Athlete Journal: Andrew Read, Entry 17 – Sleep Is Important

This week I discovered, or rediscovered, that sleep actually is an important thing when training for Ironman. I did great up until Thursday, and then things just started getting rough.

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Journal Entry 17 – Sleep Is Important

With last week being a recovery week I really felt great at the start of the week. That lasted until about Thursday morning. That wasn’t the plan but things have been a bit topsy-turvy in my professional world this week and coupling that with a really big training day Thursday has proven to be a bit much.

My normal week looks like this –

  • Monday: Kettlebells plus swim.
  • Tuesday: Run an hour, ride two.
  • Wednesday: Kettlebells plus swim.
  • Thursday: Run an hour, ride two.
  • Friday: Kettlebells plus swim.
  • Saturday: Long run, optional short ride later.
  • Sunday: Long ride with short run off the bike.

This week I am fairly busy all weekend teaching training workshops so I wanted to make sure of a few things. Firstly, that I got my long ride in. That is the single longest session for the week and the one that is hardest to recover from. Secondly, that no matter what I made sure to get my long run in.

So when I say I felt good until Thursday morning that is because once I finished teaching my first class I had organized it so I had no more work for the day. By 8:00am I was on my bike riding. That ride turned into a three and a half hour ride. That’s nowhere near long enough by Ironman standards, but it’s the longest I’ve been on in a while because the weather here has been so bad it’s been difficult to get out for too long. For good measure I followed that up with an hour run later in the day. Not a bad effort for a Thursday getting four and a half hours of training in.

The problem with that is that I needed to be up later than usual fetching someone from the airport. Normally you’d try to get more rest after a big day, not less. My swim the next morning was a massive struggle and I actually pulled the pin after only 3000m – about 1km short of my usual distance.

To make sure I got my long run in I needed to be up by 5:00am on Saturday morning so I could be finished, showered, and fed by the time I needed to start work at 8:15am. Luckily I live close to work. I also added an hour run Sunday morning before work just to be sure.

The lessons from the week have been good. I found that even with tired legs I could run at my normal pace. I may feel stiff and lethargic but my pace is okay. I’m sure as I build more into Ironman preparation that I will be spending much more time with tired legs and I’m curious how that will pan out as the mileage goes up. I was most concerned about how my previously injured calf would hold up to a decent run when my legs were tired and I was one hundred percent pain free the next day. I’m hoping that is a good indicator those problems are fully behind me now. The other lesson is simple – sleep is the most important thing when training hard. Losing two hours of sleep having to go to the airport really drained me the next day in training. So make sure if you increase your training plan you increase your recovery plan too.