you're prepared for what it requires. Good luck!

Polliwog said...

I ran TOU marathon last year after training in Cali (pretty darn close to sea level). I was completely freaked out about the altitude, but didn't find it problematic in the least. In fact, I exceeded my expectations for time significantly. That being said, it was my first marathon, so I am no expert. I really enjoyed that race and would do it again. I think the 14 miles of initial decline help you get into the groove and by the time things level out (not as nice of a run once you come out of the canyon) you are in the groove enough that the altitude isn't a factor. Just my opinion.

Suzie Petunia said...

After a few good and bad experiences with altitude racing, I have to say that I really think it helps to arrive at least 4 or 5 days ahead of the race to acclimatize. It seemed to have a significant positive impact when I did... and quite the opposite when I didn't!

Kelly(M&M) said...

I too have felt the altitude in Utah. Polliwog, I think Suzie's point is interesting. How long were you in Utah before you ran the TOU? If it is a matter of getting there a few days earlier to acclimate, it seems like that would be worth it!

Jen said...

WRFDJ is training for Top of Utah! Hooray!

Polliwog said...

This got long, sorry--

I can't remember exactly when I arrived, but I think it was 4 or 5 days before, so maybe that helped.

However, the reading I did on Runner's World (or Hal Higdon's marathon book--my two ultimate sources of info at the time) claimed that you should either arrive 2 weeks early or the day before. That you really couldn't acclimate in a few days but would end up dehydrating and having a harder time. I didn't find that to be true, though, either. I guess it's hard to tell and everyone is different.

The only helpful advice I came across was to drink plenty of water and to adjust your time expectations--that your pace would likely decrease by about 10 seconds per mile. That didn't seem like such a big deal to me.

As far as the downhill and its effect on my knees, it's such a small (albeit continuous) downhill grade that unless you are prone to knee problems, it shouldn't be too bad. I think some downhill training is a great idea, though I wasn't able to do it much because of where I live and I still came out fine (no knee problems). Also, for what it's worth--I ran it in 4:11 so I'm not really a competitive runner. This may all change if you're faster. ;)

Nikkei said...

Well ladies, I think those of us who aren't blessed to live at high elevations will just have to use our government stimulus checks to purchase an altitude tent. Actually, since they are so expensive, we'll have to ask a few of our friends and families and a random neighbor or two (with lots of children) to donate their checks to the cause as well. We can all start shopping at Hypoxico.

wind runner said...

Wow! You ladies are amazing! Thanks for all your help! It's such a scary decision to make...your knowledge/advice really helps!