The effects of training at altitude on athletic performance have undergone much scrutiny in recent decades. Many athletes who have dominated the domain of long distance running have spent their lives living and training at altitude – notably the East Africans in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda who almost exclusively come from high elevations. And since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, which took place at 2200 metres above sea level, the vast majority of medallists at major championships have either lived or trained at altitude. Here we will look at the effects of altitude training on the body, why athletes incorporate it into their training regimes, and how you should go about trying it out for yourself. Nowadays, altitude training is a component of virtually all elite running programs. Many elites are flocking to elevated hubs such as Flagstaff, Boulder, and lesser known spots in Kenya, Ethiopia and Mexico. But what is it about running at altitude that can give such a boost to athletic performance?

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