If you stop to think about it, 26.2 miles is an absurdly long way to run and yet, every year, thousands of people sign up, train hard, and do it – willingly! While challenging the human body and consistently keeping motivated and accountable is something the MapMyFitness team found in technology, even the most robust or plugged in of athletes can’t perform without one major thing – sleep. Here’s some tips from the team at Fitsugar for how to get the perfect snooze right before you lace up those shoes.
Pre-race jitters are common for everyone, even marathon pros. After all, those months of training have finally paid off, and your big day is finally here, so it’s understandable if you find it hard to get a full night’s rest. But since a well-rested body will help you perform your best on race day, follow these pre-race tips for a great night’s sleep.
- Find your room zen: If you’ve traveled for your race, make sure you get a room that’s far from noisy corridors, elevator shafts, and ice machines. Request a new room if you notice distractions that will make it hard to get a good night’s rest. If you’re at home, make sure your roommates or family know that you need to sleep early, so they can keep things quiet.
- Prep beforehand: Worrying about your race to-do list can keep you up well into the night. From your outfit to how you’re getting to the starting line, get as much prepped before bed as you can so you can minimize stress, and then make a to-do list so you know exactly what you still need to do.
- Don’t stuff yourself: Don’t let the excuse that you’re carbo-loading be an excuse to eat a big dinner that winds into the night. Eating too much can make it hard to get to sleep, so don’t go overboard when it comes to food and alcohol (and skip the dessert cappuccino, as well!).
- Wind down early: Call it a night early so you have time to adjust to your earlier bedtime and get ready for sleep. Reading or watching TV can help, but now’s not the time to decide to binge watch a new show or crack open an exciting book you’ve been meaning to read. Instead, listen to a calming playlist or podcast to help lull you to a full night of sleep.
- Have a backup plan: If you find it hard to get to sleep and the hours are slipping by, a sleep aid could be what you need to help you finally catch those all-important Z’s. Whether it’s all-natural melatonin or your Ambien prescription, remember to experiment with any sleep aids before the night of your race so you know how they’ll affect you the next day.
There you have it. While seemingly simple, sleep is the most important tool in your training repertoire. Another tip from MapMyFitness? Don’t rely on the immediate night before the race to be the only good night’s sleep you get. In fact, current and ongoing research from data teams monitoring professional athletes, including NFL players, have told our team that sometimes how a player sleeps on Thursday can be the biggest indicator of how they’ll play on Sunday. Now, where’s our eye mask. Oh, yes. Night night.