Ask A Coach: How Do You Adjust Threshold Pace At Altitude?

Question: I make adjustments to threshold pace for the duration of a tempo run. How should I adjust threshold pace at altitude? I coach runners at 5,200 feet.

Run SMART Coach Jack Daniels: If using sea level race performances and associated VDOT values (or typical sea-level training speeds) while at altitude, you must adjust the paces.  At 5000 feet of altitude, the adjustment for Interval and Threshold runs would be about 8-10 seconds PER MILE (about 2-3 sec per 400) SLOWER than the sea-level paces.  No adjustment needed in Rep paces as the duration of rep runs are short enough to not need to adjust, but you may need a little longer recoveries between bouts of work in a Rep session.  No adjustment needed in the recoveries in Interval or Threshold work bouts because you are adjusting the training paces.