Since the start of the new year, I have been doing a mini series about a very important topic (in my eyes) – simply stated, Focus on You. Have you missed the last couple? Catch up now!
The most important take away from this for me was a very simple word – Sleep. I can say that sleep is something that I am not getting nearly enough of right now, or for the past 8 weeks come to think of it. A certain furball comes to mind in that hindrance….
I feel sluggish when running, and feel like I can hit the hay around 9pm each night. Of course, that definitely doesn’t happen, but I can dream. After reading through a few articles, I want to share with you a few huge takeaways that I find quite useful and interesting!
An awesome article in Running Times stated the following, “In an article published in the British medical journal The Lancet, researchers found that a period of decreased sleep lasting only a few days interfered with glucose metabolism and raised levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress that may interfere with athletic recovery at high serum concentrations. The study suggests that glycogen synthesis is impaired during periods of reduced sleep, meaning an athlete in these conditions is operating with less than a “full tank” and may “bonk” earlier than a well-rested individual.”
That last sentence is so cut and dry! It’s no wonder when days you are not able to get enough sleep, your runs feel just plain sluggish. The motivation may not be there either – I find it quite difficult to be motivated when I am tired, what about you?!
“We runners obsess over speed work, long runs, tempo runs, hill runs, lactate threshold, resting heart rate, carbs, protein, recovery drinks, stretching, massage, ice baths, shoes, technical fabrics, gels, and about a hundred other variables. But most of us, I bet, don’t give sleep a second thought. It’s crazy, if you think about it. How can we expect to run well if we can’t stop yawning?”
Your amount of sleep also has a huge effect on the amount of weight you are able to lose, but that will need to be saved for another post! After seeing all of that (and a few other articles), I realized that instead of focusing on getting in every run 100% (and worrying if that doesn’t happen), it looks like a better balance is the best idea. Of course, marathon training can be tiring – that is to be expected. Only you know when you are truly overdoing it. Listen to yourself, and know when to cut back a bit. Sleeping in more often when it gets closer to race day seems like a good approach. I think I might be able to catch on to that “sleep-loading” idea.
Do you think you get enough sleep? Would you be willing to cut but a little bit on training, so you are able to get some good shut-eye? I would love to hear from you!