Caren Ware's Blog

July 20, 2010

Sleep is overrated!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 5:20 am

My staff jibbed, “Caren.  Sleep is overrated.  You can do enough of that when you are dead.”  Wish that was true.  Sleep is so necessary. I think I will be dead if I don’t learn how to get this deadline business curbed so I can find 8 hours of sleep more than a few times a month!  My running sucks right now.  No pretending.  I tried to run 9 miles on Friday and had to walk and dog almost every hill.  Val, an advid triathlete, who has run lots of miles with me was astounded.  “Caren.  Something is up.  I have never seen you drag around like this.  Ever.”  I tried again to run along the inviting rough surf of Oxnard on Saturday .  I trudged and then I was walking.  Ugh. I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep as we were up for to time a 5K.  I repeated a worse scenerio on Sunday with only 3 hours sleep before having to time the Strawberry Fields triathlon.

I felt like sending out S.O.S.s emails to avid runners.  What’s up?  I am novice to this.  Why am I slugging out? Thank you, Chris, the Ultra Runner who just did Badwater to Whitney for taking the time to give me this detailed advice. It answered my S.O.S with practical stuff I already knew, but wasn’t doing.  I am shutting the office down and going to bed!  I really needed this advice.  Maybe many of you do too. 

Hey Caren,

I know you are not specifically asking for advice, but I feel compelled to throw a few things out there.

 1. Sleep; You cannot successfully compromise this. It is the one workout that you have to have. Sleep is the only time your body recovers from its journey(s). Think of your body as you would the road infrastructure of a city. At night, when all is quiet, the workers come out and patch up everything, make some changes, clean it all up. Your body works much in the same way. While you sleep, it’s workers come out and do the work necessary to get you over the hump and on to the next level. You need 7-8 hours a night…period, no matter who you are. If you don’t adhere to this, the injuries will not heal. These injuries can be something as simple as micro muscle tears from training, all the way up to major injuries. And the minor ones will become major without rest (sleep). If you don’t listen to your body when it says it is tired, it will then present you with an injury as the only way to slow you down. Your body will take you down if it thinks that is the only way to slow you down. You ONLY get stronger and avoid injury through the inclusion of rest and 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This is not theory, it is mandatory.

 2. Diet; Eat right without compromise. Good healthy food with balance. Keep the sugar down and enjoy the coffee. Especially for its “fat for fuel” capabilities.

3. Walking;  In your long training, include walking. Use a “10 minute pattern”. Run seven, walk three. Or any combination that works for you. Six/four is good when you are tired. I used five/five for hours during Badwater.

This takes the stress off your body and allows it small recovery periods mixed in with your running. Keep your walking segments crisp and brisk. Sometimes you will be moving just as fast as someone whose motion is that of running.

 4.  Teach your body to use fat for fuel…caffeine is great for this. You have enough fat to run for weeks. In comparison, You have enough glycogen for 3-4 hours and I’m not convinced you can replace it efficiently on the run.

 5. In long events…walk the hills at a fast clip. In my first ultra, ironically in Malibu Creek State Park, I asked a veteran runner for advice. he said ” run the hills, until it’s too hard to run, then walk until it’s too easy to walk….and haul ass on the downhill’s.  Always use good form on the downhill’s, so as to not pull back on your knees and use them for brakes. use your arms for brakes, not your knees.

 Your statement that you feel sluggish and are being forced to walk tells me your body is giving you some signals. It needs more balance. Look at your rest patterns, diet and training habits. You will most likely find your answers here. For the interim, slow it all down. maybe you don’t need one more long run. Ask yourself if it will truly make you a better runner for the upcoming event. Many times that last long run, will only serve as a catalyst for an injury. Especially with how you are feeling.  Replace it with rest and you might find part of the answer.



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