Like this site:

What's New?


Weight Loss
Beginner Run Programs

Training & Tools


Race Distances



Heart Rate Monitors


Marathon Training Secrets
Fat Loss Jumpstart

...And Other Things...


[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!


Gas Mask Running to Simulate High Altitude

by Jason
(Louisville, KY)

I have recently been training for my first triathlon and I have began to use a gas mask when I run and bike. Are there any health risks to doing this and have you heard of this before.

Gas Mask Running to Simulate High Altitude

I figured it would simulate high altitude training with less oxygen, or maybe I am just an idiot who loves torture. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


Answer by Dominique:

A very interesting approach...
I have not heard of this type of running training before.

It is probably better to take off the gas mask for now. When your body does not get an optimal oxygen supply, you can't train optimally.

High altitude running is not guaranteed to deliver best results. For a start, it makes it harder initially to do your running training sessions.

You run out of breath quicker, you can't go for as long or as fast. Only after a longer time you start to adjust and cope with the less oxygen in the air as your body adapts. At first it is actually a little detrimental to your running training.

I experienced this first hand when I lived in Colorado for six months when I went on a student exchange to Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO). The first few weeks running was awful.

When I returned to Holland after six months, I expected that I'd benefit an incredible lot from running at high altitude, but ended up being a bit disappointed. Nothing seemed to have changed.

High altitude running is not a guarantee to optimal results, although there are plenty of runners who benefit from it.

Considering that gas mask running is not the same as high altitude running I very much doubt that it will help your running (and cycling).
However, maybe you are not just torturing yourself, but are you a true visionary.

See for yourself what you want to do, but I wouldn't do it.

When you want to improve your running, make sure you check out my running training section. There is plenty of advice there to become faster and fitter, without the use of special methods.

Most remarkable question I have had for a while though!

Get Marathon Training Secrets Now
KILL Your Next Marathon

Marathon Training Secrets eBook

Best of luck with your running (with or without The Mask).

Running Training

Comments for Gas Mask Running to Simulate High Altitude

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 07, 2008
I remember when....
by: BK

When I was in the Air Force we were required to spend a certain amount of time in our "Chem-Gear" To make it more interesting, we would play full contact basketball. I'm sure we looked silly but it was a lot of fun. It also helped us get used to moving about in our gear.

I want to know how many strange looks you get as you cruise down the road with a gas mask. Have you panicked anyone yet? Should I be waiting to hear about you on national news?

Have fun!

Nov 07, 2008
Gas Mask variation
by: 82MAchines

I also have the same idea of training my body with less oxygen than normal, but what I do is that I breathe only using my nose. I never open my mouth and I think it gave a positive effect on my body.

Good luck


Apr 04, 2009
Gas mask
by: Anonymous

Hey man I run at least 8 miles a day and 5 of those are with a gas mask. It doesn't hurt you at all. If anything it will get your breathing under control and help with lung stamina. I love running with the mask on. good luck

Nov 21, 2009
Gas mask jogger
by: Swineflu Avenger

I've been training with a gas mask, flak jacket, helmet & 10 lb. baton in New York City. I've recently made it up to 21 miles with all the gear and had attempted to run the NYC marathon like that. US Coast Guard Police wouldn't let me on base (where the starting line was) with the mask & baton, but I'm going for more full marathons in the near future.

Anyway, the GM won't simulate a high altitude, but it most certainly will give your lungs a work out that will blow your mind! By creating pulmonary resistance, your diaphragm is strengthened, surface area and elasticity in the alveoli is increased. With the addition of the other gear, cardio resistance is also increased. Their will also be a noticeable improvement in blood pressure & heart rate that you just won't get with out the gear. Rest assured, with a little GM training, your lungs will soon be the last thing aching no matter how hard you train without it.

Also, if you live in an area with polluted air, your eyes, nose throat & lungs are completely protected. Anyone who would run in mid-town, rush hour traffic in Manhattan without a gas mask in insane! If training in public however, I would be sure to wear safety vest or similar gear, and be prepared to be completely candid with any inquiries as to what you're up to, esp. from police. I am so impressed with the effects of gas mask training it amazes me that everyone isn't doing it!

Feb 24, 2010
Gas mask Training
by: Anonymous

If you are a good long distance runner already then the gas mask will have better effects than if you are a total begineer! I use a gas mask, and a 50lbs weighted vest in my martial arts training! it helps alot because it gets your muscles used to working with low oxygen levels so you can break down the 'wall' so to speak.Get good at what ever you do before you introduce the gas mask as it could have negative results and detere you from the sport you doing as it might be too hard!

Oct 11, 2010
by: Anonymous

you can buy this training tool called the powerbreathe trainer. Its an official product of iron man, i.e the iron man triathlon. Im currently doing hill runs with the heavy duty powerbreathe and its hardcore but good. take it easy at first though try walking uphill with it first or upstairs even.

Dec 07, 2010
Altitude Training
by: Anonymous

The benefit of training at altitude has nothing to do with difficult breathing. That is just the result of the "thinner" air. Training at altitude - above 6000 feet increases your red blood cell count. This is your bodies response to the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere. More red blood cells means your blood can transport more oxygen which means it carries more fuel for your muscles.

Running with a gas mask will do nothing to help your performance.

Dec 07, 2010
Altitude Training Part II
by: Anonymous

Also, to benifit from the affect of altitude, you don't just train there, you have to live there. You have to spend at least 15 hours a day at altitude to achieve the effect. That is why Lance Armstrong sleeps on an altitude chamber or tent. It isn't about the training, it is about the bodies' adaptation.

Jul 31, 2012
Elevation Training Mask
by: Anonymous

I hear that it’s no way that a gas mask can simulate high altitude training “that’s not true”.
It may be good to go do it naturally in the mountains, but with a properly working gas mask your body will not know the different. I use to believe that too until I order an Elevation Training Mask and put it on for an hour before a run. The body builds up blood cell as soon as there is a lack of oxygen to conversation for oxygen not getting to the muscles properly. I went on my run my heart rate was the same during training, but my training pace improved by 30 seconds per mile without putting in extra effort.”All this on the first day of use”. This experiment showed me that your body if you used a gas mask or a product that simulates less oxygen an hour before exercise can improve my running times temporally for the next hour. I also believe that the longer you stay at attitude the longer the benefit, which that’s why people think the mountains are the way to go. Fact is if your body can not tell the different between bottle water and tap water “Less oxygen is less oxygen as far as the body is concerned. People using injected epo which is illegal in sports the body has more red blood cell and more oxygen to work with at sea level which in fact the body cannot tell you have been to the mountains. I thank some altitude training methods reap real benefits.
Thank you, Edward

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Running Training Helpline.



Click the picture above to subscribe to the FREE Best Running Tips Newsletter
Comes with free ebook.