Sage advice

The athlete:
Stephanie Rothstein

Running résumé:
After snatching titles and smashing records as resident track star at UC Santa Barbara, Olympic hopeful Stephanie Rothstein struggled with a series of injuries that threatened to send her singlet into early retirement. In 2009, doctors diagnosed her with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that prevents the body from absorbing nutrients. Back in fighting shape, the pro recently took third in the Houston Marathon, and now stands as one of the top contenders for a ticket to the 2012 London Games.

Sage advice:
"Hit 'snooze' before you hit the pavement. Prepping for a big race can be a time sink. But don't make up the minutes by skimping on sleep. People assume that the benefits of training accrue while you're out logging miles. In reality, only rest and recovery can make you fitter and faster. As you ramp up from week to week, try to tack on anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of supplemental shut-eye to either end of your day -- a little more on the weekends, if you can. You'll bank maximum payoff from yesterday's workout and wake up better prepared for tomorrow's."

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