How important is sleep for sprinters? As important as water is for humans.
Many coaches and athletes think speed development all comes down to training.
Training is highly important as you must sprint at over 90 percent of your maximum speed to get faster. But your recovery is even more important in terms of pure speed development.
There is a two-fold problem for why many sprinters and athletes are not getting faster:
1) Most athletes don’t actually train for pure speed.
2) Most athletes don’t consistently get quality sleep.
In my new series, How To Sprint Faster, we are going to dive into the 5 components that will enable you to maximize your speed. Today is part 1.
What Speed Isn’t
Most “speed” training is completely misguided. I’ve seen videos of “speed” workouts online that have absolutely no value for getting anyone faster.
Training for pure speed is not high-volume running workouts.
Training for speed is not bodybuilding.
Training for speed is not running through an agility ladder.
Training for speed is not performing tempo runs with short recoveries.
Training for speed puts the top priority on speed.
Putting the emphasis on true speed training is important, but athletes must also put a priority on getting quality sleep.
Quality sleep is so powerful that it will increase your performance in your next sprinting workout if you get it.
Sleep For Sprinters
I recommend that sprinters get 7-9 quality hours of sleep each night (and definitely the night before sprinting) to maximize their speed.
Quality sleep would be uninterrupted, restful sleep devoid of anxiety. Low quality sleep would be you being anxious, tossing and turning all night, and only getting intermittent bouts of good sleep.
Now nobody gets perfect sleep every night because life is unpredictable. But you’ve got to make it a goal to get quality sleep the vast majority of the time if you want to get faster.
Getting quality sleep is directly connected to sprinting performance because quality sleep recharges your central nervous system (CNS).
A fully recovered CNS makes athletes feel fresh and powerful.
Your reaction time will be dramatically better when you are fresh. You will feel bouncy and energetic when you hit the track because your battery will be completely recharged.
The only thing that an athlete can do to completely recharge their central nervous system is to get quality sleep.
Track athletes must get quality sleep to sprint at a high level. The tragedy though is that many athletes skimp on their sleep and predictably do not sprint as fast as they could on the track.
If you want to perform better on the track, I suggest that you begin to prioritize your sleep as much as you do your training.
If you are not serious about prioritizing getting quality sleep, you are not truly serious about getting faster.
You will not be able to ever reach your maximum speed without consistent, quality sleep. You don’t want to look back at your career, as I have, and see that you left meat on the bone by skimping on sleep.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,