Chronologically, the next step in your race preparation includes acclimatizing your body for various racing conditions.
The acclimatization that takes the longest to achieve is altitude. Fortunately, few races are held at altitudes high enough to require altitude acclimatization. However, if you plan to race at an altitude of a mile or higher, you need to consider the following issues.
It takes many weeks, up to six, for the cellular adaptation to altitude to occur. When training at altitude, the lack of oxygen to your muscles causes your leg speed to suffer at exactly the time you are trying to perfect it. For example, your pace slows approximately three percent at an elevation of one mile. So while training at altitude increases the capacity of your blood to carry oxygen, your top leg speed suffers.
Here’s a better solution: live at a high altitude and train at low altitude. This enables your body to profit from the physiological benefits of living at altitude, but race walk with a pace close to sea-level intensity. The problem with this solution is there are very few places to achieve this conveniently. One place is Cloud Croft, New Mexico, where living at 9,000 feet and training at 4,000 feet is accomplished with a car ride.