For most triathletes, missing a workout is a cause of major anxiety. Many are afraid that missing one session is going to throw a complete wrench in their fitness progress and training plan, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While you should never try to “make up” for a lost workout by stacking it with an already existing one, you may want see if it makes sense to shift it to another day in place of another workout.
Workouts should carry different weights throughout your training plan as you get closer to your goal race. For example, if you are swimming a Masters practice a few days a week and you miss a session, it is absolutely OK. You are not going to lose your spot in your lane and your pace per 100 isn’t going to suddenly drop after missing one session. However, if you are scheduled to do a key run interval session and something comes up, you may want to work with your coach to see if it makes sense to substitute that workout for an easier run at some other time during the week so you are not missing a key session. Most coaches and training plans only advocate one or two hard runs a week due to the inherent injury risk and high-impact nature, while swim practice is generally more intense with much less impact on the body.
More often than not, skipping the occasional workout due to other obligations can actually have an upside. The extra recovery time promotes healing, and that is where you make your biggest gains. So don’t be afraid of skipping that swim, bike or run when you get stuck late at work or your kids are sick, because in the long run it just might make you a better athlete.
Prime Endurance Multisport owner Nick Logan is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Level II coach, as well as a CrossFit and NASM-PES-certified strength coach. Find him on Twitter @nlogantri.