Friday, July 15, 2011

to sleep or not to sleep

When I started training for the Tinman regularly I knew I was going to have to make some sacrifices. One of those things would be the late nights of drinking I had become used to. The parties at the gym on Tuesday night, cheap wine night on Wednesday, first Friday and all the other fun days in between.

For the most part I am completely OK with that. I have always loved hanging out in smaller groups or one on one anyway and very rarely feel the need to go out and party it up until 3:00am. The problem is when Tinman started for various reasons (financial, time, sheer exhaustion) I pretty much stopped going out all together. My routine became wake up, go to work, go to whatever workout I had that night, eat, relax for an hour or two, go to bed. Repeat.

I have never had trouble sleeping in my life. It's amazing, my head hits the pillow and I am out cold... that is until I started training harder. While doing marathon training I never had this problem, but now I have a hard time falling asleep especially after a super hard workout.

Last night I had an invitation to go to a birthday party. My body is definitely more used to the harder workouts now and I am less exhausted after so I felt like I need to venture out into the real world again. I knew I wasn't going to stay out late or eat bad, but I was still trying to talk myself out of it for about 2 hours before going. It would cost money, it would throw off my routine, what if I was too tired tomorrow to even get to work! Since I already had RSVP'd yes I decided to go even though the last thing I wanted to do at 8pm was put on a dress and makeup.

I am glad I went, it was a lot of fun and I really really needed to interact with people and break up the routine. I had one beer and actually even though I wasn't in bed until midnight I slept the best I have in weeks. I was up way before my alarm went off today!

So, any other athletes out there have an advice on what the correct balance is? I know I need rest, but do you allow yourself to go out like once night a week or do you drink a few times a week? What's the magic number?


  1. I can only tell you my experience from basic training. 2 days a week we would run, for miles and miles. 3 days a week we would do upper and lower body work outs. When we started my mile and a half time was 17 minutes or so. I was slow. By the end I think my mile and a half time was under 12 minutes.

    The morning workouts would start around 5am and we would be showered and in the chow line by 7:30am. Then we would march, everywhere. walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. After 8 weeks it was like night and day.

    Never once did I have a hard time falling asleep. Then again we did not drink any soda or beer for that entire time. We ate a lot more healthy that I probably had prior to then. Not sure if that helps but good luck!

  2. I struggle with this all the time. I haven't found a magic number, but sometimes I just feel like my body is telling me I need it. Sometimes afterwards I have the best workouts ever, sometimes they suck. And sometimes I even skip them. You will figure out what works best for you.