Skip to content
August 04 2012 / Emily

Confession: I Love Sleep.

I have a very shameful confession to make: I really love to sleep. 

On the surface maybe that’s not so bad, but I think I love sleeping more than running.  I fear this makes me less of a Runner (yes, a capital-R “Runner”).  It seems like everyone else just thrives off getting out of bed before dawn and ticking off those miles instead of dreaming a few more sweet little dreams.

Do I feel a little badass when I do get out the door in the dark?  Yes.
Does a part of me still wish I was sleeping instead? Yes.

Today is (at least) the second Saturday in a row where I’ve woken up early to prepare for a run.  My downfall is the perceived need for sustenance before longer runs, because instead of rolling out of bed and right out the door, I have to do that whole pesky eating thing.  So I wait for the water to boil for a mug of tea and I choose between oatmeal and a banana, or both for really long runs.  That leaves me lots of time to think.  I probably need to try running on empty to cut out another distraction.

So this morning, I shuffle out of bed at 5:15a, and get ready.  Teeth brushed, contacts in, sports bra and shorts on, Garmin freshly charged overnight, tummy lightly lined with tea and oatmeal, cat fed, email and facebook and some running blogs read.  Then I sat down to contemplate how many miles I had time to run.  (In this example, I have somewhere to be around 8:50a.)  As I’m sitting, I get a little drowsy.  It’s 6:15a now (I’m a slowpoke) and I realize I won’t have time for as long of a run as I intended, by the time I get shoes and socks and shirt and Garmin and ponytail and out the door.

Of course this is where the sleepy voice in my head says “if you can’t get in Saturday double digits, it’s not worth it.”

I close my eyes to think a little more.  Open them up, 6:20a.  Decide that I’ll just stress myself out if I try to run “enough,” then have to come back and shower and get back out the door to my event by 8:40a.  So I peeled out of my running gear (two weeks in a row of this!!!) and curled back into bed for another hour+ of sleep.  Now I’m up, and feeling ashamed and guilty and in the mood to vent it on the blog.

I even went to sleep early last night!  Like 10:30p!

Sure, I’m pretty much always happy after a run, and often even during the run.  Especially if there is time to nap before a full day of events (no time today).  But I just don’t know how to get it through my thick, tired skull that I have to start choosing running over sleep, and sleep over having a social life and interacting with the world.  It seems that all the interviews I see with elites, they are like “No I always want to run.  Of course I want to run, who wakes up and doesn’t want to?” which just makes me feel again like I am not really a Runner.

So I know that to improve my running times, I need to run more.  To run more, I need to get up earlier, which means I either need to sleep earlier or sleep less.  Sleeping earlier means no evening television or spending time with friends; sleeping less means falling asleep at work and slowly pushing myself toward crash & burn.  I run to be healthy and stay fit; I run so I can eat and drink a little more freely.  I don’t want running to be the only thing I do, but I also want to get better.  I’m the only piece of this puzzle but I can’t even put it together.

How do you find the balance between fitness and a social life and sleep?


One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. laurenquartz / Aug 4 2012 10:32 AM

    Em, I know exactly what you’re saying! Though I haven’t really run in a long time, I definitely have had this struggle with thinking of training more hard core for running or triathlons in the past. I do know a few things that helped me:

    1) Running with someone in the early mornings. Of course you already know this, but I really found that for instance when I was training for my first half marathon in grad school, the only way I could get a run in before my 9AM class was to run with my roommate. We even made committments to go to the pool together to crosstrain, for which we’d leave at 6:30 AM. Without Erin as a partner, I would have slept in.

    2) While I’ve never run a marathon, I have heard and experienced the improvement in time just by running faster (not longer). Again, when I did that first half where I had ridiculously fast (for me) splits on one of the most difficult races in the nation (Cville is pretty darn hilly), I kept my long runs at the same pace as my short runs. I just started off running fast, and as I built up miles I kept the same speed. Not sure if that works for marathons, like I said, but it really worked for me with the half.*

    3) I know how you feel about trade-offs. And when I’d thought about training for a half iron man, I realized that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my friendships, time with my husband, and sleep for that athletic goal. It made a huge difference in my mentality to realize that I knew I COULD do a half ironman if I really wanted to, but that I am choosing not to. It feels much better knowing that I am making a choice than constantly lamenting that I have a goal that I can’t acheive. The truth is you CAN run marathons faster, but like you said, there is a sacrifice involved, and you just have to decide what you want to prioritize.

    *Also, as a sidenote, I learned from this experience that I really just love running fast. That’s what gets me motivated to run, and that’s when I’m excited to run: when I’m fit and fast. I don’t run super long runs b/c I don’t really think it’s fun. Not to say that you should share this same perspective, just that I think running should be fun, not a chore, and generally when it starts to become a chore for me I re-evaluate my motivations. No one needs to run marathons to stay fit. Lower mileage can certainly provide plenty of fitness benefits, and for me is just more fun. You’re not a bad Runner if you don’t feel like running every day. Maybe you just need to take a step back and think about what you do love about running, and go from there. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: