One of the things that I struggle with each and every time that marathon training comes about is figuring out how to get enough sleep and rest. My typical day includes getting up to run, rushing around to get ready for work, hitting work for 9-10 hours, and coming home to make dinner/catch up on things/go to sleep. Oh, how I would love the elite life where you have a good chunk of time in the middle of the day for a nap…
That being said, resting is imperative to your success for marathon day! It’s required to give your muscles a chance to recover, especially after tough runs. Your entire body actually needs that recovery time, as it’s quite easy to get rundown if you are running a million miles… and going a million miles a minute!
I always use taper as a time to “catch up” — which sounds ridiculous since you can’t really do that for the past 16 weeks — on all the sleep. Less training = more time to sleep.
During marathon training, I’ve learned a few things to help me get enough rest:
>>>Sleep doesn’t mean you’re weak. For some reason, I feel like I’m weak when I have to throw in the towel on the day and admit that I am too tired to make it another minute without sleeping. I have always been a sleep fighter, much to the disappointment of my parents, I’m sure.
When it comes to marathon training, if your body needs sleep, you should give it to it! Long run days and days with hard workouts will be the days when you are most exhausted. Sometimes I feel like I’m just as exhausted on rest days because my body is like, “what? a break? finally!”
>>>Rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleep. Rest comes in many forms and it’s not necessarily catching some zzz’s. I consider rest some time on the couch, whether I’m watching my favorite show or reading a book. Giving your body some time to recuperate without putting more stress on your legs can make a big difference in your recovery.
>>>Naps are the best invention ever. Omg. Yes. LOVE.
Sadly, I only usually get a good nap in on the weekend. They are amazing.
>>>It’s OK to give in. I tend to go overboard and plan a whole day of activities after a long run, or even a grueling day after a hard workout. Sometimes my body tells me no. So, I have to give in and listen to it in order to recover.
One of my biggest fears for marathon training is coming down with a cold or the flu… eek! Having this on the brain makes it easier to switch up my plans for a full-fledged recovery day.
>>>You are making your body do a LOT. It’s normal to be tired. Next time that grumpy coworker gives you the stank eye when she hears you spent your weekend on the couch bingeing on your new favorite TV show, don’t let her get to you. You deserve it! Training for a marathon is no small feat, and you need to treat your recovery the same way!
>>>…but not TOO tired. If you find that you are too tired and just can’t seem to catch up, it can signal a deeper issue. For me, this often indicates that I need to up my iron intake as I’m running low. If this is the case for you, make sure you see a medical professional — having the right balance of nutrients and a strong working system can make a HUGE difference in your running performance.
How do you find ways to rest during marathon training? Do you face any challenges with admitting you’re tired?
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