post-night shift workout

Can I let you in on a little secret?  I’m tired…a lot.  Sometimes I feel like I’m being dramatic about the whole night shift thing…I mean, doesn’t everyone have crazy parts about their job?  Am I just being annoying about it?  But then I sleep for four hours, wake up at 5:30am after that four hours of sleep, stare at the wall for a bit hoping to go back to sleep, finally get up, then take a four hour nap because I’m exhausted.  And for those waking hours, I spent the last week sitting on my couch because I was too tired to do anything else.

And it’s never a good thing when you Facetime with your mom (I taught my mom how to Facetime…she thinks it’s the greatest thing ever) and the first thing she says is, “You look really tired…”

Mom knows best, right?  Right.

After staying up until 4am on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I had plans to sleep until I woke up and then go do a speed workout before work.  Even if I got twelve hours of sleep (that would be glorious), I’d still have time to do a workout.  Which was the plan until I slept until 6pm.  Uhhhh.

I made up for all that lost sleep in my four hours of napping in one shot…and I’ve never been more awake at work than I was after sleeping for fourteen hours.  Amazing.  Except for that little fact that I didn’t get my speed work in before work.  Facing three night shifts in a row, the options included:

1)  Do no speed work this week.  Maybe my body is just tired from all this running business?  It’s not used to marathon training anymore.

2)  Do it after work.  This sounds totally reasonable…but let me tell you, I’m usually at a shuffle (at best!) after night shift, and “speed” does not play into that.

3)  Sleep then wake up and do it.  I’m not a morning (evening?) person and know myself well enough that I won’t wake up in time to get out and run.

Where am I going with this?  Oh yes, being tired.  In case you were wondering, the ideal conditions for a speed workout are not at 8:30 in the morning after a twelve hour night shift.  Twelve hours at work is long enough without having been up all night.  However, it was a little “now or never” with a side of “you’ll never know if you don’t try…” so away I went.

I warmed up over to the WSH for a flat place to do some 800 repeats.  Usually I drag along after night shift, so I wasn’t worried about a slow warm-up pace…except I was easily running under an eight minute pace.  Alright, let’s actively run slow.

Having not done much (any?) speed work over the past year, I was nervous to begin with about how this was going to go.  Then add it having worked all night, I wasn’t sure if my legs would respond…but after a little warm-up, it was go time.

The plan was for 6×800 at 3:10 (6:20 pace, I’m good at math) per a little Bart Yasso.  Then a three minute recovery.  Why not.  I decided on that workout on the warm-up, clearly I need to start planning more.  Anyway.

The first few intervals better feel okay because if you’re dying on the first interval, obviously the pace is too fast.  It felt great and clocked in at 3:06.  That’s nice.  Take it easy, let’s go again.  3:02.  I’ll take it.  Again?  3:02.  Halfway there.

I turned around and was feeling good about being half way done.  I wondering if maybe the wind was at my back and that’s why it felt maintainable…therefore making me run into the wind on the way back.  Luckily, that was not the case and the fourth repeat came off without a hitch…3:06.

I’d be lying if I said that I was feeling awesome at this point…but isn’t that what you should be feeling with two repeats left to go?  If you feel great, you’re doing something wrong.  The second to last repeat is always mentally one of the hardest for me…it’s not the last repeat, but you’re tired and need to push through.  My apologizes to the people on the WSH who heard me talking to myself out loud…especially while huffing and puffing in the middle of the fifth repeat.  But it worked and that clocked in at 3:05.

One.  More.  To go.  At this point, I was patting myself on the back but still rocking this workout…but still had one more to go.  My legs were still a bit fatigued so I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but definitely attainable.  Three minutes of rest flew by, and it was time for three more minutes of speed.  I lasted for about two minutes then found myself relaxing before telling myself I needed to kick it into gear…way too far into this workout to lose it in the last minute!  I charged through the last minute of the repeat and finished in 3:06.


Repeat recap:  3:06, 3:02, 3:02, 3:06, 3:05, 3:06.  I like it.

I cooled down back across the island, showered, and didn’t feel like going to sleep…it’s light out, right?  Shouldn’t I be awake?  No?  Okay.  Finally fell asleep so happy that I got myself out the door for the workout…who needs fresh legs?

So that was basically the longest post ever about a single workout…but it was my first-ish workout (not counting the Whiskeython…) since my back injury and my first official workout of Boston training.  I’m definitely feeling tired from being back on nights at work and not being used to the groove of marathon training…but we’re working on it.  I may not be perfectly rested for every workout, but we’re off to a good start.

12 weeks til Boston.  I’m excited.

What’s your favorite workout?  I may or may not be looking for some ideas!  My favorite high school track workout was quarter repeats…but those aren’t the most important for marathon training!

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  1. says

    WOW I can’t believe you pulled off such a fabulous workout after nightshift….I could never do such a thing.

    And I totally agree with you– people hear that we work 3 days per week and assume it’s really easy to fit in runs, but it’s actually much more difficult than you would expect!

  2. says

    GOod job, my friend! I honestly don’t know how you do it. Even after a normal day I can’t imagine running… good thing I’m a morning person, haha. I am excited for you – can’t believe it’s only 12 weeks away! I think my favorite workout is this really crazy one John had me do a few times – ~10 minutes warm-up, 5 minutes on, 1:30 off, 10 on, 2 off, 15 on, 3 off, 10 on, 2 off, 5 on and cooldown. All of the “ons” are around half marathon pace. Love it!

  3. Stephie says

    Pyramid workouts! 1×400, 1×800, 2×1200, 1×800, 1×400 (throw in a 1×1600 between the 1200s when I have higher mileage – but I am right now coming back from an injury as well). I start working as a nurse end of February (contingent on passing NCLEX next week) – so I will need to learn how to juggle life, running, and night shifts too – should be interesting!

  4. Jarvis says

    Keep at it–really only 10 “training” weeks left. Let’s face it, the last 2 weeks isn’t much more then prep.
    Somehow get some sun–power!

  5. says

    Good luck with that. I often run late at night (on mytreadmill) when I get home after work, after everyone else is in bed. Like 10 pm or so. It is so hard. But really, I can sleep well after it — it does not keep me up. Hardest part is to stay motivated to do it.

    So good luck, and hope the workouts get squeezed in. And those are awesome times.

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