shift work + training

does anybody out there train for Tri and have to work shifts??
I currently work two 7am-4pm shifts, two 3pm-12midnight and two 10pm-7am shifts followed by four days off, with the first day off in bed recovering from a night shift.

With a body clock all over the place does anybody have any tips. I have joined a local Tri club which has been a great help, but I cannot make all the training sessions with them and end up training alone. I am wanting to move up to 1/2 IM distance in 2004 but find most of my training is done alone.
I am swimming 2 miles in the pool in about 55 minutes, and can do a half marathon in about 1hr50, my bike leg is needing a vast improvement in the distance side of it.

Any ideas please???


  • Sorry - not in the same position, but you tend to find that some of the best competitors do most of their training alone.

    Might be worth hooking up with a bike club to get some more miles in. My club ride Wednesday Saturday Sunday. Wednesday is for the retired guys, but they still clock up scary miles !
  • I appreciate that training alone can have benefits as the race is a lone effort, but it can help with the training side of it when you are pushed along. One benefit I have found though is that, while evryone else is working I am free during the day to hit the roads, or the pool when it is cheaper to enter!!!
    One problem I have found is that with my body clock all over the place so is my diet, eating main meals at maybe four in the morning can't be good for me, and now it is winter sometimes I can go for days without seeing daylight!!!
    Thnaks for the advice though cougie.
  • Must admit - my meals are all over the place due to work, and training. Hasn't seemed to affect me much though.

    I think a few peeps have the same probs with no daylight - dark when you go in, and dark when you come out. I try and squeeze a run in my lunch hour if I can.

    Good luck ! I envy your swimming ability - I'm only up to about 50 meters !
  • Hi Icedog

    Im too on shiftwork, well my hours are 8-7am of which are 4 nights a week, but can be any from sun-sat.

    I try and train hard on my off days, but sometimes that is not alway possible, have been doing nights for 3 years now, and still sometimes it catches me out, I always say its like having jetlag 24/7.

    But the choice is mine, and sometimes it works in my favour, like you say when all are at work we can sometimes have the use of pools, gym etc, and less people are there during the day, rather than if we were to go after work if on days!

    Eating is for me, is one of the most hardest disciplines when training and when working nights, ive found it extreamly hard to keep a good balanced diet.

    People I seem to talk to seem to think that it would just be the same as working all day and working out after work, so why would it be different working nights.........if only they knew!!!

    Hope your training go's well.
  • Speedie, at last somebody else who knows how it feels. All the others at my club work regular hours and do not understand how hard nights and other shifts make it to train. I do not get a dinner break during most of my shifts so can work 10/12 hours without stopping, such is the nature of my work. Due to work demands I can be very tired at the end of a shift, although I do try and run in and out of work which is only 2.5 miles, but better than nothing and it gets the heart pumping..

    Has anybody ever read anything regarding shift work causing ill health due to throwing the body clock all over?? and can training hard and keeping fit help or hinder you?? I am guessing it can help you maintain a balanced body. I do know that shift workers can expect to die a good few years earlier, so that is something to look forward to!!!!!....
  • Dear All,
    It's good to hear other people are working shifts and also find it hard to balance out. I work on a North Sea rig so I am away for two weeks at a time (but then I get two weeks off). During my time offshore I work nightshifts (usually about 15 hours), which is murder for the first three but after that it settles down. I have never been a triathlete but this year I completed two marathons whilst working like this. I followed the RW 4 training sessions a week training plan, which I adapted to my schedule, running 5 sessions a week whilst I was onshore and three a week (plus cross training) whilst I am offshore. This meant that in my peak training weeks I was running 90+ miles in just under two weeks onshore, but it was only for a short period.
    I tend to train before shift at the beginning of my trip and train after shift towards the end of the trip when I am more alert. I have heard that shift work is bad for you and I can confirm that I have aged since working nights! At this time of year the lack of daylight is hard to cope with, I find that on the day I travel home my eyes are very painful with the daylight.
    I am hoping to complete the Paris marathon in 2004 and better my time (went from 4:03 to 3:45 this year) if I can. My worst nightmare would be the rig treadmill breaking down, in which case I would end up fat and depressed!
    Good luck to you all with your winter training!
  • Think Polly has it worse, I thought my shifts were bad for training but atleast I'm home. Hope you stick to it Polly, you put the rest of us to shame, well me anyway!!!
  • hi all. ive been doing shifts for a while now, 12 hours 3-4 times a week in no pattern. like icedog i dont normally get a break - but dont ever know wheer they will be so cant train if wanted to. the thing i found the hardest was the differing times of my training, i always used to swim at lunch time or in the evening and found morning swims very hard. however one day i just decided to forget all my previous preferences and accept that i would be hard for a while. i now can train at any time of the day and i seem to be training well. i actually enjoy doing a few miles in the pool before work! hope this helps- fat boy.
  • ice dog your current form actually sounds OK, except the cycling

    get a decent turbo trainer, then you can train safely at any time of the day or night
  • Santa bought me a turbo trainer, so i'm there at all hours when I get home with my headphones on sweating away. Am now doing 1.5hr at a time on it and then getting off, changing shoes and running. Feel the training is coming on great at the moment and am hitting PB's for most of my stuff, and have started monitoring heart rate and keeping a training diary to see if any particular work/food/training pattern helps or hinders. Still feel I am missing out though when the rest of the club are out doing various bits and I have to miss due to work......
Sign In or Register to comment.