This runner’s gotta sleep.

20 Mar

*yawnstretchyawn* Slrrrrrrp the caffeine. Repeat.

That’s me these days. The zombie runner. And I don’t mean “zombie runner” in the cool, dress-up for Halloween 5k kind of way. I mean, I literally feel like the death-warmed-over kind of zombie runner. I look in the mirror and I do not see the same energetic, pep-in-her-step-filled runner that used to be there. I cannot lose faith though. She is in there…somewhere. And maybe if I can catch just a few more zzzzz’s, I can find her.

Getting enough sleep was never something I really thought about before. After work, I could quickly change my clothes (faster and stealthier than Superman does in a phone booth, no doubt!), head straight to the gym or running group, work out until I nearly dropped, eat dinner, shower, and then slide into bed. Tired mind, tired muscles, restful sleep. It was a no-brainer.

These days, notsomuch.

I am operating in this vicious cycle where lack of sleep (or not enough quality sleep) produces tired mornings. I slam back the coffee in order to just get moving (I used to be totally anti-caffeine), but then I crash. I then work all day and by the time I get through my hour and a half commute, I seriously have to FORCE myself to run or workout. Running groups and running clubs that I used to be a part of and find so much joy in seem so far away from me now. I used to anxiously watch the clock tick-tock the hours away so that I could get to my evening runs. I hate that I now have to talk myself into them. I know all of this is temporary, but…

But sleep and rest are NECESSARY. I just cannot function being half-alive. I need quality sleep.

But here is the “chicken and egg” conundrum….one of the largest benefits of running is improved sleep! One running study conducted in Australia found that runners seemed to have great sleep efficiency, meaning that compared to the total amount of time spend in bed, more runner were actually spending that time asleep.

“If you’re an athlete, there may be one simple way to improve your performance: sleep. A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina. The results of this study reflect previous findings seen in tennis players and swimmers.” ~ The Huffington Post

So what do I do in the meantime? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do…I am going to keep pushing forward. I will keep slogging through my sloppy, poor-form runs until I feel that I can do better. If my 110% is 10 minutes on the treadmill, then I will be the 10 Minute Champion. I know that if I keep pushing through, eventually I will come out on the other side. Granted, Baby Key might be 10 years old when that time finally comes, but at least I won’t have to sit on the sidelines until that day.

This is what I feel like before I even get started.


But since it is almost noon…can I grab a lunchtime nap under my desk? I could make George Costanza really proud right about now.

How do YOU fight the fatigue? Is it a mental hurdle you have to leap or is it truly a physical one?

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9 Responses to “This runner’s gotta sleep.”

  1. Robyn Diez March 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM #

    Just keep fighting through! My kiddo is 6 and I often feel like I’m just bouncing back and forth to make TIME. Topped with working and working on my Masters I don’t ever feel like there’s much sleep time left. Interrupted sleep? I haven’t forgotten it yet.

    It will pass. Beebs will get bigger and you’ll be rested again.

  2. rchackman March 20, 2012 at 1:42 PM #

    Can’t even imagine trying to train and take care of a youngster! Sleep is the best kind of recovery an athlete can get ! It is possibly as important as the workouts themselves 🙂

    • katieRUNSthis March 20, 2012 at 2:00 PM #

      I see other parents doing it and they make it look SO EASY! Are they bionic or something? I seriously don’t know how they do it. I’m struggling. Determined, but struggling. 🙂

      • rchackman March 20, 2012 at 2:21 PM #

        hahaha. They must be bionic ;)! I am sending some positive vibes your way today

  3. running on faith March 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM #

    It does get easier when your baby is a little older because they will sleep 11+ hours a night with naps. Granted, there are many nights when my toddler still wakes up and some periods of transition were rough (teething, toddler bed, etc.) but yeah, I’m pretty much VERY tired at the end of the day, every day. I have to do a morning workout because I’m too tired at night but I know with your work schedule that might not be possible. I think we all just should do the best we can, whether that is train for a 5k or take on an ultra:)

  4. Nicole March 20, 2012 at 8:56 PM #

    I hear you! My one and a half and three year old have both been sick this last week, causing them to wake up hourly. I feel like I’m back in the bad old baby days again! I think after a while your body does adjust. With the second child I was so used to being tired that I didn’t even notice! Good on you for persisting. I gave up for a couple of years and am paying the price for it now as I try to get back into it. Don’t be too hard on yourself!

  5. Jina @ Behold the Turtle March 20, 2012 at 10:14 PM #

    I think running moms are amazing! I love how determined you are. I feel tired, unmotivated and find it difficult to fit in runs some days, and I’m only worrying about myself (and my dog).

    • katieRUNSthis March 21, 2012 at 8:12 AM #

      I just *thought* I was busy before a baby! Ha! Before him, it was just me, my husband, and our pup. We had so much freedom back then! 😀 Now I just have to be more determined to make it happen.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. It’s time for a full-body overhaul. « - April 23, 2012

    […] baby now…which, in itself, changes EVERYTHING. I know I have mentioned at least a dozen times how he *still* doesn’t sleep at night. These sleepless nights are putting me in this vicious cycle of being tired, half-assing my […]

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