I looked into my crystal ball and I saw what Iíll be doing Friday night.
Iíll crawl into bed before midnight - a couple of hours earlier than this night owl usually does - then wonder why Iím not sleepy. Iíll go over my racing strategy in my head, then change it two or three times. Iíll check the nightstand alarm clock to make sure itís set correctly, then doublecheck the alarm I set on my cellphone.
Did I remember to charge my music player? Iíll use that as an excuse to get out of bed and tinker around the house. Iíll put on TV for an hour, then turn it off for fear that it's keeping me awake. Iíll think back to that 4-mile non-stop run that felt so good. My run is going to be just like that! Then Iíll remember how I had to walk half of my 3-mile workout last week because the heat was killing me. My run is going to be just.. like... that.
Is there enough gas in the car to get me to the stadium? Did I lay out everything I need for the morning? What side dish should I make for my nephew's graduation party? Does the litter box need cleaning? Why can't there be world peace?
If you anticipate a similar Friday night as we count down the hours to our National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile race, then Iíve got some good news for you: It doesnít matter.
Whether you shut your eyes for one hour or eight hours, itís not the sleep you get on Friday night that counts. Saturday morning adrenaline is going to carry you through the race and you can sleep all Saturday afternoon if you like.
Studies say the most important night for sleep is two nights before a race. Thatís tonight. So if Iím struggling at all, I may pop a couple Tylenol PM just to make sure I get eight hours. I bought some to help me cope with my plantar fasciitis when I had to give up ibuprofen after learning of its risk to runners. I took a couple pills one night and slept like a baby. As a matter of fact, I slept so well I know never to try that on the night before a race. I donít want to feel too relaxed. Tonight, though? Perfect.
Anyway, I ran across many articles that agreed insomnia the night before a race is not only normal, it should have no effect on how well you do. Here are three of them:
If you donít want to read those now, save them for Friday night. You might need some reading material.
Then again, now that you donít have to fear lack of sleep on Friday night, youíll probably sleep just fine.