Quick Tip: Maximize Your Training by Getting Enough Sleep


Stop it.

Stop looking for tips/tricks/hacks to help you shave a few seconds or minutes off of your PR when you are ignoring the single biggest thing that you can do to improve your performance and maximize the results of the work you’re putting in.

Seriously, stop.

If you want to maximize the impact of your training and reach your goals quicker, none of the things listed above matter.

Getting Enough Sleep is Vital to Running Success

Getting Enough Sleep is Vital to Your Running Success

If you want to get the most out of your training, the thing you really need to do is start getting enough sleep.

Why Getting Enough Sleep Matters

While we are sleeping, our body systems are working overtime.

And one of the biggest tasks that our bodies undertake while we are sleeping is tissue repair.

When we are running, and especially during hard workouts, our muscles/ligaments/bones are damaged due to our running.

And that repair process is how our bodies adapt to become stronger, faster, and more resistant to injuries.

So by getting enough sleep, not only do you feel rested in the morning but you are literally stronger than you were when you went to bed the night before.

If you’re not getting enough sleep most night, your body is going to break down and your odds of becoming injured go up dramatically.

4 Suggestions to Help You Get Enough Sleep (& Better Sleep) on a Regular Basis

  • Go to Bed: Ok, so this one is kind of a no-brainer, but if you know you need to get up at 5 for your run, staying up until 12 to watch Fallon probably isn’t very wise. I promise, there’s nothing wrong with going to bed between 9 and 9:30. And if you really like Fallon that much, catch the highlights on YouTube the next day. They’ll still be funny, guaranteed.
  • Cut the Caffeine: I feel like such a hypocrite telling you to drink less coffee, but the truth is that caffeine later in the day can definitely impact your ability to fall asleep. Additionally, having caffeine in your system while you’re trying to sleep can decrease the quality of your sleep as well. I’ve found that if I stop with the coffee around 2 o’clock or so, I tend to get better sleep that night.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: I don’t know about you, but I’ve often felt that having a drink before bed helps me to relax and fall asleep a little easier. While that may be true, it turns out that the way our bodies process alcohol prevents us for getting as restful and restorative sleep as we would get without the night cap. So if you’re already cutting it close in terms of quantity of sleep, don’t sacrifice the quality by imbibing as well.
  • Turn Away from the Screens: The bright lights of our screens, from phones to TVs, can through off our body’s natural timer and make it harder for us to fall asleep. This is an area that has been studied a lot in the past 10-15 years, as more and more electronics are making their way into our lives. In a perfect world, we’d all stop using our screens at least an hour before we head to bed. But if that’s not an option for you, try adjusting the brightness of your screen. If you’re using an iPhone, there’s a new setting when you swipe up from the lock screen, or the home screen, that allows you to have the screen dim automatically at certain times of day. And if you’re an Androider, there are apps available that will do the same thing. Get one and start using it!

Another tool that I use to help improve the quality of my sleep is an app called Sleep Cycle.

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This app is available for iOS and Android, and actually measures both the quality and quantity of your sleep each night. It also has a really cool alarm clock feature to help you wake up at the optimal time for you most mornings.

I think it costs $2, but it’s one of the few apps I’ve ever paid for that I feel is very well worth the cost. So check it out if you haven’t already.


When it comes to sleep, we as runners need to make sure we are getting quality and quantity on a daily basis.

Otherwise, we are literally sabotaging ourselves and our running.

Start taking a few steps today to ensure you’re not only getting enough sleep every night, but also to get the maximum benefit from every minute you spend in bed.

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What is the Biggest Obstacle in Your Way of Getting Enough Sleep on a Regular Basis?

4 replies
  1. Stephen Lee
    Stephen Lee says:

    Brother I couldn’t agree more with this. Of course i have had to learn this lesson the hard way. Now i will even sacrifice some run time just to get a little more sleep. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  2. Justin
    Justin says:

    It’s funny. I know how important sleep is and I’m constantly telling fellow runners the same. I have a timer set to tell me to stop what I’m doing and write down my last thoughts for where to pick up (if I’m working). More often than not, writing things down makes me think of a solution, which gets me excited, which then makes me work for another 30, 40, 60… HOW IS IT 11:00?!? I’m slowly getting better at not getting carried away, especially on days after hard workouts or nights before I have to get up with (or before) the sun.

    Great post with great advice! Keep it rollin’!

    Reply
    • Denny
      Denny says:

      Thanks for checking in and leaving your thoughts Justin.

      No matter how much we know we need to get to bed, some nights (too many?) it just doesn’t happen!

      Reply

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