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Sleep and Training

Everybody has different sleep requirements. My sister is more on the 8+ hour side and I’m on the 6 hour side. When I was younger, I put a lot of emphasis on sleep. If I didn’t get 8-9 hours, I started to stress out which made quality sleep even more difficult. However, life happens and because I have to wake up so early for work (4:45am), 6 hours is about all I can manage. And actually, this works quite well for me. Personally, I think it has something to do with my spinach smoothies with VEGA energizing smoothie powder plus coffee first thing in the morning, but who knows.

I just woke up from an awesome 2 hour nap after my 21 mile run this morning. (I miscalculated my route and didn’t make it to 22 but I will still happy with the run.) My fabulous nap got me thinking about the importance of sleep during marathon training. Every training season I seem to get worn down and sick right when training is at its peak and I really want to avoid that this fall. I found a very interesting article from Running Times and there are two points I find to be particularly noteworthy:

First, it is during the 3rd and 4th stages of a sleep cycle when the body repairs itself. This is when the human growth hormone HGH is released from the pituitary gland and it is this hormone that helps rebuild muscle tissue and bones. In other words, uninterrupted sleep is important.

Second, the quality of sleep might be more important than the quantity. Apparently the more fit you become, the more your quality of sleep improves.

“For the highly trained athlete, sleep becomes more important but the hours might be less because their sleep is more effective sleep,”

Here is a link to the article and it’s a quick read. Check it out if you can.

I don’t know about you but when I get in the bed, maybe 5 minutes pass before I’m sound asleep. And sometimes I even wake up in the exact same position where I fell asleep. Making the bed is super quick those mornings. 😉


An old pic of me falling asleep in a hotel lobby. I’m so good at this.


Happy Trails and Happy Running,


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. runningwithscience #

    i totally agree! i fall asleep in a few minutes after jumping in bed and i barely move during my sleep!

    September 15, 2012

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