Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Early to Rise...

This morning I woke up and met my friends for an early morning track workout. I never ran track in highschool.... oh wait, I went to a small school that DID NOT HAVE A TRACK.... so the concept of "800's" is foreign to me. However, four smart ladies and four smart Garmins later, we had our attack planned.

If you ever read a running magazine and you feel intimidated by the verbiage surrounding the track, do not even try to figure it out by just reading. My experience is, you have to get out there and RUN it in order to actually understand it. If you cannot make it to a track, try finding a treadmill at the gym that has a track loop on it (you know, the little lights that take forever to move if you are running and staring at them....).

We did a warm up 2 miles (which equals 8 laps) at a 8:30-9:00 minute/mile pace. Here is what the rest looked like:

- 4 X 800 FAST followed by a walk/jog 400

ENGLISH: 1/2 mile fast, 1/4 mile slow ---- do that four times.

Finally, we did a cool down mile. I had to leave to head to class, but the rest of them stayed and actually ran more cool down miles. No, this picture is not this morning, but check out that cheesy grin and all that food. THAT my friends, is the best way to finish running!

I used to be a morning person until these last two semesters in grad school. I think work is more involved now AND my classes are more intense so my body just needs more sleep. I used to only get 4-6 hours of sleep a night. Now, if I only get 6, I am horrible to be around and I cannot function. Contrary to what some people might think, sleep is not passive. Your body is not JUST resting. Your body is repairing and rebuilding. YOU NEED SLEEP. Apparently, someone made it a rule that in order to be fit and be super human, you should just decrease sleep. Proponents of ORGANIC or CLEAN diets will drink excessive caffeine and then push themselves for weeks with only 4 hours of sleep a night.

 Now, understand that I know we all operate on a 24 hour day. You may be wondering how you would actually get a workout in if you had to get 8 hours of sleep, go to work, cook dinner, etc..... Here is the thing, I am talking about optimal health. What you do MOST of the time is more important than the little fluctuations that may occur in your schedule. For instance, if you read this blog, that was 5-10 minutes that you could have been walking or working out. Get off the computer! =) But seriously, I do not think that the occasional 4 hours of sleep will injure someone; it is the lack of sleep AND the addition of stress to the body for long periods of time DESPITE having signs and symptoms of fatigue. Listen to your body. Do not just drink more caffeine. Learn to rest.

Some people may say that they do not need as much sleep. Well, good for you super human! But just because you cannot stay asleep for 6 hours does not mean that you do not need it. We are seeing an increase in a "new" diagnosis called ADRENAL FATIGUE that encompasses fatigue, muscle aches, sleep and digestion disturbances and a few other things. Unfortunately, this is another one of those diagnoses that will get abused and people who want to have an ailment will be diagnosed and treated for this disorder. However, it is still something to be aware of and prevent getting to that extreme. On a personal note, my doctor diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue 7 months ago. I feel so much better now that I have made certain changes and tried to improve my sleep consistency and my sleep routine (apparently, coffee at 5pm keeps you up???? WHAT?) The theory behind adrenal fatigue is that individuals are continually in "fight or flight" mode and their bodies experience continual stress. A few of my fitness/runner friends have recently been diagnosed and I believe this is because of continual, consistent exercise, busy work schedules, and lack of sleep. Running, even though I love it, is a stress on my body. If I do not set aside time to rest, stretch, ice, and recover, I WILL HURT MYSELF. We can only do so much. I am certainly not saying to quit your workout routine or your job. I am just saying that if you start to feel more overwhelmed than usual or if you start feeling "off" set aside time, cancel plans, and make sure you catch some ZZZZZZs.


  1. Glad to see you are back to blogging- I always like what you write about! I started back up a few weeks ago, we'll see how consistent I am with it. ;) Oh and one of these days you WILL make it out to ultimate with Clay ...being the only girl gets mighty lonely sometimes =)

  2. Molly! I am actually planning on going out this Thursday! However, I may just run back and forth for the workout.... Not sure how I will be with the whole Frisbee thing. It has been a long time since I've thrown/caught a Frisbee!