Whether you train with a coach, on your own, or use a pre-written program, you are going to need to adjust your training program at times. General fatigue, lack of time, and life in general will always play a role in preventing training and missing training days. So what do you do? The good news is a few days missed will not affect training at all. It will throw you off a little both physically and mentally but there are ways to adjust.
Rider training in AZ – Missing a training day like this can be a hard thing to deal with!
First rule of thumb is stick to the program when only missing a day or two. If you completely miss a day and the next day you were planning on an easy spin, then stick to that plan. Missing a day or two will have very little impact on overall training and the rest will only allow you to train on a higher level of output when you return. Rearranging workouts to make up for lost days only complicates the program more than necessary. Easier days allow you to train on a higher level the following day and through the rest of the week, and too many hard days in a row can provide fatigue too great to recover from in the short term. That can lead to low power outputs through training and less training adaptations.
Replace the missed time with an added easy or steady (zone 1-2) spins on your days off, and/or add time to the remaining workouts for the week. Adding time to a planned day off can be a welcomed change of pace but keep it easier paced at the most. This prevents you from overworking your legs for the rest of the week, but, keep in mind; it will still provide training stress, which will make the remainder of your week a little harder.
Often remind yourself of the big picture. It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.
Less time in a day doesn’t always need to equal a missed day. Add 20-30 minutes of core work if you’re in a pinch for time. Gaining more core strength for all endurance-related sports is essential. Core strength can be worked anywhere as well. Body weight exercises such as pushups, planks, and lunges are simple and highly effective. Yoga is another great option for the endurance minded.
If the inevitable happens and you get really sick or injured, work gets too busy, and you are forced to miss most of a week or more, then you will need to restructure training. Your first focus is taking care of yourself and priorities. Training for fitness is great, and healthy, but it is still secondary to many things in life.
Look at how much training you missed and go from there. If you only missed a week, then look at the week as a rest week and start with a new two or three week block of training the following week. If you have missed two or more weeks with little to no training, then it would be wise to ease back into it. Two or more weeks with no training will lead to some loss in strength. Make sure the first week or two of training are done mainly in your lower training zones before increasing intensity. This will allow your body to readjust and prevent injury.
Missing days is always hard for the extremely motivated. We all know that every day counts but realize that missing one or a few is not the end of the world. Look at the missed day as a welcomed rest day and an opportunity to go a bit longer on a weekend run or ride. And let it remind you to appreciate the time to train when you have it.
Mike Schultz, CSCS