Sleep on this: A rested runner is a better runner

Runners begin their 26.2-mile trek in the 2016 Philadelphia Marathon.

BRRRIIINNNNNG!

BRRRIIINNNNNG!

Hey, sleepy head, that’s your alarm going off.

Well, here’s one clue: You went to bed too late, just like millions of Americans do every night. So now you’re tired, irritable and wondering how the night went by so quickly.

You just had to watch the end of that extra-innings Phillies game, right? Or maybe a Seth Meyers interview with Scarlett Johansson.

Whatever the excuse, you’re paying for it now. And guess what’s going to suffer? Your running.

Countless studies show that a rested runner is a better runner. Better can mean faster, less injury-prone, more consistent, etc.

So, if you are serious about your training, get serious about your sleep.

Here are five things (with some help from an article by Deb Dellapina on Competitor.com) that a solid eight hours in the sack can do to make anyone a more complete runner:

Muscle repair: Sleep is when your body repairs itself from the rigors of pounding the pavement. Research has shown that longer sleep hours enhance this process. That you probably already knew. But did you know that extended time in the sack can allow for brain wave patterns that may serve to assist in the formation of memories, learning and task completion? This will come in handy when trying to meet a track workout time deadline or hill-climb training regimen.

Weight control: Who can’t relate to this one? No matter your body fat percentage or body mass index, it seems like everyone wants to lose a few pounds. Or certainly not gain a few more.

That’s where good sleep comes in.

Sleep deprivation can result in hormonal balance being thrown off, in particular, something called leptin, which makes us feel hungry and forces your car to stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

More sleep, less leptin. And fewer containers of Ben and Jerry’s.

Fluid absorption: Right now, when summer is at its peak, is when you must be most aware of proper hydration.

During sleep, the kidneys balance sodium, water and electrolytes. If you’re dehydrated, fatigue can hurt this process.

Keep track of your urination frequency and coloration. If you wake up tired, don’t have the urge to hit the bathroom or urine is a dark color, chances are you aren’t consuming enough fluid and sleep deprivation can contribute to the problem.

Increased concentration: Runners who race know that there are a ton of factors involved in a quality performance, such as pace, course knowledge, weather conditions, proper gear, etc.

It’s no secret a tired runner has more difficulty focusing. How many times have you run a race where there was more than just the distance of the race involved in the level of fatigue?

This is especially critical in marathons, long-distance training runs and the like. A clear mind is needed to perform at the highest level and this doesn’t mean just getting eight hours of sleep the night before a race but the three or four nights prior to it.

Get your HGH on: Usually when we hear about HGH (human growth hormone), it’s some pro athlete taking illegal overdoses of the artificial/synthetic variety.

But the natural human growth hormone found in all of us is vital to rebuilding damaged tissue while building stronger muscles.

In addition, it helps convert fat to fuel and keeps your bones strong.

Research has shown that if your workouts are hard, your body may release greater quantities of HGH while you sleep and that’s a good thing.

Conversely, too little sleep can result in an increase in a nasty little fellow called cortisol, which contributes to slower recovery times.

So, there is no downside to going to bed early. Curl up with a good book (on your tablet of course) and hit the hay with a smile on your face, knowing a good night’s sleep is just as important as that 10-mile training run through the Bucks County hills.

A fabulous 4th at Revolutionary Run

It was another banner year for the 37th running of the Revolutionary Run 10K/5K on Tuesday.

Some 623 runners finished the 10K race and another 679 took part in the 5K.

Randy Vandenhengal, 27, of Willow Grove, won the men’s 10K title in 16:08 with Ethan Koza, 16, Newtown, second in 17:18.

Jenn Cronin, 27, North Wales, took the women’s 10K in 18:45. She was eighth overall. Iona Halliday, 32, was second in 19:04.

In the 5K, David Reichmann, 27, Lafayette Hill, was first on the men’s side in 36:04 and Bryan Keller, 17, Newtown, was second in 36:26.

On the women’s side, Rosie Mascoli, 26, crossed the finish line first in 37:42. She was seventh overall.

There were some great masters performances, too.

In the 10K, Connell McCall, 47, Philadelphia, ran a 38:41 for a masters-aged-graded rating of 80.1 percent. For the women, Justyna Wilson, 41, Warminster, posted an 81.2 percent.

In the 5K, Rick Mingione, 63, Morrisville, ran a 19:43 to post the high score for the entire day with an 82.9 percent. And for the women, Christine Lloyd, 48, Newtown, stopped the clock in 20:42 for a score of 78.0.

Wayne Fish: 215-949-4210; wfish@calkins.com; @waynefish1

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 293 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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