First of all don’t panic, the training plans are not set in stone and they need to fit around your other commitments too. We’ve worked with experts to create plans that are designed to build your strength and stamina over a period of time. Therefore, a few missed sessions here and there are unlikely to affect your performance overall (as long as the skipped sessions are not all your longer ones).
Secondly, if it’s a few sessions don’t be tempted to squeeze in what you’ve missed. The plans are designed to follow the basic principles of training; overload, recovery and progression. Meaning that your body is pushed in your longer sessions, with adequate time to rest and recover. It’s this recovery period that allows you to progress and go further again on your next long session.
Here’s a quick guide to what to do if you’ve skipped a session or several.
You’ve missed one training session
Don’t worry about it – this is not a massive setback for you. In fact, the extra recovery time can be beneficial. Don’t beat yourself up over one skipped session and don’t try to squeeze in the missed activity, just check the training plan for your next workout and pick it up from there.
However, if you’ve missed one of your longer sessions due to lifestyle commitments it is possible to slot this one in. For example, if you’ve missed the long Sunday session this can be completed the day after, as long as you allow for adequate rest. Rule to remember – you should only make up a missed long session if you’ve skipped it due to lifestyle commitments and not due to illness or injury.
You’ve missed one week of training
This may seem like a lot to skip but there’s a reasonable amount of research to suggest that you can pause training for up to 6 days without any significant loss in your fitness. It’s likely you’ll feel a little out of practice on your first time back – but one week out in the early stages of your training isn’t a huge problem. Just scratch the missed week and skip to the following week’s plan.
However, if you had to pause your training due to illness or injury you might not be ready to restart and follow every session in the plan. Depending on your individual reasons for stopping, you’ll need to ease your way back correctly. This is when the advice of a professional, personal trainer or an experienced training buddy will help. They’ll be able to listen to your case, your reasons for stopping training then advise you accordingly.
You’ve missed two weeks of training
This is when you’ll need to adjust your training plan as after two weeks out your body will start to lose fitness. Therefore, it might not be the best idea to pick up where you left off. Again this is where you need to seek specific advice from a professional, personal trainer or an experienced training buddy. You might need to tweak your training, accept that you are not going to hit the race time you originally planned or potentially aim for another event further down the line to ensure you’re trained and ready.
However, if you are an experienced in your discipline and you are in the early stages of your training plan you may be able to reach your original challenge goals. Just be aware it will take around two weeks to get back to the form you were in before you paused your training.
One final thing – respect the taper
Don’t make up any missed sessions when you are in your taper phase. This is the key rest and recovery time your body needs to prepare you for a your performance on race day. It might be tempting to squeeze in a session you’ve missed but don’t. It’s best to tackle an event with fewer sessions under your belt (but rested) than over trained and fatigued.