If you think that you’ve done all of the right things to enhance your marathon performance, you might be overlooking one of the most obvious aspects of good training. Consider your nocturnal habits as one of the simplest ways that you can improve your run. A night of good sleep is definitely one of the ways to up your performance.
Cheating yourself out of sufficient rest will take its toll and when you’re in arrears in this manner, your running will suffer. Certainly, on occasion, you can get away with a couple of hours shy of the full 8 but this can’t persist over a long period of time. The more you get, the better your body will respond to the cues you send it.
One way that it helps is in helping you to keep hydrated. Yes, we know you’re not drinking the sleep but the rest will help your body to balance functions such as kidney processing and this will help you to better absorb electrolytes. If you are not sufficiently hydrated, your muscles will ache and you’ll be more easily depleted. If you are not apt to void your bladder first thing in the morning, you may not be getting enough water.
Sleep is also the time when the body repairs itself and sufficient time for your muscles and tendons to do their reparation is essentially in avoiding injury and building strong tissue and bone. It’s a necessary aspect of recovery that you don’t want to ignore.
In studies where athletes were asked to increase their sleep time, a marked improvement was noted in speed and performance. Athletes could also better challenge their limits and train beyond the level that defined their comfort zone and over time reach greater peaks.
Greater sleep also shows that necessary hormonal production occurs throughout specific phases. The human growth hormone is one of these which help to maintain peak body fat ratio, helps rebuild tissues and ensure bone density. Lack of sleep hinders this production and can impact recovery time.
Sleepy people are often hungry and have craving for foods that will mitigate the hunger which are not always the greatest nutrients required through intense training. If you’re shooting for a lean physique for speed, your body’s ability to accurately process what you eat is also diminished and will throw your maintenance program out of whack. If you are carb loading prior to a taxing event, your body will not store the carbs properly without sufficient sleep and you can end up burning out quickly as glucose production will be off balance and you will experience an early depletion.
Focus will also be impacted without enough sleep so using your mental faculties to plan your race strategy will also suffer. Getting enough REM sleep is necessary and that only happens if your body enters that deeper phase of sleep which will allow that. Sleeping solidly throughout the night will improve your concentration and allow you to make the right decisions when you are in the heat of your run.
To ensure that you create good, long lasting habits around sleep, plan accordingly and try to consider your needs throughout the week in advance, establishing a routine that you know you can maintain. Try to get all of your sleep at the same time to allow your body to run thrown the appropriate phases of sleep depth and if absolutely necessary, find the time to sneak in a fifteen minute power nap when ever you can.