Quality Sleep = Quality Run
I have proven time and time again that when you sleep well, you run well. A perfect case in point has just taken place in the past 72 hours. On Saturday evening around 7pm, my husband and I decided to go out for a 4 mile run. Sure this was after spending the previous night in a hotel room, walking on a college tour, eating “lunch” at Ben & Jerry’s and driving home 3 hours, but it still proves a point nevertheless. It was a touch humid out and looked like it could pour at any moment. Usually when it rains buckets, I can run awesome, but not this particular day. I was struggling from the get-go because it is not my usual time of day to run and I felt extremely sluggish. However, I was making myself run mostly because I indulged in Ben & Jerry’s at lunch time but I also wanted to finish the week at 45 miles total. You can see from the picture below that for those 4 miles produced a measly 13:08 per mile pace. Even with the rain, I still felt terrible although the “outdoor shower” felt good. The run was just brutal, but sometimes you just have to do it. It’s funny because more often than not when I train on a daily basis, I always feel 100 times worse than I do when I am actually running a marathon. I ALWAYS feel better in a marathon and keep a much better pace (even in miles 20-26) then than when I am going out for my daily run, unless I am having a “good” day. I am convinced it is because of the daily cumulative fatigue that comes with training and for the actual marathon, I am rested and ready to roll. For this particular run, we were soaked and finished by 8pm, ate a little something, took a shower and went to sleep around 9:30.
You can see by the sleep data below, I slept a whopping 8 hours and 36 minutes (although I did initially wake up around 4am for a little while). It was awesome. I woke up the next day feeling refreshed and ready for another run.
Now I was ready to run at my normal time of day (8-10am) and you can see that our pace was an amazing average of 9:34 minutes per mile! Once we got going, we felt incredible so we went with it. Personally, I had no great expectations that I would feel so good, but I am convinced it is because I had quality sleep the night before where my body truly recharged itself. Over the years, I have found this to be true over and over. When I run exceptionally well in training, it is almost always directly related to a great night of restful sleep of at least 8 hours. So remember, if you want to run well the next day, do yourself a big favor and give your body the rest it truly deserves.