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Program's For Shift Workers


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#1 Huff

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 03:57 PM

Hi,
This is my first post after joining today.  
I have returned to running (12 months now) after a decade break and am wondering why it took me so long to get back into it.  My goal is to build up to a half marathon and then marathon.    I like to have a bit of structure and am looking at programs.  Only hassle is i am a shift worker who works 12 hour shifts which can be all over the place.  Does anyone know of a 'flexible" type program which can be fitted around shift work?

Edited by Darron, 11 January 2008 - 04:06 PM.


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#2 kathmandu

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 05:49 PM

View PostDarron, on Jan 11 2008, 02:57 PM, said:

Hi,
This is my first post after joining today.  
I have returned to running (12 months now) after a decade break and am wondering why it took me so long to get back into it.  My goal is to build up to a half marathon and then marathon.    I like to have a bit of structure and am looking at programs.  Only hassle is i am a shift worker who works 12 hour shifts which can be all over the place.  Does anyone know of a 'flexible" type program which can be fitted around shift work?
Hi Darron,
I have done shift work and find it really hard on my body. Im hoping you are better at it than me!

I think you would just need to be more flexible (rather than find a flexible program),ie work it around how you are feeling and rearrange it so that your important sessions dont coincide with shift change etc. If you know from week to week what shifts you will be doing you could re-arrange a program so you can fit all the sessions around your shifts.

There are others on CR that do shift work so they may be able to offer advice.

Good luck with it all.

Edited by PsychoChicken, 11 January 2008 - 05:59 PM.


#3 Char

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 06:29 PM

Hi Darron,
I am a nurse and work shift-work mostly nights and find this is just horrendous for training. What I have done in the past is broken my training down into twelve weeks for example and then for each week I would have eight boxes for the activities that I wish to achieve and tick them off as I went.  So if I woke up really tired I would take the easier option knowing at least I was still working towards my goal and keeping in mind not to do to many hard sessions back to back but sometimes it just worked that I had to as that was when I had days off.
For example
Week 1
Swim 500mtrs
Run 20 minutes
Bike Ride 40 minutes
Run 40 minutes
Upper Body Weights
Lower Body Weights
Circuit
Long Run
(And thus tick each one off as I achieved, some days also putting two together. )  I hope that made sense  and goodluck with it all.  One other thing I have found if you do night-duty try and eat as clean as possible and drink heaps of water as you do not wake up as doughy and hungover.  Feel so much better since I have left the energy drinks alone.
Getting off track now sorry.

#4 Brian mac

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 04:37 AM

Hi Darron
I have been doing shift work for 10+ years now and find that you just have to find the routine that works for you with your shift pattern. Because I work a shift routine that is set 12months in advance I can plan around it and I also find that because my patter is 2 day shifts followed by two night shifts with 5 day break in between its easy to fit my programme in I also like to train straight after N/S ie get home get changed then hit the road then sleep and heavy days and long runs during days off. I also have a couple of training partners that help with the motivation try not to get to bogged down with a programme just find what fits in with your schedule or make your own plan I hpoe this helps
macca

#5 ingrid

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 05:53 AM

Hi Darron,
I'm a nurse, and I do a similar thing to Char, except I'm not quite as organised! I like the idea of having a checklist.
I don't know if you get any control of your rosters, but I try to request Sunday mornings off, so I can get  my long run in with some company.
Other than that I try to fit my training in, so for a morning shift I will often ride to work- 15km each way. I
f it's been a stressful shift I will go straight from work to the ocean baths and swim laps, works wonders. And afternoon shifts are easy, probably my favourite Just get up and run, breakfast, shower work. Night shifts are very difficult, as my legs are always very heavy and lethargic by the 4th one! I try and take it easy on those days, and do long and slow, or mix it up with swimming/ yoga etc. Good luck with the training and your goals.

#6 Huff

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 01:46 PM

Thanx for the advice and feedback.

I work 12 hour day or night shifts with the occassional 8 hour shift thrown in.  Shifts can be in blocks such as Day Day Night Night or similar then 3 - 4 rest days however there are countless variations on this and sometimes only 2 rest day blocks.  No set pattern to them and usually only get 3 days notice for following fortnight roster.  I have a basic outline to try and follow but due to trying to accomodate long runs around shifts (as it's a killer to work 12 hours 1/2 hr comute each way and then do a 1-2 hour run all on same day - plus fit in family time)
I can end up having some weeks that seem rather light on for k's and others that may be a bit excessive.

Edited by Huff, 12 January 2008 - 01:46 PM.


#7 Boonarga

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 06:57 PM

If you have showers at work you can fit in a run before or after work. It's tough with 12 hr shifts but not impossible.
Also, running home after your last night shift isn't that bad. I do a 26km to home after work now and then.

#8 thinkpink

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 03:45 PM

View PostBoonarga, on Jan 12 2008, 07:57 PM, said:

If you have showers at work you can fit in a run before or after work. It's tough with 12 hr shifts but not impossible.
Also, running home after your last night shift isn't that bad. I do a 26km to home after work now and then.
I have been a shift worker for 30 years and also understand your dilemma. My advice (for what its worth) is to try to get a routine despite the shift work. Run immediatly before or after work, this gets easier as it becomes routine. I also never work sunday am so that i am commited to a long run on the same day each week. The most important advice is listen to your body, take a rest day when it tells you and then continue training. I find planning rest days doesn't always fit what the body needs. Please do remember to fit in rest days if you are having an energetic few weeks.
Good luck with all aspects of training.

#9 Huff

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 08:30 PM

Feedback,

Thank you all for your suggestions.  There are a few strategies i find have help me stick to my "plan of attack"  3months in now!

1.  Keeping an exercise Journal & Exercise Plan.  Hardcopy and online  Once i get my fortnightly roster i calender it and then work my exercise and run's around my shifts.  Luckily i have an understanding wife who also helps out fitting things around all this.  I can then plan most other things around this or change things around where need be.  Makes it easier to see the bigger picture than taking it day by day.

2.  Staying disciplined to this plan while still having flexibility to it (oxymoron).  After some shifts i am feeling stuffed and may require to downgrade a run or change to a rest.  Alternatively some days after work feel fresh and can upgrade the run on change off rest day.  My main focus of the plan is to ensure the runs are ticked off and the k's are covered.  I'm not to strict on the order and swap things around to suit.

3.  Listening to my body (although it sometimes lies!)  After years of competitive sport, shiftwork and a solid base now in my running, plus a background in the health field, i have learnt to understand most of my aches and pains soreness and tiredness.  As a result i can usually tell if it's related to tiredness, fatigue, injury, overuse etc.  Sometimes i feel like crap but after starting a run i free up and feel better.  Other days start fine yet loose all energy and spring.  Mostly relates back to work.  I'm fairly confident in knowing what load my body can handle (touch wood).

4.  Having goals.  Goes without saying.  keeps the focus, discipline and determination up.  Having both long and short term goals.  

Winter is going to get interesting!  Cold, wet, Dark for after work runs.  Surprisingly looking forward to it!

#10 deadcat

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 09:37 PM

another nurse here working shifts.. though i get to mostly work mornings and evenings, not so many nights (thank god!).. i could never run home after a night shift, especially here in canberra during the winter when it's still dark and cold, even though in operating theatres we get to have a kip when it's quiet...

i'll have to agree with everyone talking up flexibility.. and you'll have to make your running a priority again in your life if you want to get your training done.. the flexibility you neee has to tempered with some mandatory training as well I think..