What if we complimented each other on how much we slept instead of how much we run?
I’m now 8 weeks out from the Boston Marathon and fatigue is definitely starting to kick in. So how much sleep do I need during marathon training? Ideally, I’d get 8+ hours a night, but it’s just not happening right now between my workload and training load. (Maybe it’d be easier if my bed at home looked as perfect as the one at the Breakers during my Beautycounter trip?)
Sleep is something that’s constantly top of mind for me, and I’m working to find ways to go to bed earlier…which means I need to cut back on working after dinner. Ahem. This is a common scene at our house around 9pm. Not. Great.
In my 20s, I focused more on “getting in shape” and in my 30s, it’s more about finding ways to stay healthy, including eating well, sleeping enough and managing stress.
I want to be able to run as long as possible and reduce injuries along the way. And all of those things are KEY to achieving that. This article especially resonated (found via in last week’s Morning Shakeout, a must-subscribe-to-newsletter for any running junkie).
But man, SLEEP IS KEY.
So, how much sleep do I need?
Most adults needs 7-8 hours. We all hear it and most of us don’t do it.
How much sleep do runners need?
Runners need even more than that — think 8-10 hours a night!!! — to allow the body to recover from hard efforts. It’s silly when you think about it to train incredibly hard but not recover and rest incredibly hard. When you’re logging high mileage or lots of hard workouts, it’s even more important to let your body repair with enough sleep.
While I’m not typically a napper, sleep is something that I take very seriously and also not seriously enough. I do NOT function well without enough sleep – anything under 6 hours and I’m useless. (My husband says I “shut down” after 9:30 pm. True.)
Are naps good for runners?
Listen to your body! If you feel tired, let your body rest, even for 30 minutes. Even if you don’t fall asleep, the downtime can help regulate cortisol levels (the stress hormone). I know it’s so much easier said than done to nap with everything going on in life.
It’s hard for me to let things sit at the house or let emails pile up to nap…but I’ve never regretted a run and I’ve never regretted a nap (as long as it happens before 4pm 😉 ).
How long should naps be?
Most people hate to hear it, but naps should really be kept to 30-45 minutes in duration. This is the best length to quickly reduce grogginess and fatigue without entering into “deep” sleep.
When you enter deep sleep, that’s when you may wake up more tired than you were before napping. Naps longer than 45 minutes can also take away from the quality of sleep you get when you go down at night for the big nap, i.e. a full night of sleep!
After last week’s hard long run, I took a 2 hour nap and I napped again this Saturday and slept 9.5 hours on Saturday night. I don’t think I can emphasize enough how out of character this is for me. I, thankfully, didn’t feel groggy even though it was a longer-than-ideal nap and still slept well that night.
How does sleep impact my running?
Lack of sleep makes everything seem harder — including running. It also impacts your body’s ability to regulate hormones that impact stress and appetite. There are long-term health impacts but if that doesn’t motivate you, know this: better sleep = better running.
Anyway, onto last week’s training — and here’s to all of us vowing to improve our sleep habits! (I am a bit neurotic about my sleep routines… leave a comment and let me know if you’re interested in reading about that!)
Last week’s marathon training
M – 65 minute recovery run + strides (AM) = 8.1 miles, 8:11 pace + evening strength training (here’s what I did!)
T – 80 minute recovery run = 10 miles, 8:26 pace + massage
I feel like a broken record on this but my stress has been pretty bad lately. While I typically get massage for serious body work to help improving running aches and pains, that’s basically another workout. This time, I told my massage therapist that I needed it be productive but more relaxing than usual. It was fantastic and good for my body AND head.
W – REST day…if you count needling/scraping as rest
Th – 2 x 8 min, 4 x 3 min, 8 x :15 + warm-up & cool down = 10.4 miles, 7:33 average pace
This was my first run in the Nike Vaporfly 4% (which I mentioned in this blog post about all my favorite running shoes), and I felt like I was FLYING. I freaking love those shoes.
F – 60 minute recovery run = 8 miles, 8:09 pace with Kate, who was visiting!
Sa – 16 miles easy pace, 8:09 pace + 1.5 hour nap
Su – REST, including sleeping 9.5 hours on Saturday night!
In other news, TOMMY SAID HE WANTS TO RUN A RACE THIS YEAR. And I’m putting it on the blog so you can all hold him accountable. Maybe Tommy should do a guest post series about training… yes?? 🙂 We have run together ONCE in the 4+ years we’ve been together, so I’m very excited about this development. You can see how the conversation went here. (Yes, I tweet about our conversations regularly.)
Total miles: 52.8
How I’m feeling: Last week was a down week in my training but I actually felt pretty meh. Tuesday’s run was brutal and Friday and Saturday felt SO hard, even having a friend with me! Granted, looking at our paces now, we should have slowed down! My calf and hip are doing MUCH better after a few weeks at the physical therapist. And on Sunday I felt SO refreshed after sleeping so much. Funny how that works. 🙂
Yes to Tommy doing some guest posts. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a coach who better to practice on?
Teri [a foodie stays fit]at
I’m loosely coaching him… so far, so good – one week in. 😉
I started tracking my sleep this year and gosh it was eye opening! I definitely thought I was getting more than I was. But, tracking it has helped me improve. I average 7 a night (thought I was getting closer to 8…) and now that is slowly creeping up, averaging 7.5/night because I do sleep more on Saturday and Sunday nights now.
I totally agree about the rest even if you don’t fall asleep, particularly after a long run! I’ll just lay on my bed doing N O T H I N G and it’s fantastic.
Teri [a foodie stays fit]at
It’s SO eye opening when you pay attention, right?? I’m usually only getting 6-6.5 hours a night, yikes! On my shorter run days, I try to sleep closer to 7-7.5 and on Sundays I TRY to sleep in longer!