If there is one major topic for the fall season it would have to be racing. This time of year is filled with many exciting races from the 5K to the marathon. Most of the weekly tips are based on hard training techniques focused on preparing the body for these races. There is another training technique that rarely gets discussed. This training technique is called SLEEP.

One important element in training is the need for recovery during the hard training weeks. Sleep is a major part in the body’s ability to recover.  Tissue damage is the result of training hard. Recovery and sleep help to repair the tissue damage producing a stronger body.  The best way to recover is to rest, and the best way to rest is to sleep. When listening to the elite runners the topic of sleep always comes up as an important part of their training routine. One particular elite runner mentioned that she went to bed at 10pm and slept until 9am with a two hour nap during the day. I know what you’re saying; who has that kind of time? I guess elite runners do. The important message here is that the elite runners consider sleep as an important part of their training.

One major fact concerning sleep recovery is that the body produces humangrowth hormone during this time, which is responsible for tissue repair and growth.  This is the legal and free way to take steroids. The important fact to remember is that sleep is responsible for the activation of the body’s natural muscle tissue repair system called human growth hormone. It is recommended that a person in training should get at least eight hours of sleep per night. Another recovery technique considering sleep is to find time during the day to snooze for one hour.  Concerning race day the most important sleep night is the night before the night before the race. The night before a race we are usually to nervous and anxious to get in a good sleep. The message here is to focus getting in a good nights sleep two nights before the race. Race day is usually on a Sunday, which means the important night for sleep would be Friday.

Now continue to train hard, and remember to get your sleep!

Happy Running!

John K Carlson, V.P.