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3 tips to get the most out of “fall back” this weekend

This is your annual reminder that the clocks fall back Sunday

Attention runners: with the clocks falling back an hour across North America this Sunday, it is a clear sign that winter is coming, and there are fewer evening daylight hours for training. (The good news is that we get an extra hour of sleep).

If you have a race this Sunday, don’t be like Jean-Paul, the marathon runner from Seinfeld, who missed the Olympic marathon for lack of preparation. Here are three tips to get the most out of fall-back training.

Take advantage of the extra rest

Don’t do anything different with your sleep schedule or training. Go to bed at the time you normally would, and set an alarm in the morning for the time you would train at. You gain an extra hour of sleep as the clocks jump back from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday. Do not sabotage your recovery or sleep schedule by treating it as a day you can wake up earlier and get in a longer run.

Track your HRV (heart rate variability)

If you sleep with a smartwatch or sleep tracker, see how your recovery metrics change over the additional hour. Monitoring your heart rate variability HRV gives an earlier warning of overtraining or stress overload. By knowing your HRV, you can plan more strenuous workouts for when your body is ready. If your HRV improves by a large margin with the extra hour of sleep, it’s a sign you should try going to bed earlier. HRV is a small component of your training which can have a major improvement in sleep quality and performance all year round.

Set yourself up for success the night before

A good night’s rest is vital for your body clock to transition to the sun’s new schedule, but here are some things you should avoid. Alcohol and coffee consumption the day before the time change is likely to interrupt your sleep and body clock. If you need caffeine to get you through the day before, limit your intake to the morning.