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Success with Stamina
Success with Stamina
A little blog about being a triathlon coach. Here you'll find a little diary about my activities as a coach, the performances of the people I work with and my thoughts and opinions on what makes athletes faster for longer.

Recovery... The most important part of training (pt:2)

AndyBby AndyBNov 5th 2010
In the second part of these blogs recovery focus turns to sleep.

Sleep is one of the most important forms of rest and recovery. A lack of sleep will lead to insufficient recovery and depression of the immune system. It can also contribute to overtraining in combination with other factors.

During this time of rest the body releases hormones such as Human Growth Hormone to help stimulate recovery. Sleep needs are entirely individual: most people need seven to eight hours’ sleep a night, but athletes in training and those with other stressors such as jobs (most of us) may well need more. It is well-documented that Paula Radcliffe, during heavy training before Athens 2004, slept at least nine hours a night with a two hour sleep in the afternoon. While most people will find it difficult to spare those two hours in an afternoon, a twenty minute power-nap may also benefit the recovery process.

As with the training, quality counts. The quality of sleep will also have an impact on recovery. A disturbed or restless night may induce a feeling of sluggishness the next day, and worse still the release of the recovery-stimulating hormones will be lower and less effective. It is a good idea to create a routine around nocturnal habits. Going to bed at a similar time every night, waking at a similar time in the morning will help the body adjust and become used to releasing just the right amount of hormones at the right time. Tips for getting a better night’s sleep include:

• creating the right environment - such as a dark room (perhaps use a black out blind), minimal, if any noise (try ear plugs) and the right temperature (about 20-22ºC);

• creating the right physiological state - cut caffeine after 6pm, and avoid alcohol and large meals shortly before bedtime;

• creating the right mental state - have some time out before you hit the sack to relax and unwind.

When to employ this technique: Every night.
 
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