Struggling to sleep? Did you know this?

Do you struggle to sleep after training in the evening? Getting too hot in bed? So restless that you hardly slept and feel shattered in the morning? I have written a blog to help as we all know sleep is so important for recovery and keeping the injuries away.

There are so many factors that can affect your sleep. Things like being stressed can contribute to this, however if we look at it by a sporting aspect, again many factors play an important role such as over training and doing too much can of course affect your sleep. Sleep is talked about a lot and how important it is for recovery, yet this particular issue often gets mistaken for over training. In fact the first thing people ask if you are struggling to sleep is “have you upped your training volume and changed your diet?” which of course contributes to poor sleep.

However there is one thing that you may not realise can affect your sleep in a big way and not for good reasons. You might be confused as to why you can’t sleep. Sleep is key and I can’t stress how important sleep is for recovery and for a whole load of other reasons such as your mental wellbeing.

How often have you had a late night and felt rubbish the following day or even a few days later? Your body needs sleep to function and in a sporting aspect sleep is so important for athletes, it is the most important aspect to their training. Having a lack of sleep also effects your mood which in turn can effect your motivation to get out and train. It’s simple sleep that helps your body repair and recover, so you can see why it’s important to recover after a session. But in this blog I am talking about something else that can cause you to have a bad night sleep.

Training can have a huge impact on your sleep and although it may seem obvious the reason why it isn’t and this is how you can stop it and have a better night sleep after training. We have all done it, for example tried to squeeze a run in late or even running with your running club at 7pm until 8pm and by the time you get home it may not give you enough time to eat before you go to sleep and shower etc. Of course eating after a session is very important and there is nothing wrong with training late.  However when you exercise your body temperature rises and if the temperature is still high when you go to sleep you will then struggle to go to sleep or even stay awake most of the night feeling restless. Exercise elevates body temperature, and cooling your body becomes increasingly difficult when you are inadequately hydrated and if it’s when you’re trying to sleep your body will struggle to cool you down. So basically if your are not hydrated before you go to bed this is the reason why you are struggling to sleep.

Dehydration is highly likely following long running or a hard session. It takes time to rehydrate from mild dehydration – some studies say around 45 minutes before your body rehydrates. So although you feel tired the heat from your body will keep you awake – does this sound familiar? Some people are so warm I have heard stories that their partners say they are like hot water bottles in bed.

Therefore water is so important for so many reasons after every training session not just for long runs, I always have 2 pints of water after training. Your temperature after running can stay higher as long as 5 hours but if you drink water and if you are hydrated you will be able to sleep better as a result after sessions and your body will be able to cool you down. It is more common that people get sleepless nights after a race or a hard sessions for exactly the same reason.

A simple fix is to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water after your sessions because If you’re not hydrated then at night when your resting its hard for your body to regulate and keep the temperature down, so if you your not hydrated you wont sleep well or at all.

So the key here is to stay hydrated at all times and better sleep means better quality of training and better mood as well as many other benefits. I hope you found this useful. Have you had this issue? let me know…

You can check my YouTube video on this subject HERE

My Favourite shoe, ASICS DYNAFLYTE™ 4 review… will it disappoint?

ASICS kindly sent me a pair of the new ASICS DYNAFLYTE™ 4 to try and test out and here is my review. Now this shoe I have been waiting for a while and the reason I am excited to try these is because I have had every model since its release and it’s my favourite shoe – I use the DYNAFLYTE for my longs runs and in races. 

So what does ASICS state about the DYNAFLYTE™ 4: “This lightweight shoe sports FLYTEFOAM™ Lyte technology to put a spring in your step, along with rear-foot GEL™ technology to ensure shock absorption and a softer, more luxurious feeling underfoot. The plush shoe also benefits from our I.G.S™ (Impact Guidance System) technology which ensures you get a cleaner stride, strategically enhancing your natural gait as you push for that new personal best. Furthermore, engineered jacquard mesh means feet stay cool and dry, while the shoe’s reflectivity ensures you’ll always stand out. The DYNAFLYTE™ 4 model is a durable running shoe for neutral, fast-paced athletes looking to go the distance and push boundaries”. It is a road running shoe and it’s the shoe that gave me a half marathon PB in 2018. The DYNAFLYTE has a heel drop of 8mm, 11mm  for the front, 19mm for the rear-foot and weighs 241grams.

First impressions is the model looks very similar to the 3 model. The colour is flash and you know I love flash colours. I don’t have the 3s anymore but when comparing it to the 2s which I still have a pair of, it felt much lighter. The laces look thinner and lighter too. The material had changed and seems more breathable, the tongue was perfect with no excess material. I found the back had a bit more cushioning but when putting the shoe on it still gave me the comfy slipper effect from the previous models.

How does it compare? So I put the the DYNAFLYTE 4  through its paces. The shoe was light just like previous models .This shoe retails around £130 in the UK which makes it affordable. The material felt light and allows your feet to breathe very well. The shoe felt very comfortable on and had plenty of room. The way to describe this is they felt super comfortable just like having a glove on. The grip is for the road runner as it is a road running shoe, however the grip is similar to previous models and will last a lot of miles.

I put the DYNAFLYTE 4 through its paces and ran some long runs; they felt comfy just like the previous model and they felt quick. The sole of the shoe looks strong and looks as if it will last a long time again like previous models. This model for me is definitely a long run shoe that maintains the comfort. I ran the Fleet Half Marathon with the 2s in 2018 and I dipped under 1 hour 20 min. I was super impressed how comfy they were. So this newer model does not disappoint. I find this model helps my Achilles and never troubles it, however with speed work I prefer other models, but I have tested these out on my speed sessions and no problem at all as I felt quick here too.

Conclusion: My favourite ASICS shoe which just gets better, this shoe will not disappoint and I spend most of my weekly running mileage on this particular model of shoe, it’s very robust and light. So in a nutshell it’s a perfect running shoe for long runs and races up to half marathon. I have raced races with this model in the past and would continue to race with these shoes. However I do prefer racing shoes for shorter distances.

Check out my full video review on my YOUTUBE HERE. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Warm-ups – do you do them & why they are important

Lots of people do not do warm ups before their sessions so I wrote a short blog.

A warm up can be defined as a period or act of preparation for a performance or exercise session, involving gentle exercise or practice. This is also known as the pre-match warm up.

With anything in sport if you don’t warm up the muscles you will get injured; you need to get your body loosened up ready to go. Thousands of people every Saturday turn up to parkrun and stand there waiting for it to start and then fun hard with no warm up, this can bring on injuries. I do wonder how many people get injured from this as a result from going from one extreme to another. The younger runners are the worst and think they don’t need to do this. No warm up is just going to end in disaster purely because your body is going from being cold to trying to get it to work at its max.

Warm ups don’t have to be complex and can be easy. Ii warm up for every session and before my races. On speed sessions and race day I do a structured 9 minute warm up.  For example my running warm up is 3 minutes at an easy pace and a certain heart rate zone, I then ramp it up for the next 3 minutes which is my 60-70% heart max and for the final 3 minutes I go 90% heart rate max and this gets me ready to race and works all the energy systems. Since doing this warm up I have gone into sessions and races hitting my target times.

A warm up doesn’t need to be complex it can start off with a brisk walk for something like 3 minutes. This is ideal as it is low intensity and eases you into it and then you can pick the pace up. Adding strides helps the blood flow more and activates your fast-twitch muscle fibres. I would also throw in some dynamic stretches such as squats.

Once you have done a warm up you are ready to go. You have to experiment and see what works best for you. I do hear quite often that runners say it takes them a few miles to get going; but these same people haven’t done a warm up. I think you need to make sure you hit your energy systems so you are ready to perform your best. No point turning up to a race saying it took me two miles to get going and missed out on a PB/medal etc. It’s important you give your body a little taster of what you are going to expect.

Some things I see before races is people stand at the start lines cold and stretching but doing static stretches. This is also a chance for a disaster to pull a muscle. There’s tons of stuff on the internet so see what drills, dynamic stretches and warm up you would like to do and have a go. But remember warm up is key to get you ready and going.

I also took part in a research study on the benefits of a well-structured warm up and if you can improve from this. I did this last year with Hannah from the Kent University sports department and found that it improved me. Now I mentioned earlier about my 9 minute warm up and this is where I got my warm up from. Before I used to just run an easy mile which didn’t do me any benefit at all. So the science behind this study was to get me running my speed sessions and races faster as I was fully warmed up and my body was ready to go race pace.

So this study included me doing this warm up twice a week. I used it on my weekly speed sessions and races throughout a three month period. Each month I had to perform my warm up as planned on a track with Hannah, so 3 minutes easy, 3 minutes long run heart rate and 3 minutes race pace. She then took blood samples every 3 minutes to see how my body was reacting. I then had short breaks where I did other samples and went back out on the track and ran 12 minutes as hard as I could without looking at my watch. So quite hard to pace if you are not used to not using your watch. The first test of the study covered 3,040 metres, which I was a little disappointed with because I thought I would be covering more distance. However, every month after that I had improved by the last test and had run 400m more in total. A huge improvement, so it shows that you can improve with just a structured warm up before your races and training. The point of this was to get you fully warmed up and ready for your session/race therefore in theory able to run faster/harder instead of taking a while to warm up.