When I first started really getting into running and following training plans for half’s and marathons, I would try to stick to them religiously. I’ve always been an all-or-nothing person so I tend to want to hit every session, regardless of how I’m feeling, if I feel a niggle coming on, or if I’m just dead tired. This has never really ended well though, there have been countless times I’ve run when ill, injured or shattered, and I’ve either made myself ill, made an injury so much worse or just not enjoyed the run.
What I’ve come to learn as I’ve got older and got more running years under my belt, is that a training plan is a great frame to build your workouts from, but it needn’t be set in stone. Things happens, events come up, you get sick, or you really just don’t want to run on that day. I think it’s better not to beat yourself up about whether missing that one run last week when you had already run 45 miles+, is in the grand scheme of things going to matter too much. We should have the confidence to tweak our plans, and it’s important to be in tune with your body and know when you need to change things.
I really need to be flexible with my plan now due to health issues which means I’m not going to be able to hit every session, and I’m going to have to miss a few runs along the way. If I dwell on this and get frustrated about it, it isn’t going to change anything, so I just need to move on, hit the sessions when I am feeling OK and realise that over the course of 16-18 weeks of training, missing a handful of runs isn’t going to matter. It’s not like I’m a professional athlete, most of us our amateurs (I’m a very average one), and I feel like we should be able to be flexible with our plans, and be in charge of them and not the other way around. Today I broke my second weekend long run into a double day doing 16 this morning, and 6 late afternoon, this wasn’t ideal, but I wanted to spend some time with my OH before he left on a work trip, so I broke the run up, getting to spend a bit of extra time with him this morning, these things are ultimately more important than running.
I’ve built in a few extra weeks for my plan to allow for illness or potential injuries which also gives me a nice buffer if I do have to miss an entire week- as I did at the end of January with stomach flu. Over the course of a plan, I think as long as you are hitting the majority of your workouts it doesn’t matter if you miss a few runs here and there, being consistently consistent is much more important than risking injury, missing fun stuff that comes up, or missing valuable time with loved ones.