Adjusting Your Training For Missed Workouts

Don't let zeros in the training log drag you down.

Getting Back On Track

Your training history, goals and what caused you to miss workouts in the first place all play a role in how quickly you jump back into training. Here are some good guidelines for when you’re ready to start training again:

1-5 Days Of Missed Training

If you miss less than five days of training, it’s safe to assume you didn’t lose any fitness and your legs will respond to jumping back into training very quickly. You don’t want your first run back to be a hard workout, so schedule two or three easy days of running at 80-90 percent of your normal easy run distance. Include some strides or explosive hill sprints stimulate the central nervous system and get the legs ready for harder running. After two or three easy runs, you should be good to jump back into harder workouts without needing to adjust your training paces. If coming off of a minor injury or illness, give yourself a few extra days of easy running before attempting a harder workout.

6-10 Days Of Missed Training

If you miss between 6 and 10 days of training, you’ll likely lose some specific coordination and a very slight amount of fitness. This isn’t anything to fret over, but it does mean you’ll want to be careful before jumping back into a hard workout.

Begin by running 60 to 70 percent of your normal easy mileage for at least 3 days and then gradually increase 10-15 percent each day. Again, add some strides or hill sprints after some of your runs until you’re feeling back to normal. For your first hard workout back, consider a fartlek, such as 6 x 3 minutes at 5K effort with a 2-3 minute walk rest between reps, rather than trying to hit specific splits.

10-15 Days Of Missed Training

At this point, you’ve missed a decent amount of training and it’s going to take you a couple of weeks to feel back to normal.

Similar to what I described before, begin by running 60 to 70 percent of your normal easy mileage for at least 3 days and then gradually increase 10-15 percent each day, adding some strides and hill sprints after you’ve gotten a few runs under your belt. Get at least a week or two of easy running under your belt before attempting any serious workouts.

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