Here we are, back home again. Feels like I have been typing that a lot recently. One thing is for sure, it is good to be back.
I am getting a nice lesson in fatigue management today. Last night I think it would be accurate to describe my sleep as "inadequate". No big secret why, I was hanging out with my mum and dad and we were busy chatting. I don't get to do that very often and so I was in no rush to stop. It wasn't a super late night, I think I was probably in bed a bit after 11:00pm.
The problem of course is that I had to be up at around 4:00am to get my flight. Now this early morning was obviously not a surprise. I stayed up late chatting knowing that I wasn't going to get a lot of sleep and deciding it was a price worth paying. I knew I would be tired today, which I am, but I was okay with that.
The issue I think for me is that last night's very small amount of sleep came on the back of a few nights of reduced sleep, meaning I am more tired today that I was expecting. This extra level of tiredness meant that when I exercised today the session just had that extra bit of sting it in. I found my heart rate was shooting up just that little bit higher, a little bit easier. It all just hurt a bit more than expected.
It is an interesting lesson in how fatigue and sleep deprivation works. The standard wisdom is that a person can cope with a night of reduced sleep and it won't really slow them down. You can have a bad sleep the night before a race and while you might feel a bit woeful, it shouldn't really effect performance much. This is something I can attest to from experience. I can think of numerous times when I slept terribly the night before a race and woke up feeling trodden on, but once the gun went and the race was underway I was actually fine. A bad nights sleep is probably more of a mental hindrance than a physical one as it can be very easy to psych yourself out when you feel you haven't had enough sleep.
Where the real physical inhibition comes though is when you stack up those nights of bad sleep. The science is pretty clear that the human body does not cope well with continuous nights of poor or insufficient sleep. Performance suffers everywhere, mentally and physically, no matter how much coffee you consume. There is no faking it. That is the situation I am feeling today.
Still, I am back home and so I can now settle into my normal routine and get some solid sleep tonight. Last night was a short one, but I should be able to make up for it tonight and get back into my rhythm.