8 Reasons Why Runners Need Ample Rest

It’s a no brainer that a strict healthy diet and an effective workout plan are two most important components that make a runner race-ready. However, the importance of sufficient sleep—which is often overlooked—is another key facet to a runner’s training program. If you’re not yet fully convinced that this should be prioritized, here are eight compelling reasons why you should always factor in adequate rest and sleep to prepare you for a day of running.

All in Vain

When you allow sleep to fall by the wayside, your efforts are all for naught. Running coach Joe English stressed the significance of sleep in an interview in Runner’s World where he stated, “Sleep is as important as your workouts,” he notes. “When you start robbing from that pot to get everything else done, the quality of your training—and of everything else—starts to fall apart.”

Heal Better

Sleep is the best kind of recovery there is. Having less of it amidst heavy training means your body doesn’t get to fully recuperate. In the same Runner’s World article, Montefiore Medical Center’s Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program director Shelby Harris, Psy.D. explains that it is during sleep when your pituitary glands secrete an important growth hormone that’s responsible for mending muscle and bones. Furthermore, while some people may think that sleep deficiency and risk of injury have no connection, Harris disagrees. Lack of sleep decreases your muscles’ ability to use glycogen for energy, so you can consider yourself running at a disadvantage if you’re sleep-deprived.

Nap to Pay Off Your Debt

Whether it’s for your training, for work, or for everyday activities, if you keep running low on sleep, you’re not doing yourself any favors. If a runner continues to miss out on quality sleep the “accumulated debt can affect performance and mood.” To remedy this situation, look to adapt your sleeping habits. Additionally, it is also important to squeeze in naps within the day. In an interview with Leesa health expert Jim White suggests that having 20 to 30-minute power naps is a great way to get some rest in through the day. However, if you get in two to three hours’ worth of naps in a day, it becomes counter-productive.

Facilitate the Learning Process

In the same very informative Runner’s World post, getting the right amount of shuteye is the time where your mind and body process the training you’ve done for the day. This is the opportunity for your faculties and bodily functions to consolidate and turn training experiences into useful memories. Florida’s Center for Circadian Medicine director Matthew Edlund, M.D. notes that sleep is needed for your brain to process the details of your training from body position, power in every stride, and every facet in between.

Stay Strong

Sleep plays a key role with regards to your concentration. For a runner, pushing your physical limits is what training is all about and with proper sleep you can reach new heights. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute underscores that sleep safeguards your physical health as much as it does your mental health. “The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.” If you feel that you haven’t been making the most out of your training sessions, why not examine how you’ve been sleeping lately? There’s a high probability you are sleep-deprived or you can find ways to improve the quality of sleep you’re getting.

Remain Sharp

You can also become sluggish and out-of-sorts—which can easily creep into your training- if you aren’t sleeping properly. Every time you put on your running shoes, you want to be able to maximize every second of training and not the other way around.

Run Lighter

Running minus some excess pounds can significantly improve your performance. With sufficient sleep, you are able to aid weight-loss, especially when paired with the right nutrition and training. The Running Competitor explains that when you’re low on sleep, your appetite is in overdrive which makes you susceptible to impulsive eating as you become hungrier while you’re awake.

You Might Get Sick

Sleep deprivation can cause a number of illnesses, which will soon impact your performance on the track. Ailments such as arthritis, back pain, elevated blood pressure, asthma, depression can be caused by sleep deprivation. If you want to keep on breaking through fitness plateaus, always make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep.

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