Altitude at USAFA

aero4007

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Nov 4, 2020
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29
I heard the altitude at USAFA is a whopping 6788ft—where I live it is only 1000ft. How should I train running-wise for the drastic change in altitude? Thanks.
 

MidCakePa

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May 22, 2018
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Run, run, run and run some more. There’s really no way to prepare other than to show up in the best shape of your life and be ready to suck wind for the first several weeks. As a relatively young and well conditioned person, you shouldn’t take too long to acclimate. USAFA will pace you appropriately, knowing most doolies are coming from lower elevations.

(DD, who’s from high elevation, did say that quite a few attendees of her session of USAFA summer seminar were hurling into trash cans during the physical workouts. So there’s that!)
 

AFBoyMom

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Feb 21, 2020
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159
Run, run, run and run some more. There’s really no way to prepare other than to show up in the best shape of your life and be ready to suck wind for the first several weeks. As a relatively young and well conditioned person, you shouldn’t take too long to acclimate. USAFA will pace you appropriately, knowing most doolies are coming from lower elevations.

(DD, who’s from high elevation, did say that quite a few attendees of her session of USAFA summer seminar were hurling into trash cans during the physical workouts. So there’s that!)
As a parent of a CC in Colorado Springs at the USAFA Prep School... I would agree with Mr. Mullen and MidCakePa. That said, my DS ran with a ‘mask’ on (one of those devices that is used to restrict air to replicate altitude - as best it can). I think it help in that his time for the mile improved quickly while out there... and he stated he had less impact from the altitude compared to some.
 

Ranchinmom

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Jan 31, 2020
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Get in the best shape you can. You’ll have a little time to acclimate when (if) you start there. They take it a little easier in the beginning so the cadets can get used to it.
 

RJB1690

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Oct 6, 2020
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I live in a Denver suburb. Starting the month before you report - hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Did I mention proper hydration? Makes a huge difference on whether or not you will be able to manage at altitude. My son will be going to the USCGA so he's thinking about getting ready for an increase in humidity. So I guess there's always something!
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
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Nov 18, 2007
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Be in incredible shape - but still expect to be a bit miserable. I am from sea level and I would say in my 4 years there, never really fully acclimated because I went home for the holidays and over the summer. I live in Albuquerque now (about 5500 ft) and for the first time in my life - I finally feel acclimated because I have stayed at altitude for a year (thanks pandemic!). What. A. Difference.
 

flieger83

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Jul 26, 2008
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Unless BCT has changed, "First BCT" is designed to build slowly while your body adjusts to the hypoxic effect of the altitude. I'm going on biology class from 40 years ago...I think I recall that it takes @20-24 days for the body to recognize the problem and then fire up the red blood cell production big time. Once that's "done" then you'll be fine. And that's when Second BCT starts and gets tough!!

Steve
USAFA ALO
USAFA '83
 

aero4007

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Joined
Nov 4, 2020
Messages
29
Run, run, run and run some more. There’s really no way to prepare other than to show up in the best shape of your life and be ready to suck wind for the first several weeks. As a relatively young and well conditioned person, you shouldn’t take too long to acclimate. USAFA will pace you appropriately, knowing most doolies are coming from lower elevations.

(DD, who’s from high elevation, did say that quite a few attendees of her session of USAFA summer seminar were hurling into trash cans during the physical workouts. So there’s that!)
Haha thanks for the advice! I'll get to running from tomorrow.
 

ebail

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Oct 28, 2020
Messages
17
When I went backpacking at Philmont, roughly the same place as USAFA, before hand doing crosscountry and track season helped adjust to the elevation so run some hills and do some long runs. Join the track team and do long distance for a season.
 

Wishful

"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
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Dec 12, 2012
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My advise it don't sweat the things you can't control. You & 1,000+ of your closest sea-level friends will get thru it together. Totally agree with all of the above posts; work out, forget the mask. Enjoy the next 6 months cause when you report there, "It's on!"
Good Luck!
 

RedDragon

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Joined
Dec 31, 2013
Messages
246
The altitude gets just about all of them. My wife and I were fortunate to catch a glimpse of our 2018 grad run his first 1.5 mile test the day after I-Day in 2014(we had front row seats on the Chapel wall) All 1200 new cadets were paraded out in their respective BCT squadrons on the Tzo and ran the 1.5 miles. The first lap was fine but they started dropping like flies on the 2nd lap. Our son finished in the middle of the pack but was really sucking wind and he had been running every day of the spring(sea level). He later told me that the top finishers in his squadron were from Colorado Springs and Denver.

Anyway, just get in the best shape you can and realize that most of your peers will likely be sea level-dwellers like you. You will quickly adjust.
 
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