Friday, 28 September 2012

Sweet dreams

Professional athletes typically sleep ten to twelve hours a day, according to Joe Friel - author of the Triathletes Training Bible, with eight to ten hour nights and daily naps thrown in. Why I'm trying to improve my race times this season, primarily by working on my running, my approach is far from professional. I don't think I have the dedication, or ability, to reach the top - but if making it to the professional echelons of the sport guarantees me ten hours sleep a night, and the excuse to take a couple of naps during the day, then sign me up.

Mr Friel accepts that us mere mortals may not have the time for such naps (even working from home I don't find time for daytime sleeps although I do tend to lose critical brain functions when Mrs Trihard subjects me to Come Dine With Me) but states that the higher the intensity, and volume of training you do, the more rest you need.

As well as the duration of slumber Mr Friel also states that the quality of sleep is highly important and that difficulty in getting to sleep, or waking frequently throughout the night, cuts into its benefits. His tips for getting a restful night include going to bed at the same time every night and unwinding an hour or so before your bedtime. Methods he suggests include reading, going for a short walk or engaging in light conversation. Perfect sleeping conditions include a darkened room that is well ventilated.

Mrs Trihard is well on board with this and when I'm just drifting off indulges me in light conversation asking me not to break wind under the duvet and checking that I've got the cats in, closed the cat flap, locked the back door, locked the outdoor office and put the bins out. Which is when I have to get up, perform those tasks, and then begin the unwinding process again.

Unfortunately Baby Trihard and Toddler Trihard haven't yet read Mr Friel's book. If you are a parent you'll already know that getting a good night's sleep with a new born baby beside your bed is impossible. Even when they are fast asleep they like to make sure that you aren't by sighing, groaning, grunting, snoring, cooing and filling their nappies extremely loudly. Even if you are able to block out the noise some how, the night light (also known as a 90s hardcore rave light show) that is there for their comfort pierces through your eye lids.


 But rest assured if exhaustion has well and truly taken over and you have nodded off, they'll wake you up by screaming for a feed every couple of hours. And not to be out done Toddler Trihard will periodically bellow down the corridor, usually around 1am, informing me that her milk cup needs replenishing.

So make sure if you are training hard that you rest equally as hard. Possibly by booking into a nearby hotel and emptying the minibar.

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