So much thought went into my decision to take on this adventure: all the running I’d have to endure, the healthy diet to adapt, and the commitment to a six-month training schedule.
But none of it steered me away.
Not even the “Are you sure you want to do this?” questions I received from others made me rethink my decision.
In fact, it excited me to know training for a marathon would lead to a healthier lifestyle. That pretty much sealed the deal.
I had it all figured out. Or so I thought.
But the one thing I overlooked was the change in my sleep-wake schedule.
On the first Saturday run with my L.A. Roadrunners training group, I rolled out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and two things became evident that morning. First, that the San Gabriel Valley continues to functions before the sun is up (something I’ve hardly witnessed before). And second, I would be forced to completely change my sleep cycle if I wanted to follow through on my latest adventure.
It’s been a major adjustment.
In addition to my Saturday sessions with the Roadrunners, I’m running two to three times a week on my own for nearly 45 minutes.
Now, it’s bedtime by 8:30 p.m., then rise and shine around 5 a.m. to get out the door for my early runs. Okay, it’s really more like 5:30 a.m., but only because it’s so cold in the mornings and I like to hit the snooze button a few times, and I’ve never been much of an early bird before.
But it’s getting easier to wake up early. And sticking with my sleep-wake routine is just as important to my marathon goal as everything else, if not more.
Published running studies present evidence that lack of sleep interferes with the metabolism of glucose, which muscles use for recovery. The immune system also can deteriorate because of a lack of sleep.
I tend to get sick easily when I’m sleep-deprived, and it’s never fun being sick.
I prefer running in the morning to running in the evenings because I can get it out of the way without feeling chained all day to my marathon training.
The day goes by faster after running and eventually I barely remember running at all.
And no, it’s not because I’m still half asleep. There’s only been a couple of occasions where my recollection was fuzzy.
The sleep-wake schedule adjustment has become the unlikely component to make all of my training possible.
It’s nice to know my need for a full night’s sleep – even if I have to wake up early – is no longer just for my beauty rest. It’s a major necessity to staying healthy during my training process.
All I have to do is wake up.