23 Feb Desert running: good sleep is crucial!
The Oman Desert Marathon course is designed to embrace the desert experience, and the Oman desert is one of the most beautiful locations for such an event.
One of the most important things when we talk about racing in the desert is where and how we sleep. Yes, sleep is a key aspect of this kind of races: it represents the recovery from fatigue of the day. On the other hand, a bad sleep can become an “Achilles heel” even of the fastest and most experienced runner.
In self supported races, like Oman Desert Marathon, another crucial aspect is the weight of the backpack. Many unexperienced runners decide to save space and weight choosing an inadequate sleeping matt or sleeping bag: this choice is paid most times with very high price, as the more performing backpack dose not compensate days of bad sleep.
Let’s see some key aspects of desert sleeping and in particular of Oman Desert Marathon:
The temperatures during the night drop down, and the perceived temperature is even lower, as at night the competitors are tired and often go to sleep with a lower calories intake than they are used to. Never underestimate the cold at night. Fortunately the night temperature in Oman is quite mild, and this temperature excursion is less marked than in other deserts, for example of the Sahara.
The sleeping matt might not be an optional! Before deciding to leave home your sleeping matt to save space think twice about this decision and try to sleep one week on the ground covered just with a carpet. If you can handle it, good for you, leave home the sleeping matt and save space and weight. Most runners and outdoor enthusiasts consider the sleeping matt even more important than the sleeping bag, as provides insulation and a soft and uniform base for sleep. Testing the equipment is the only method to do the right choices.
During the race you will go to sleep very early, sometimes at 7:30 pm and wake up at 5:00 – 5:30. The desert and the race follow the natural cycles of the sunrise and sunset. Try to adjust to this before getting to the race. If you are used to go to bed and wake up very late, it might be a problem to adjust.