Monday, August 20, 2012

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 9

Well, I am half ways through training!  It has gone fast, but it know the next 9 are going to go even faster as the next couple of months are going to be super busy for me due to some things happening at work.

Today I wanted to talk about another important aspect of marathon training that I am really struggling with:  sleep.  There are a few good articles out there, like this one and this one.  Bottom line, runners, or anyone training for an endurance event, need sleep.  Probably more sleep than they would need under normal conditions.  According to William O. Roberts, M.D., associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and medical director of the Twin Cities Marathon, "A sleep-deprived person is physically able to run the same distance or lift the same weight, but the mental effects can have consequences."

That is phrase probably sums up how I have been feeling lately.  I have been getting my workouts in and have been happy with how they have gone - especially my long runs, but I have felt more mentally and physically fatigued lately.  I am still absolutely loving marathon training and haven't hit a burn out point, but I just really wish I could get a bit more sleep.

Most nights, my sleep pattern looks like this (according to the sleep ap I used  I'm obsessed with on my iPhone):

I awake multiple times and don't really sleep deeply for very long.
  Then once every week or two, the stars align, or my body gives in to the exhaustion, and I sleep like this!

A blissfully deep night of sleep!
 Sleeping has never been my forte.  I struggle to fall asleep.  I struggle to stay asleep.  I avoid caffeine after noon, take melatonin at night, read for 30 minutes before going to bed, and while some of those activities do help, I still suck at sleeping.  Add in the fact that I am dealing with some stressful things at work (that I can't share at this point), and well, some days I'm a hot tired mess. 

I don't really have any solutions at this point, but one way I compensate for sleeping less is trying to plan a less full calendar.  I try to reserve 1-2 nights a week that are absolutely unplanned, and I had a couple of unplanned weekends this month.  Having more downtime seems to help compensate for the fact that I'm getting around 7-7.5 hours of sleep a night (ideally I'd like to get 8-9).  My schedule will be out of my control in September when I start to travel for work (hello, 4 business trips in 5 weeks).  I wish I could store up these times of relaxation, but I know that isn't how it works.  I guess when I start traveling, I will have to use the plane rides as times to relax or something like that!

On  a positive note, I think I have picked out my marathon race outfit - or at least my race shirt.  I think it will provide for maximum spotability - don't you think?

And yes, that is a large bunny that we are crowding around and no, I do not know why there is a giant bronze bunny in a random location in south Minneapolis!

Here is how the training broke out this week:

Monday:  Hills, 8 miles, 9:36 pace.  The temps were cool this evening so this workout went pretty well!

Tuesday:  Biked 11 miles on a stationary bike and did some strength training, focusing on my core and arms.

Wednesday:  7.35 miles w/ 3 miles at half marathon pace.  My goal for those 3 miles was 8:40, my pace ended up being 8:49.  I feel so so about that.  I gave it my all, so I can't really complain.

Thursday:  4.15 mile recovery run at 9:22 pace.  I felt SO tired during this run.  I had slept very poorly the night before (less than 5 hours of sleep), and just felt sluggish.  It was 65, but 83% humidity so not the best conditions.

Friday:  rest

Saturday:  16 miles at 9:21 pace.  Another awesome long run!!  We picked it up at the end so our last mile was an 8:50 pace!  Felt awesome!

Sunday:  rest

Training totals:

Week 9:  35.5 miles
Training to date:  269 miles

Would you say that you are a 'good sleeper'?  Like I said, I suck at it and I don't enjoy it.  I know some people enjoy sleeping and would almost list it as a hobby, but if I could take a (legal) pill to replace the need to sleep, I totally would as I do not really 'enjoy' sleeping. 


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I would DEFINITELY take a pill if I didn't have to sleep :) I hate sleep too and I'm definitely bad at it so I feel your pain. I hope things at work get better fast, other than the travel which I'm sure can't be avoided. If you can just get Boston on that schedule I promise to plan relaxation time into your trip :)

missris said...

I'm usually a good sleeper but there are nights where I can't sleep/don't sleep well and I am always miserable the next day. It makes a huge difference!!

Donna said...

I love to sleep but have been having insomnia lately, like you. Trouble falling and staying asleep. Add to that a 2-year-old who keeps getting up at 4:30 or 5 every morning, and this has really not been a good week for sleep in my house!

Caroline said...

I looove the bright shirt! You will be so easy to spot : ) I've used the sleep cycle app a couple of times, it's really cool but I don't love having to keep my phone on my bed. For me, I have trouble falling asleep (rather than staying asleep) when I have a lot going on or I'm stressed out. I downloaded an app that plays relaxing music tones and focus on clearing my head or thinking about something really happy.

abbi said...

You are definitely easy to spot! I love sleeping and most of the time, I'm pretty good at it but usually have a week or so each month where I have a terrible time getting to sleep and staying asleep!

Marlys said...

I, too, have struggled with sleep most of my life! Deep sleep is so necessary, but hard to attain. I wish there was a magic remedy, besides sleeping pills! I have never gone that route. I truly think hormones figure into the sleep cycle, especially for women!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Sleep used to come so easily to me, but as I have gotten older it has gotten much worse. I aim for 8 hours per night but probably get closer to 7 each night.
I really need to start using that app again! I charge my phone on a dock now so that was why I stopped. I should pick up another cord.
Hope things at work settle down. I'm always here if you need to vent!

Amber said...

I am a good sleeper when it comes to falling asleep and also falling back asleep if I wake up too early in the morning, but I do tend to toss and turn a lot at night, especially lately in the hot summer months. I also remember tossing and turning LOTS on nights before long runs during marathon training. I think marathon training is just exhausting period, and then you throw in not sleeping well and it's way worse. I definitely remember feeling like that at the peak of training last spring! Hope you start sleeping better soon.

J said...

Ohh what is that app that you are using! I have a sleep app but it only counts the hours I sleep. I wonder if I "wake up" at night. I hardly remember, I usually am such a sound sleeper!

Raquelita said...

I am pretty good at sleeping, but that also means that I am completely out of it on those occasions when I don't get at least 7 hours/night. My sleeping patterns have been a bit off this summer because of all the traveling, though, but I'm hoping to start getting a nighttime ritual in place that has me in bed by 10pm most nights soon.

Marisa A. said...

First: You are fast! My 16 mile pace was 10minutes/mile! Also, I use Valerian Root pills to help me sleep. They have worked wonders for me as I have problems staying asleep through the night. You can find them at any of the co-ops around town if you're looking for something else to try.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

That sucks. I was just reading an article about hitting the wall and how a lot of it is mental fatigue. It's hard to combat, as you can't control it as easily as you can control physical fatigue. I have to say though, 7 and a half hours of sleep seems good. I mean, ideally, I would like more, but I think 7.5 is doable. But maybe I am not seeing the big picture, which is all the times you wake up during that period. Does the app take out the middle of the night awake periods?

I probably sleep about 6.5-8 hours a night. Right now it's more toward the 6.5 mark. It's not due to sleep issues though; I am having a hard time w time management and so am staying up later and later each night. It's going to catch up to me soon!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Oh shoot. I meant to comment on your shirt. That is awesome! I could pick you out of a crowd from miles away. Now if you could just make that girl let you borrow her matching compression socks...

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Yes, I think that shirt will be noticeable for sure!! Definitely nice for spectators and photos. I sleep pretty soundly (that I know of), but the manfriend seems to struggle with solid sleep, which is a bummer. This morning I woke up 1 minute before our alarm went off for the airport (heading to Chicago). My body seems to know exactly when it needs to be up.

Stephany said...

Oh my gosh, sleep is one of my absolute favorite things. lol. I have no issues going to sleep and staying asleep. It's the getting up part that's hard! ;)

I used to use Sleep Cycle all the time but I haven't lately because I'm a little weirded out about having my phone right next to me in bed. But I do love how easily it woke me up!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I think I am a decent sleeper ... sometimes great, sometimes terrible, so it all evens out.