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Missing Workouts in a Training Plan

Despite your best planning ahead, sometimes you have to take time out during a planned training schedule. Through injury, work or family commitments you find yourself missing a session, or even a week or two. Should you try to fit missed sessions into the next week or omit them? How will it affect your race prep?

Missing 3 days or fewer:

Continue training with no adjustments. Don’t be tempted to squeeze them into the next week. Simply move on with the training schedule. This avoids overuse injuries and fatigue.

Missing 4-7 days:

Rearrange the next 2 weeks to incorporate only the highest priority work outs. Select the workouts that work your weaknesses. These will normally be the ones you like least. For example if you are working on muscle endurance keep your hill repeats, for improving speed work your intervals, etc. Strengthening workouts (ie gym work) should be prioritised. The workouts that simply maintain your stronger skills can be missed. E.g. if you are good a speed work but need to develop endurance, skip the speed work and work on slow an longer.

For endurance events be careful to keep to the 10% increase in distance PER WEEK, don’t try to squeeze a missed endurance ride/run/swim into a week that already has a 10% increase. Resist cramming more hard training workouts into fewer days, prioritise.

Missing 1-2 weeks:

You will need to go back to the previous meso cycle, omitting an entire chunk of the training you planned to do. This may mean postponing the event you are working towards (and their training/prep events). For example, if you have completed your base fitness weeks and are on a build week, you may need to step back to a previous build (or even return to base). If you are in a peak week, then take it back to a build. Build weeks should be longer than peak weeks, so you may be able to reduce a 4week build into a 3 week and/or omit a Peak. Don’t miss out tapering or base fitness. (See picture for clarification. Thanks to The Traithlete’s Training Bible, Joe Friel for the accompanying picture)

Missing 2+ weeks:

This will set you back to base weeks. If you are already in base weeks, step back to the week you should be doing and reschedule your event. You can’t force in the strength/speed/endurance that you have lost because your body is more likely to suffer injury, then the training is further set-back. Don’t worry, you are still working towards your goal, you can manage the situation and get there, just a little later than expected.


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