Scared of heights.

Okay I am officially getting nervous.

Downhill = not bad; elevation = debatable.

Why am I freaking out about the elevation?

To contrast….

  • Charlottesville, VA is at 548 feet – yes, I just Googled that because I was curious.
  • Virginia Beach (where I ran Shamrock) is at 12 feet.
  •  Richmond (where I ran my very first marathon) is at 229 feet.
  • Walt Disney World? (actually Lake Buena Vista) is 108 feet.

To be honest, this is a topic that I didn’t want to look too much into, as I was sure that I’d COMMENCE FREAKING OUT as I am now, but in the past few weeks, hubs has started to run and said he was considering the 10K in Utah. He was concerned that the elevation could be a detriment, and sent me this running calculator to predict race times on a variety of factors, including elevation change. WHY DID I CLICK ON IT? AHHH! It made me crazy thinking that even with the training I’ve been putting in, I could be negatively impacted by thin air….cos y’know, that’d be a lame reason to not PR.

So what I did do next?

Google, google, googled. Bad idea…an article on altitude training doesn’t do much help less than 4 weeks out (!!) from 26.2 training.

Moral of the story…

There ain’t nothin’ I can do about it at this point – just continue to train smart…repeat to myself, “it’s JUST a marathon” and remember that Utah Valley will not be the last 26.2 I do (seriously, it can’t be, because I already registered for WDW’s 20th Anniversary running) though it *might* be my last shot in 2012.

Got any advice for this low-altitude trained runner?


  1. Be sure your really hydrated ( I’m sure you know this) and keep in mind that it takes 3 weeks to acclimate to altitude, obviously you don’t have that but, your worst performance is going to be 3-6 days after you arrive, so maybe arrive and run the next day (day 1) Not sure if this helps you but rather just informational. You got this one though, you are tough as nails and going to do fantastic. Knock em dead!

  2. Do you have any way to find a mountain close by (sorry, don’t know Virgina geography :-))? Even once a week at about 4,000 helps (I know because that’s the way I had to do it once. I live in the CA desert at like 0 elevation!).

    The year I ran the St. George Marathon (and ran a PR), I had no altitude training. It starts at about 5,200 I believe and pretty much runs downhill like your race does.

    Good luck!

  3. If you travel in early, that may help a little bit. Do a shakeout run the morning of the race to calm your nerves. Have faith in your training! I saw this quote on DailyMile today : “Win or lose you will never regret working hard, making sacrifices, being disciplined or focusing too much. Success is measured by what we have done to prepare for competition.” -John Smith

    I ran UVM last year (I live in Springville, just a few miles south of Provo), it’s a pretty course. Enjoy the scenery while you are running!

    • Thanks girl! I appreciate your encouragement and hope to enjoy this race no matter the outcome.

  4. Altitude training is definitely beneficial, but like that article states, there’s nothing you can really do to fully adjust now. Plus that altitude is totally different than the Blue Ridge Mountains. The important thing is to just go out there and have fun. Don’t discount getting a PR, but also understand you’ll have to adjust as you’re running.

    • Thanks for your comments, David! I talked with my coach and definitely revised my goals, but am still thinking positively 🙂

  5. Good luck! I agree that getting there a little early helps you acclimate. My hubby and I went to Timberline early (and the week before that stayed in Keystone, CO) before climbing Mt. Hood, it definitely helped us adjust. We also made sure to drink fluids because I tended to feel dehydrated at the higher altitudes.

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