Miss A Key Run? No Biggie!

>> Tuesday, April 3, 2012

As much as I thought running during pregnancy was difficult, running with a baby in the house has proven much worse. Ada has hit the 4-month/19-week sleep regression thing . . . HARD. She woke up 6 (SIX!) times last night. It's definitely impacting my waking hours since it's been over a week of such interrupted sleep. Double-workout days are on hold for the moment. Getting in one is hard enough.

I was scheduled to run 15 miles total this weekend -- 4 on Saturday, 11 on Sunday. I ran zero.

Confession: Taking unscheduled days off from my training plan used to freak me out. But when life gets in the way -- and it certainly has -- my years of racing experience have taught me that it's no biggie. Missing a few days is not only fine, but can also be beneficial.

What can I do to get back on track? Honestly, I don't need to do anything. If I don't make a regular habit of missing important runs, I can skip these miles and not look back. But there are a few ways I like to make up for them regardless.

#1: Keep cool about it. First and foremost, I'm not allowing this blip to get me down. I needed the rest -- and might possibly need more. I've taken a long, hard look at my goals with May's half marathon. I initially wanted to finish in under 1:50, but think finishing at all would be fine in my book. It's my first post-pregnancy half. And this isn't the first interruption to my training plan. There's no reason I need to attempt to break the sound barrier.

#2: Take care of myself. On those off days, I didn't just lay on the couch and eat cookies. (I did my share of that, though.) I ate well. Tried my best to get some sleep. And I used those extra hours when I would have been running to do something for myself. In this event, I read a book. It was glorious.

Here's a workout-specific thing I usually do when I miss key run:

#3: Shift those miles around. After three days off, I may feel tired . . . but my legs are feeling fresh. I've decided to toss out Saturday's 4 miler entirely, but swap today's easy run with some distance. Probably definitely not 11, but 8 would be a win in my book.

Even better? If you have OFF days free, you can move your important workouts to them with little problem. After all, you already took a few days OFF, you don't necessarily need one more.

Some considerations if you want to take this approach:
  • You may want to modify your other runs of the week to accommodate the most important run. The way I think about it is there are usually a few key workouts per week. A long. A speed. Sometimes another tempo-ish one, too. If you had to, you can strip your week down to these key runs and cut out the easy, junk miles. How to choose? If you're targeting distance, your most quality runs are the long ones. If you're targeting speed, the track workouts and other speed play.
  • Since plans typically give you one type of each quality workout a week, you'll want to try and shift the missed run so it doesn't fall in line too close to the next one of the same sort. That's a good way to get injured or burned out again. (For example, if you missed your Sunday long run, I'd recommend not waiting past Wednesday to fit it in before the next one.)
I guess we'll see what I end up doing tonight. Since I started this post, I've lost the desire to replace today's run with a long run. I forgot it was Stephen's night to run after work, which would mean I'd push my miles into our dinner time.

I'll report back! Tell me, though. What do you do when you miss a key workout?

And if you're following Writing Chapter Three, you can check out some scenes from the weekend -- as well as weigh in on our decision for how to start solids.

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