I am doing the Tough Mudder here in Northern California and the event takes place at a ski resort at an altitude of 6000' to 8000'. I have been training at about 3000' elevation and I'm wondering if there is anything I can/should do to prepare for exercising at the higher elevation?

I was thinking about going up there the day before and spending about half a day hiking/biking around, but I would come back down afterwards. Would this even help?

  • From what I've read on this topic before there is no way other than training at that altitude. There is so called gas training, but I'd be very skeptical that this actually leads to the effects you want to achieve. If its possible I'd recommend training at that altitude for more than one day, but honestly I live at 10' elevation and thats why this is only a comment.
    – Baarn
    Sep 19, 2012 at 12:07
  • my personal experience is the best thing is just to spend a couple days at the altitude you're training for, and let your body adjust. That's what I did when I was hiking 14-ers. There exists a drug called "Diamox" that alleviates some of the affects of altitude sickness, it helped me function on my high-altitude trips, but it takes a prescription, and I'm not sure how much it would help with a cardio event like the "Tough Mudder". It was more so that I wouldn't get ill from being about 10k feet for a week.
    – DavidR
    Sep 19, 2012 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, adaptation to altitude is a few weeks of process, as what happens is the body kicks up production of red blood cells, and that's not an instant thing. As noted in the comments, getting there a few days ahead will help.

Also, be very aware of hydration, and make sure that in the days leading up and especially during the event, you are getting a lot of water, and avoiding high doses of caffeine (If you are a regular consumer of drinks such as monster, etc). Caffeine in low doses is not a diuretic, but 600mg+ it can have a diuretic effect, and with the consumption of multiple energy drinks you can hit that level. You dehydrate faster at altitude than you do at lower elevations, so you will probably need more water than you think you do.

Be aware of symptoms such as headaches, vomiting, dizziness and somewhat sudden fatigue, as these are signs of altitude sickness. Most people can ascend to 8000 feet without too many problems, but you will also be doing the tough mudder which is a pretty rigorous event. Don't be afraid to stop and breathe for a bit if you start getting dizzy and nauseous.

  • Great answer, thanks. I'm assuming that my morning coffee doesn't qualify as a "high dose of caffeine"? If it does, I could be in trouble...
    – Broham
    Sep 19, 2012 at 15:27
  • +1 for the bit about hydration. You should be fine having some amount of coffee with breakfast, esp if you aren't immediatly competing. Just don't chug energy drinks all day. I went out to Wyoming (staying around 6-8k elevation) on vacation recently, and made sure to continuously hydrate all day, and I felt like I was adapting to the new environment better than I usually do. Here's a link that speaks to this: highaltitudelife.com/dehydration.htm moderate-to-high altitude environments cause you to loose moisture more quickly than sea level. Makes sense to me.
    – DavidR
    Sep 19, 2012 at 15:53
  • @AbeMiessler - No, morning coffee has about 150-200mg caffeine per 8 oz, so unless you're chugging 24+ oz of coffee, that should be ok.
    – JohnP
    Sep 19, 2012 at 17:32

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