Sleep O Glorious Sleep

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I must admit I have had a bad week, I have somehow hurt my knee without doing anything to it, and even though I coach people on a daily basis about keeping stum on yourself and not pillaging a small village after a set back. What do I do? Complete breakdown week, not a day but a week.

A mixture of a lot of training, January madness and then a knee injury I felt a bit sorry for myself and have had a few glasses of wine, and you know I mean bottles, a few Reel Deels and a few evenings in Keanes. Which means while writing this I am bloated and pissed off. Its amazing how super clean eating turns into a Sunday evening Apache delivery. Hoping the neighbors do not see the delivery van. Oh the shock and horror.

The biggest loser however is sleep, I have become somewhat of a sleep Nazi. My wife gets Tut tut tuts if she is on the phone past a certain time, my phone is left downstairs now and I highly recommend getting rid of it out of the bedroom. I take magnesium as i get into bed and I find it great. I’m wired at the best of times and I find it really helps you nod off.

The last 22 months have been amazing becoming a parent, I love every second of it. However the jealousy and down right anger when I hear of kids that sleep for 12 hours from day one. That is not fair. My own mother often said that she hoped I would have 10 kids just like me. And now I know what she meant.

The sleep deprivation puts your sports performance in a state of limbo, you are  training just as hard if not harder as previous years but the gains are small to none. Growth hormone is secreted during the first two phases of sleep. Super important when you are clocking up 20 plus hours training a week, not to mention the effect on mood, weight gain and the production of Leptin which goes down with lack of quality sleep. This explains appetite control greatly.

I’m hovering around the high 13 stone mark and finding it hard to come back down to race weight. Last week did not help which is why I had mixed veg for breakfast this morning. The realization is dawning that being in ones late thirties means you have to be super strict with everything. Eating clean, and training hard just is not enough. Eating clean, no alcohol, 8 hours sleep a night and training hard is the only way to ensure any sort of performance gain.

I look at local athletes now and all I can think is, I cant wait until you have kids mother fecker. A buddy of mine reckoned there should be a separate race category for new parents!!

So yet again it is time to get real, go 100% and get committed to the process. Hardman 2017 beckons (Ironman Distance in Kerry) Sleep Nazi will be tutting and sighing for the start of the sleep cycle and hoping my two monkey’s play ball!

Ps.

Anything that mentions sleep, tiredness and babies seems to bring on a tirade of abuse from the female population regarding how tough it is on the male. That being me in this instance. We have our own system, I do mornings from 4 am on wards. Mrs Loftus does all previous as she hates getting out of bed early!!!

Pss.

I also know Ironman is a choice and I do not have to do it. However if I did not have the all encompassing nature of a 20 to 25 hour training week I would be harder to live with!

One Sport Syndrome

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Grant Hackett is a two time Olympic Champion, he has multiple national championships. in a sports mad country he is super successful, over here he would have a statue and an Aer Lingus Airbus named after him.

Unfortunately the poor bloke has been having a few melt downs. not helped by his stature in society where something like what he is going through would be hard deal with in its own right. obvious mental health issues and sleeping pill addiction he has been on a slippery slope for a few years culminating in his unsuccessful attempt at qualifying for the last Olympics in Rio.

What struck me about this, is other sports figures in Australia that have had melt downs. Feeling sorry for him because he is a swimmer and  has spent his  early youth alone, doing the one sport, faced head down in water focusing on a black line.

I am not for a second saying swimming is bad for you, or somebody should not start competitive swimming but rather how unhealthy it is to be focused on any one sport. in this case swimming but it could be said for many other sports.

The problem lies where what you have spent most of your waking life focusing on falls apart from the seams.  How healthier would it be for him if he had also played some Aussie Rules or Rugby League on the side. Maybe he would have had a breakdown anyway, but also the same can be said that if he was in a different support network of team mates and or friends he would not have had any problems.

I do not want to turn into one of those ” in our day” dicks but there was not many sporting options. Its great to see kids involved in so many sports, and not just field sports. I believe it is mentally healthier to have two sports rather than being just totally focused on one. being totally obsessed with any one thing is not healthy and can lead to a lifetime of dissatisfaction. having something else to bounce off can ease the frustration of lack of success of happiness.

Grants brother has been quoted as saying that he is not Grant anymore. It is gut wrenching to see a champion like this in a back of a squad car, cowering and obviously mortified at the media attention. I hope it brings some change as to single sport participation and mental health. If anyone can do this its the Aussies, they are way ahead when it comes to issues sports related.

 

Barry