Altitude training will make you huff and puff a lot harder but is worth it in the long run.
By boosting oxygen-carrying red blood cells, training high above sea level generates physical and mental benefits that help athletes, recreational runners and cyclists excel in all environments.
For your next dosage of thin mountain air consider these altitude training destinations in the United States; all of them offer elevation and scenery that will take your breath away.
From the 5,430-foot rises of the Flat Irons to the endless dirt trails of Magnolia Road, Boulder is an altitude training nirvana that attracts runners from all corners of the globe.
It’s no surprise that the town is home to one of the most popular 10k runs in the world, BolderBOULDER, which sees over 50,000 runners compete each year.
Along with the endless running paths, there are also all-weather tracks, world-class sports medicine professionals, and fantastic running stores.
Boulder lives and breathes all things running.
Flagstaff is becoming increasingly popular among runners, and it’s not hard to see why.
At nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, the city has a host of runnable dirt paths, urban trails, and mountain roads nestled among stunning scenery that enjoy mild weather.
Check out Buffalo Park, Lake Mary Road, Schultz Creek Trail, and Woody Mountain Road for a variety of challenges.
For more sun-splashed trails set against a backdrop of awe-inspiring scenery, your next altitude training camp should be in Albuquerque.
At over 5000 feet of elevation, Albuquerque has a sprawling trail system that is accessible year-round.
From flat passages along the Rio Grande to the hilly challenges of the Foothill Trails, Albuquerque is a runner’s paradise.
It might be more renowned for top-class ski resorts, but Park City also has over 400 miles of high-altitude trails to enjoy.
While many of the lung-busting mountain tracks are best reserved for elite runners, there are also plenty of recreational options that weave through town.
The 26-mile Mid Mountain trail, 28-mile Historic Union Pacific trail, and Wasatch Creek trail are all worth exploring.
A popular home base for many elite runners, Mammoth Lakes also offers a rich variety of recreational trails across all seasons.
Over 300 miles of trails run through the varied terrain and topography on show in this beautiful wild country.
Mammoth Mountain, Duck Pass, and Agnew Meadows should be on your short list, while those inclined to tread over snow should consider Hot Creek and Benton Crossing Roads.
This southwest Montana college town contains trails with 360° mountain range views that are both beautiful and distracting.
Just like all great altitude training destinations, Bozeman offers elevation, scenery, and variety.
For a moderate challenge, try the 10-mile Hyalite Lake trail where you can even enjoy views of waterfalls along the way.
For more advanced offerings, the over 8,000 feet of climbs along the Bridger Ridge trail will leave your heart pounding.
For all of its high-country splendor, training in dry mountain air needs to be managed effectively.
It can lead to ‘insensible fluid loss’, a deceptive type of dehydration that doesn’t generate thirst as strongly as sweat loss in more humid environments.
As a result, you’ll need to pay more attention to staying hydrated during altitude training.
To really help you cruise over mountain tops with unconstrained lungs, beet juice should also be part of your altitude training kit.
Thanks to its capacity to improve vascular function, beet juice is ideal for dealing with low oxygen availability at high altitudes.
In their guide to beating altitude sickness, Backpacker also pointed to a Norwegian study highlighting the benefits of beet juice at altitude.
So when visiting any of the aforementioned training sites, make sure to pack plenty of water, as well as your Beet Boost!
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