I don’t know about you guys, but besides of being hungry all the time, I also feel that my usual 7H of sleep need to be extended since I started my marathon preparation. Funny when thinking that a few years ago, I preferred cutting on my sleep than on my various activities – one of them being partying almost full time. For me, sleeping was a waste of time. Imagine my face when I learned that we sleep 1/3 of our lifetime on earth. OMG!
I was devastated and ready to fight physic. Or science. Or whatever.
If the day still has 24H, my priorities have changed and I moved from party queen to pillow-lover and would like to give you obvious reason/data why sleep should become your priority while training.
Busy weeks, training, family, friends…
If you are like me, next to your passion for hard rewarding quality training, you also work more than 40H a week. Adding to your social life and busy week schedule, it’s kind of tricky finding the balance between all the pleasures (and duties) of life, and sleep might be something tempting to cut on.
Let’s face it: we both know it’s wrong.
We’ve all been there, don’t worry.
We know the drill.
At the beginning of the training everything feels easy, everything feels manageable.
But after some weeks, you go into the real stuff.
And it gets tough.
To avoid any conflicts with your social life, you might decide to train early in the morning before work or before your kiddies wake you up singing and playing in your bed (especially on Sundays).
I train while you sleep
But yeah…sometimes other things might influence your emotional, nervous or physical states.
So when your alarm goes off at 4.30 AM, you might need to adapt and take the wise decision to listen to your tired body, who’s craving for one or two more hours of sleep.
7 AM, waking up, preparing some tea, you feel great about your WISE decision, and decide to catch up on your various social media channels to see what you’ve missed during the night.
7:10 AM. You are devastated. Half of your Facebook friends already updated their status mentioning the amazing 25KM they ran through the park before heading to work, dozens of your Instagram followers already posted amazing sunrise pictures and your favorite Snapchat Idols already climbed two summits and ate three bagels at the same time…
Yeah…well, they were all training while you were catching on some sleep you know.
Bonus advice for FREE
I don’t know if I should cry or laugh, or both when I hear this.
“I train while you sleep” – Everyone is different, everyone has an adapted right or wrong way of training.
But nobody should make you feel bad because you are choosing quality over quantity. So I will share some bonus advice with you here…
1. We are all different. This (or these) person(s) might have another lifestyle, or capacity to support training.
2. Stop comparing with others, and be confident about your own preparation. Or the one your coach provides you.
Sleep is a key to your training
You put so many efforts, sweat and joy into your marathon preparation.
Sleep is not a bonus. It’s what make your training successful. It’s what help you reach your ultimate goal.
The marathon training adds some stress (impulses and stimulus) to your body and nervous system causing some damages on your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and skeleton. Next to a well-balanced and adapted nutrition, muscles can assimilate the training load… guess! While you sleep!
Your training session doesn’t end after your morning run.
Eat – train – sleep – repeat
Even when you think you’re not training, well you are.
A daily training cycle starts when you wake up until bedtime, no matter what you do in between.
It ends when you’re stuck between two awesome dreams. Real dreams.
The one when you sleep. The deep kind of sleep (REM).
SOA – The Sleep Operative Army
When you sleep in a well-studied starfish position, snoring so loud I wonder how you actually can sleep, your body shuts down, while your brain is being active. Captain of a brilliant cells army in charge of repair and recovery, the brain stays up all night to filter, archive, trash and help your body adjust and assimilate the new impulses gathered during the day.
That’s why you feel fresh in the morning, ready to tackle another day physically but also mentally. Say thank you.
No need for an overload of scientifically proven data; we all know how it feels like to miss one night of good sleep: lack of concentration the next day, apathy, high risk of clumsiness and for some of us… grumpiness.
Don’t mess up with your brain and remember what your mommy told you when you were a child:
Sleep is the best medicine.
Your body needs time, right nutrients and sleep to heal. As I said before, your brain commands a wonderful army of cells (the white one) to repair any damages causes in your muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
While your brain is focusing on multiple tasks during the day like filtering an overload of information, dealing with the impact of your feet on the grounds plus your open-eye-day-dreamy sessions during work hours, the night is an open playground for your white cells to deal with the serious stuffs. If you sleep, your body will be able to assimilate the impact of training more easily than if you party. And if your body can adapt to your past session, you will see improvement. Simple right?
I tested for you…
So if you don’t sleep enough, your body won’t heal properly. And you will continue to train – obviously – so the training keeps hurting the muscles and that is when you get injured.
I know what I’m talking about, I’ve been there. Back to 2013, I got injured for the first time.
So my first thought was “ok, I’m injured, I can’t run, so I will go back to my partying.” My injury lasted six months instead of two, because when I was supposed to sleep and give my body some rest, I kept pushing.
It doesn’t matter if my kind of pushing came from dancing the whole night and yours is the training for a marathon. In the end, the lack of sleep messed up my brain and my white little soldiers. Never again!
You might be the person who tends to sleep a lot during training.
But thanks to this strategy…
You might also be the person who performs better on race-day.
If you’d like to take the challenge…I dare you to sleep!
What do you think? Do we have a deal?
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and tell me how you handle a balanced combination of training, work, social life, and sleep.
Keep on sleeping Movers
and #rockyourprep !