It happens in every training plain – runs get missed. It can be due to schedule changes, oversleeping, illness, injury or any of a number of other factors, including just not feeling it. How should you handle it?
– What kind of run was it? Was it a long run or an easy run? If it is an easy weekday run, I find it easier to just let it go rather than reshuffling my schedule to get it in. If it was a key workout, like a long run, I’ll look at rearranging things to fit it in. If I’m going to mix things up to make up a run, I try to stick to an easy-hard-easy-hard pattern to avoid overdoing it. For example, if I can’t get in a Thursday hill workout and have a long run Saturday, I’ll move my long run to Sunday so I can do the hill workout Friday with a day of recovery between.
– Why did you miss the run? Injury or illness is going to affect things differently than it if was a schedule or oversleeping issue. If I’m injured or sick, I just let those workouts go and focus on recovering. If I didn’t get it done because of a schedule issue, I try to at least walk the miles to get the time on my feet if I can’t make up the run or I split the run into smaller chunks I can fit in the day if I can’t reschedule the workout all together. Something is better than nothing.
– Where am I in my training? If I’m close to race day, I definitely don’t want to push too hard to make things up during time I should be tapering. It takes 10 days or so to see the benefit of your training, so it’s unlikely that last minute workout will really help my performance and yet it is very possible that pushing that much could negatively affect things in terms of fatigue or worse, injury. One of my favorite pieces of running advice is that it is better to toe the line a little undertrained than overtrained.
My priority for this training cycle is the long run. I’m reaching for new distances, so getting those miles in and letting my muscles and joints adjust to the added time on my feet is crucial. If the long run gets missed and I’m not too close to the race day, I will work hard to shuffle my schedule to get it in even if that means waking up super early on a workday or splitting the run before and after work.
Most of what I’ve read has reinforced the idea that missing the occasional run isn’t catastrophic, but pushing too hard to make it for it might be. I’ve linked a bunch of articles below that might help you come up with your own strategy for handling missed runs. Of course, all of this is based on missing only the occasional workout. Missing big chunks of training due to illness or injury would require an entirely different approach most likely.
How do you handle missed runs in your training plan?
3 Ways to Make Up for a Missed Long Run (Competitor.com)