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Traveling to places like Arizona, Colorado, or even all the way to Kenya to train is very popular amongst elite endurance athletes. According to Runner’s World, 95% of all medalists at the world championships and the Olympic Games since 1968 have either lived or trained at altitude.

Of course, these athletes have the time and support to head to elevation to boost their performance levels. But when it comes to those of us who aren’t quite professionals – but still take our training very seriously – we often don’t have that luxury.

Indeed, there is a lot of time and money involved when it comes to high altitude training camps. Whether it be as part of a structured high altitude training camp for runners, an individual, self-guided trip, or a practice expedition to prepare for an upcoming climb. Most of us can only get away for a week or two at a time – which isn’t even enough to fully reap the benefits of a high altitude training experience (research says it takes about a month for physiological changes to occur).

Since altitude training can be so beneficial for athletes of all levels, and this is something very desirable amongst the endurance training and mountaineering community, we wanted to get an idea of how much this kind of trip would cost. Check out what we learnt:

*Note prices may vary throughout the year, these are based on Late Summer-Early Fall

Flagstaff

Camp #1 – Running Holiday in Arizona

Location: Flagstaff, AZ

Elevation: 6614 feet

Duration: 7 days

Type of Training Camp: Trail Running Camp in Arizona

What you get:

10 guided trail runs

1 long run

2 track workouts

Airport Transportation

Lunch daily

One-on-one coaching

5 Classroom Sessions

Costs:

Training Camp Registration Cost: $602 CAD

Cost of Flights (Toronto to Flagstaff Round-trip): ~$654.86 CAD

Accommodation (Watson Lake Inn): $1400.82 CAD

Food/Extras: $500 CAD

Transportation to camp: Included

Total Cost: ~$3103 CAD

Trail Running in the Rockies

Camp #2 – Group Training in Colorado

Location: Durango, CO

Elevation: 6522 feet

Duration: 5 days

Type of Training Camp: Colorado Running Ranch

What you get:

Accommodation + amenities

Transportation to and from airport

Guided trail runs

Running Seminars

Trail Running Gear

Meals and other group activities

Costs:

Training Camp Registration Cost: $3019.83 CAD

Cost of Flights (Toronto to Durango, Colorado Round-trip): ~$671 CAD

Accommodation: Included

Food/Extras: $200 CAD

Transportation to camp: Included

Total Cost: ~$3890.83 CAD

Iten, Kenya – “The Spiritual Home of Running”

Camp #3 – Train with the Pros in Kenya

Location: Iten, Kenya

Elevation: 7874 m

Duration: 7 days

Type of Training Camp: High Altitude Training Centre

What you get:

Accommodation + amenities

Meals

Use of fitness centre

Use of 400 m track

Sauna and outdoor swimming pool

Instructor guidance

Costs:

Training Camp Registration Cost: CAD$80-110/night for a single and USD$50-70 a night if you’re sharing

Cost of Flights (Toronto to Nairobi, Kenya): ~$3000 CAD

Accommodation: Included

Food/Extras: $200 CAD

Transportation to camp: $300 CAD

Total Cost (assuming single room average price): $4165 CAD

These are all top notch camps with great amenities in stunning locations. They are designed to help athletes of all levels experience the benefits of training in real high-altitude conditions. However, taking 7 days at any one of these camps is not cheap. Based on our research – the average cost (assuming you are leaving from Toronto) is around ~$3700 CAD – taking into account basic transport, lodging and meal requirements.

So, how can we get that same effect of increased performance and efficient training here at sea level? Well, fortunately, technology has allowed us to introduce simulated altitude environments (read more here) that mimic what you would experience at any one of these camps. This would be a great (and more cost effective) alternative for those of us who don’t quite have the funds (or time) to jet off for a run in the mountains.