Triathletes know the importance of sleep when it comes to athletic performance, perhaps better than most other athletes out there. Not only does proper sleep help decrease your risk of sports-related injuries, but it also promotes recovery and keeps you motivated for the day (and workout) ahead.
But balancing high weekly training volumes (IRONMAN athletes, especially) with work and family responsibilities can often seem unmanageable, and all-too-often sleep is sacrificed for an extra workout or catching up on emails. This is normal and something all triathletes struggle with, but we've outlined easy pre-bedtime tasks that not only save you time (giving you more minutes to snooze) yet will make waking up for your 5 a.m. masters swim that much easier.
From charging your multisport watch to checking the forecast, consider adding these nine habits to your evening routine to promote healthy sleep patterns and make mornings smoother and more efficient.
Did we miss anything? Tell us your evening rituals in the comment section below!
Charge Your Devices
Triathletes love data, so save yourself the frustration of realizing your multisport watch is dead right before you head out for a run and charge your wearables the night before. After all, if it was never recorded, did it really happen?
Fill Your Bottles
This one is simple and pretty self-explanatory, but be sure to fill your bottles, place them in the fridge and put your sports drink powder on the counter before you head to bed. This will save you precious minutes digging for matching lids in the morning and will prechill your bottles for the day ahead.
Check the Pool (or Gym) Schedule
There's perhaps nothing worse than waking up for a swim at the crack of dawn only to realize the pool has been closed for a competition or for some other issue. The night before, pull up the pool's (or gym's) website and confirm it's open for public lap swim the following day. If you're really unsure, give them a call.
Pack Your Bags
Triathletes and gear are about as synonymous as it gets. Since many workouts are squeezed in before work, make sure you pack both your workout bag and your change of clothes bag for the rest of the day. This includes not just office-friendly clothing but also toiletries like soap and shampoo so you won't smell like chlorine at that afternoon meeting.
Read a Book
This point is less about reading a book as it is about disconnecting from screens at least an hour before bed. Give yourself some "me" time and leave your phone and laptop in the other room—this allows your body and mind time to relax and calm down, making it easier to fall asleep. If you are a reader, though, be sure to check out our list of our 10 favorite triathlon books.
Use a Foam Roller
While sleep is the single best way to promote recovery, it isn't the complete picture. When done regularly before bed, stretching and foam rolling are two key techniques to help minimize the wear and tear from training on a daily basis. Set a timer, put on a podcast and give your muscles some much needed TLC.
Prep Your Bike
Prepping your bike for a training ride can take a surprising amount of time. This includes inflating the tires, lubing the chain and packing snacks and gear for the trip. If you're a triathlete who prefers to ride indoors, make sure your bike is already on the trainer and ready to go the night before.
Look at the Weather Forecast
Triathletes are generally no stranger to racing and training in inclement weather, but before you go to bed (and the morning of) be sure to check the weather for any extreme conditions. It's always better to be conservative when it comes to training in the elements, especially when heading out for a long ride or run—you don't want to find yourself stranded on the side of the road if you can prevent it. Don't forget, you can always opt for a trainer spin or run on the treadmill.
Prep Your Morning Cup
Similar to prepping your bottles, also make sure your coffee maker is ready to go the night before. Grind your beans, find your filters, fill the coffee maker with water and set the timer for the next morning. This will save you tons of time when you wake up and will help boost energy levels for the workout ahead.
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