How Much Do You Sleep, Ryan Hall?
In this blog I'm answering a question from another member of the Innovation for Endurance community, Charles Booth, who wrote: "How many hours a day do you sleep? Do you sleep more when in training for a major marathon?"
Good question, Charles! I typically sleep eight to 10 hours a night and then I usually take about four naps throughout the week. Sleep is obviously a huge part of the recovery process and as a pro it is part of the job. I typically block out two hours four or five times per week and call them "business meetings." I rarely miss a scheduled nap. I find it difficult to take naps on days when I do a morning workout because the workout gets me so amped up that I can't sleep, but on every other day I nap.
I do typically sleep a lot more when my mileage goes up while training for major marathons. The more I run, the more recovery I need. I would recommend that even if you are not a "napper" that you still block out 20 minutes to one hour to just lay down and do nothing besides maybe read a book. Recovery happens not only when we are sleeping but any time we are off our feet.
I would also say that when it comes to sleep everyone is different. For example, my wife trains very hard, but she needs far less sleep than I do. Everyone is different in how much sleep they require, so don't be concerned that you should be getting exactly the same amount as everyone else; just make sure you listen to your body and give it all the rest it needs. When the 2 or 3 P.M afternoon feeling of being tired rolls around, instead of reaching for that afternoon cup of joe, if you can, reach for your pillow and give your body what it is really craving.
How much do you sleep? Does that change when you are in serious training for a race or other event?
—Ryan Hall, Record-breaking Marathoner