2 Night Rule

There are certain rules that just can’t be broken. At least not without consequences.

And cheating only sets you up for disappointment.

Sure, you might get away with it on occasion, there are some aspects of running that you just can’t ignore.

If you want to run well — in training or racing — you need to pay attention to the details: nutrition, consistency in training, speed work and recovery are all aspects you need to know. And sleep.

Typically, during a training cycle, these details must be managed for peak performance on race day. It’s easier said than done, especially when life gets extraordinarily busy. That’s been the case for me the past several months in the lead up to the Los Angeles Marathon.

Training for a winter race sounds like a great idea. A chance to get out of the cold and run a race where it’s warm is tempting. But expectations for a personal best are far from my mind.

In winter, mileage can suffer, along with the quality of workouts. Running outside means layering up, spotty footing and limited daylight. Heading indoors offers better conditions but can be equally challenging with crowded tracks or monotony on the treadmill.

Over the past few months, the value of sleep have become more and more evident, reinforcing the “two night rule” for both speed workouts and long runs. As a rule, it means getting good rest on the second night before a speed or long workout session.

It might mean adjusting speed sessions during the week, depending on life’s demands, so those workouts fall on Monday and Wednesday instead of Tuesday and Thursday. A little variable is OK on the days, but if you want to train your best in the limited time available, it helps to manage what you can control — and head to bed a little early two nights before you expect to do hard work on the road, track or treadmill.