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Keeping Pace, Issue #008 -- Eat, Sleep, and Recover
April 02, 2013

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Here’s a message for all new and experienced runners out there that really can’t be emphasized enough. When it comes to training to become fitter and faster, your recovery from each and every workout is EQUALLY as important as the workout itself.

Remember though, that recovery isn’t just about what you eat and how easy you take the day after a hard workout. Quality recovery takes place when you SLEEP!

If you train consistently you need to be consistently careful about getting adequate sleep, or you may experience one or all of:

  • Performance declines
  • Depressed immune system
  • Higher risk of injury
  • Cranky disposition
  • Loss of motivation

According to Dr. John Conforti, Internist, Pulmonolgoist and Sleep Medicine Specialist, athletes need to better understand and appreciate what’s happening to their body when they sleep. “Many hormones are actually released during sleep and at different stages of sleep. Some are reparative; some are for new cell growth. Growth hormones such as cortisol, leptin and greylin actually effect appetite and glucose control. Also, not to mention the fact that it’s very difficult to run well when you’re physically exhausted.”

As we all know, the challenges with getting enough sleep while working hard to meet your goals in the middle of a busy work and family life are many. Add to this the very bizarre and unwavering tendency of our society to associate sleeping in with guilt! For anyone who tries to guilt you for getting ‘too much’ sleep, invite them to set goals and train along with you. If you are someone who feels guilty for getting a long restful night of sleep by going to bed early it's time to get over it! Your body will thank you in a variety of ways, the least of which will be improved running performance.

Here are a few basic tips to help you get a better night sleep:

  1. Keep evening workouts low key – several studies suggest that evening workouts don’t necessarily have a negative impact on your ability to fall asleep and have a restful sleep, however try to avoid the really taxing workouts such as intervals or threshold runs as these are very stimulating to your nervous system
  2. Take control of your devices – laptops and handhelds have completely invaded every aspect of our lives including the bedroom. It’s just too easy to watch a movie or surf in bed. If that’s something you love to do, get to bed earlier to make up for the activity, and be strict about the time to close it up
  3. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake after supper. Both substances can hinder a restful sleep
  4. Nap at the right time - Short naps (10 to 20 minutes) are an awesome way to recharge during the day or late afternoon but evening naps can be disastrous so try to get to bed early rather than nap late

Get serious about sleep but don’t stress about loss of sleep! We all experience it from time to time. Just like your training and diet, sleep deprivation is more of a chronic problem rather than an issue of one or two nights. So, it’s what you can do 85% of the time that matters.

Sweet dreams!

Running Music for Cadence

Yet another reminder to pay attention to your running technique by ensuring the following:
  • Good posture – head over torso, chest slightly puffed out
  • Relaxed shoulders, arms slightly bent and always along sides of the body
  • Fall forwards from the ankles not from the waist
  • Pull heels up under and towards your butt by engaging your hamstrings
  • Let feet fall naturally back down

As promised last month, here is another running playlist installment that's a bit heavier. Remember the list starts out with songs that are a little slower to use either as a warm up, or for those of you who are still quite far from 180 steps per minute. As the list progresses so does the cadence.

Have fun!!

Dr. John's Recovery Stew

We know how important sleep is for recovery, but let's not forget the quality of calories we put in. This meal is so fast and simple to make, it’s ridiculous that we haven’t come across it sooner, but Dr. John has been whipping this formula up for years as a quick way to meet the exercise recovery needs of a busy runner.


  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or cooking oil of choice
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 spicy pork sausages – casing removed
  • 1 cup of fresh broccoli rabe – quartered
  • 1 can of clams
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a non-stick pan, bring olive oil to medium heat and add diced onion and crushed garlic, broccoli quarters and diced red pepper until all is soft and lightly cooked. Add sausage without casing, salt and pepper and cook stir fry style until meat brown - season with salt and pepper. Finally add a can of drained clams and stir fry for 5 more minutes before bringing down heat and throw into a bowl. This little dish lends nicely to hot sauce!


MYRG Quote of the Month

"Set a goal to achieve something that is so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time. It must be a goal that is so appealing, so much in line with your spiritual core that you can't get it out of your mind. If you do not get chills when you set a goal, you’re not setting big enough goals."

Bob Proctor

**Next month** - Going the distance - adding miles the right way for any distance.

Here's to keeping pace with your running goals!

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