Sleep-deprived training (Read 1173 times)


    What do you guys recommend for training when sub-optimally rested (in terms of sleep, not recovery time)?  My usual schedule calls for a hardish workout today, but a couple of deadlines at work resulted in very little sleep for the past few days, so what I really feel like doing after getting home is just hitting the sack early.  What would you guys recommend:

    1. Nix the run entirely to sleep, then hit the ground running (pun intended) tomorrow morning,
    2. Go for a shorter easy run instead, and bump the workout to tomorrow, or
    3. Suck it up and do the workout even if I don't feel like it.

    I imagine I'll be encountering this situation more times than I'd like in the fall, so any general thoughts are appreciated.

      I say move the workout to a day on which you're better rested.  "Suck it up" only goes so far.

      "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

      Just a dude.

        I've always thought that sleep was very important to let your body adapt to the workout.  


        If you think you will get a good amount of sleep starting tonight and over the next couple days, I'd consider doing the workout knowing that you may not be able to hit times you'd expect.


        If you can't get good sleep tonight, I'd just go for an easier run and try to get what sleep was available, and come back to the workout later.


        I'd only do it once in a while thing tho.  Repeatedly doing workouts while sleep deprived sounds like a recipe for injury to me.



        Getting back in shape... Just need it to be a skinnier shape... 

        Feeling the growl again

          You simply cannot ignore lack of sleep and "tough it out".  If you're not recovering, you can not hold up the training unless you were training a a level below what you are currently capable of.


          In that situation I'd usually scrap the workout and just do some easy miles, and see how I felt the next day.  Often if I'd try to gut it out, I'd start the workout and abort it soon after and end up running easy.  I tended not to take days off for that but that's really an individual situation.  WHen my wife worked 12-hr night shifts, she only ran on the days she did not work and I didn't blame her.  When I had a rough 9 months at work a few years ago I more or less wrote the whole year off.

          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand


          I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills


            My runs are in the mornings, but if I get to bed too late for seven hours sleep, I shorten or scrap the morning run.  Adequate sleep is more important.

            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.

              I'm sleep deprived every run.  I've learned to deal with it.  Now that my daughter started kindergarten three weeks ago, life has totally changed.  I was always an early morning runner, but now I'm out even earlier...up by 4:30 out between 5:00-5:15.  I'm lucky to get to bed by 10.  I get 6-7 hours of sleep a night.  For some that may be plenty of sleep, but I know I'd be much better in all areas of my life if I got at least 8 to 8.5.

              Best Present Ever

                I have a good amount of experience with this, as I am often on call and have to go into work in the middle of the night.   It's not that unusual for me to get up at 1 or 2 am, go to work, and go straight to meet folks for a long run Saturday morning.  I've found that I sometimes have great runs like this, but I think it explains a good amount of my frequent flare-ups of a chronic knee problem.  I can run on little sleep from time to time, but the longer/more intense the work out, the more likely I'll have a problem afterwards.  I've learned to run if I feel up to it, but take it easy and not do hard workouts. 


                  Well, I heeded everyone's advice and just did some easy miles.  Definitely the right choice, since I felt pretty listless and my heart rate was significantly elevated (despite this being my 3rd short & easy day in a row).


                  One thing I've noticed in the past is that when my sleep schedule gets irregular (i.e., taking frequent naps and grabbing sleep at weird times), I can pretty much count on my runs going badly, even moreso than just missing some sleep for a few days.  I remember one week where my sleep was all over the map due to being generally busy, and every single run that week felt like garbage until I got my sleep schedule back on track.

                    I think it is more important to get some good sleep after the work out. BUT, like Maddog says every one is different and we adapt. I rarely get 6 hours of sleep a night - very busy with work load and stress from work.  It is extremely frustrating to me but I have adapted which is not necessarily a good thing. I have always needed 7 hours. If I get 6 I feel good. If I get 6.5 hours I am jolly and alert all day. I cannot remember the last time I got more than 7 hours and unfortunately on weekends I don't seem to sleep any better. Being very successful sales person comes with a price. At least right now it is worth it. As for me, when tired, I suck it up and do the work out. BUT, like Spaniel says, I am doing less than my body can probably handle anyway. 25-30 miles a week is not much overall but it kind of beats me up with 2 quality work outs a week. BUT, I am injury free for first time in 4 years so I must be getting enough damn sleep for me. Arrrgghhh!!!

                    Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                      I see that you're pretty young, still.  When I was your age, and until about the age of 30, I could get by with pretty minimal sleep, and still train and race reasonably well. I'm sure it wasn't optimal, but I got by. If I try to do the same thing now, at age 47, I'm pretty much worthless at running,and other aspects of life. I need sleep or eventually it catches up.


                      So, you can get by for a while, and with age on your side you can cheat a little more than us older folks. 


                        Well there is no question that everyone is different but I would almost say it is impossible to run good, hard quality workouts sleep deprived. Every 3-4 weeks when I do a block of nights (usually 5-7 12h shifts) or am on call I am often training on only ~ 6 hours sleep and the circadian rhythm is all messed up. In my experience, with the caveat that you are not prone to injury, I try and think you should try to actually do the workout (obviously only if there is going to be no chance to really change your training plan and do the hard workout on a better day, the next day). The thing that I have found is that although you usually feel terrible (slower and fatigue earlier) and often don't manage to complete the entire run in your sleep deprived state, it doesn't necessarily seem to hamper your overall improvement (noting that clearly it is not an optimal training strategy). Often I find that once I have recuperated and returned to normal daylight cycles that I run better for the effort put in on nights.

                          Well, I heeded everyone's advice and just did some easy miles.  Definitely the right choice, since I felt pretty listless and my heart rate was significantly elevated (despite this being my 3rd short & easy day in a row).



                          I got stuck in an airport for 10 hours the other day.  After 2.5 hours of sleep, I got up and ran a 5K.  My heart rate felt as if it were through the roof during the run, and I wasn't moving very fast. 

                          Live the Adventure. Enjoy the Journey. Be Kind. Have Faith!