Someone recently reminded me of the following which appeared in my blog on November 3, 2009. The subject came up because an athlete asked how he should adjust his training when injured. These sorts of things unfortunately happen to each of us. It doesn’t have to be an injury, however. It could just be the crush of holiday activities this time of year or any number of other interruptions. Here are some thoughts that may help you get back on track.
Following a training plan does not mean doing so rigidly. There will be times when you shouldn’t follow the plan because you are not recovered from a previous workout, or feel a cold coming on, or for whatever reason you sense that it is just not right to challenge your body. At times like these it is always best to do less—to go short and easy or even take the day off. To do otherwise is to risk illness, injury, burnout and possibly overtraining. Missing one scheduled workout is preferable to missing one week, or more, of training. When you come to race day, having missed one workout has no impact on performance.
Also, don’t try to make up for omitted workouts by doubling up on the workouts later in the week. This will only lead to greater problems down the road. Let it go.
What happens if you are injured for, say, a month? In such an extreme case you are going to have to start over again with an earlier period (usually Base 3), re-evaluate your goals and get back on track. There may even be situations that cause you to greatly modify the periodization plan, say, for example, if you missed a couple of weeks of training and the national championship is in six weeks. There is no formula for such situations. This is where the art of self-coaching comes into play.
Generally, missing fewer than about seven consecutive days of training is treated as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. Press ahead. But if more days are missed it’s likely you will need to return to a previous week in your plan and start over again from that point. This will require an overhaul of the annual training plan.