Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Eat, run, repeat…. but don’t forget to sleep!!!!!

Here’s a typical day in my life – Wake up. Eat. School. Eat. More school. More eating. Run. A lot. Eat. Homework. Eat some more. Go to showchoir/youth group/ piano lessons/ football games/whatever else I need or want to do. Do more homework. I sleep only when I have time for it. But according to the Running Times Magazine, and I’m sure a lot of other sources would agree, sleeping is one of the most important parts of training.

According to this article from the Running Times Magazine, adequate sleep (at least 7 hours) is critical to the recovery of your muscles. Human growth hormone (HGH) is released from the pituitary gland during the third and fourth stages of sleep. It helps your muscles and bones build and repair themselves after a hard workout, and it helps the body use more fat for fuel. Sleep is also necessary for the body to properly store glycogen, the fuel stores that your body uses during a run. Too little sleep can result in more production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can impair recovery and repair of your muscles.

How much sleep you need varies from person to person. I often get about 6 hours of sleep on the average night, but I don’t think that I’m always getting enough because I’m tired so often. I’m thinking that if I really want to PR, maybe I should work on setting a new PR on how much sleep I’m getting! And since the affects of that late-nighter kick in about two days afterward, I know that I need to start making it a habit of going to bed earlier regularly! Sleep always seems to be last on my list of priorities, but really, I need to make it much closer to the top! I always am so focused on getting everything else like my running and my homework done first, and then I sleep whenever I have leftover time. It should be the other way around. I need to keep sleep at the top of my priority list and make sure that I keep sleep in my schedule.

Chicago-area running coach C.J. Welter says, “The one thing I tell all my runners is that, in the final weeks of training — or actually tapering — you can do more by sleeping than you can by running,” We only have three weeks left until the state cross country meet. It’s getting close to the weeks where we begin tapering, or backing off of our mileage and intensity of workouts so we can be rested for the state meet. As my mileage goes down, I’m going to try to increase my hours of sleep at the same rate! I hope it helps!

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