What to do when you fall off your training plan

It happens. You have the best training plan ever and for some reason or another, you fall off. Perhaps it's an injury, perhaps it's just being sick, perhaps it's other things that life tosses your way. But don't fret. Not yet at least. First, let's talk.

I have gone through many training plans, each one I have developed for myself taking what is suggested and trying to factor in aspects of my life to make the plan more doable. Call my the training plan juggling master. And even though I have consistently PR'd on many races, and my goal race  - the marathon, I think too much juggling may introduce a weakness. An element that may be holding me back from realizing my big dreams.

But there is a catch. Too much rigidity isn't good either. Don't run what's on the plan just because it is there and overlook other factors that might be more important. And as a mom, sometimes the more important factors may be my family. I juggle. I still do. But in all reality, up until now I am still hitting my training goals.

Until this week. I may flop. And even though last night I did my calculations and realized if I ran x today, tomorow, and Sunday I could reach my weekly and monthly mileage goals. But that would be sandwiching a longer run with longer runs than usual. Sure I can do that! Right?

But first ask, why am I in this boat? Simply because on Wednesday I ran just a mile (my legs were off) and I fell short a mile yesterday (I needed to get to work). I am at a deficet and don't all runners just want to tack on those missed miles and make them up! Makes sense, right?

Not necessarily. Especially if you really factor in why you are not hitting your training. Personally, right now I am battling a cough and ear infection and my daily routine is all wacky with taking darling daughter to swim two afternoons a week. However, the biggest factor is my body is fighting another battle and energy needs to go there. It is okay. I know what is going on. I know how this battle started. It is a good one. I will be better at the end but right now, I need to give my body time to heal from the inside out. I don't need to be tacking on miles to my training plan to make up missed miles. I will be fine.

The "I'm serious" squint
Keep your eyes on the goal.

My goal: To break a 4:20 marathon. With that said, I understand the desire to hit the numbers, to run the miles, to train my heart out so I will be ready. Thing is, I could push through it and be okay trying to make up miles. Maybe. But is it a risk worth taking? Some of you may be saying yes.

What if not letting my body heal costs me more than just one below target week? What if it opens me to injury and an onslaught of missed performance? Is that worth it? I can see you all saying no now.

As runners we tend to be really good at pushing ourselves. Running through the tough. We are strong. But we can be foolish too.

Yes, I want a 40+ mile week, yes I want 175 miles in June, no I may not hit those numbers. But I will run tomorrow on running streak day 548. I want to run long. I may. I may not. I will see how my body feels after one more sleep.

Which brings me back to my first question - what to do when you fall off your training plan? Be smart. Don't kick yourself in the butt. Don't foolishly tack on miles to make up missed miles. Look at where you are and where you want to go. Because deep down I know those miles I miss this week won't negatively impact my performance come race day in September. I have time. I have a year long training plan so of course I will have missed weeks. But if you are constantly falling short week after week, I say it is time to really reevalulate where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there best!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for BLT's!
Daily Affirmation: I will break a 4:20 marathon!


  1. I've learnt the hard way that it's not numbers that count - it's how you feel. You can't follow a training plan at the cost of your health. When you're exhausted or sick you just have to take the time off to recover. In the long run you will recover quicker.

  2. great advice! I think there is definitely that balance of not being too rigid, but realizing you can never truly move forward if you don't stick to a plan somewhat. I have no doubt you can get to a sub 4:20. You are so dedicated and smart about your training. You always seem to listen to your body too which is so important. I have complete confidence you will get there!

  3. While I am unable to run I do walk. I am often saying I must have a saddistic streak because if i fell behind i feel i must make it up as soon as possible even if that sends me into a flare...which is not good. not good at all. great advice! go with the flow and keep in mind the needs of your body and mind!

  4. I haven't purposely fallen off the bus, my broken foot has taken care of that for me...ugh. I've kept up with yoga and my weekly CF training sessions, and cycling has kept me sane. I'll get back on the road this weekend...so hard to start over again.


    1. It is hard when an unforeseen injury happens. Hang in there. You will come back stronger!

  5. Life happens, long runs get cut in half for half morning half night running, kids get sick I have totally never ever had a training plan that I was able to follow 100%!

  6. Thanks for joining the linkup! This is a great post. I have found that the mileage number doesn't necessarily always matter, it's the actual quality of the run. I've started using Run Less Run Faster for my training plans which focuses on quality vs quantity and it has helped immensely!

    1. That is so true! I love the benefits I have seen with more focuesed runs.

  7. It happens sometimes, I've taken extra rest days these last 2 weeks because I needed it. Sometimes you just have to adjust and then move forward.
    Thanks for linking up to Throwback Thursday, come back in June!


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