You have this BHAD (Big, Hairy Audcious Goal) that you are going after and you’ve fallen off the wagon. That {marathon/half-marathon/ultra-marathon/5k/10k} provided enough motivation in the beginning, but now, you find that motivation lacking. You’ve missed a few workouts and can’t seem to get back on track.

You resemble Krusty the Clown above.

Embrace one simple word to get back into your training groove.

Consistency.

The more consistent you are as a runner, the more successful you will be. Consistency doesn’t mean working out everyday for three hours, it means following your plan that either you or your coach has constructed, including following ample rest and recovery days, often neglected by runners.

The biggest mistake I see after a streak of missed workouts is doing too much, too soon. Our consistent streak of missed workouts was caused by some impetus, and we cannot expect to do the same type of workouts and see different results.

Common reasons runners miss workouts:

Physical reasons

Injury: If you are injured, find out why. Some injuries need time off, such as an ankle sprain or overuse injury, and others you need to reprogram your body to fix, such as misfiring glutes. Seek out a PT or talk to your coach about what you can do to come back from injury as this is in a different boat than missing.

Exhaustion/OvertrainingThis topic deserves it’s own post, but if you feel exhausted consistently, you may be overtrained. Overtraining I suggest reading Joe Uhan’s articles on overtraining at iRunFar.com. {Part 1   Part 2}

Lying to yourself: You only have 30 minutes per day during the week but yet you expect to be able to do more. Be honest with the amount of time you have and what you commit to. 30 minutes is better than giving yourself 45 and not completing the workout. You put too much pressure on yourself with the rest of your life commitments. Be honest with how much you can do and schedule yourself accordingly. If you can do more, great, but do what you are able to do.

Too much, too soon: Instead of slowing building into mileage or workouts, you expect to go from nothing to working out every day for two hours. Embrace consistency and set yourself 5-6 days a week for 10-20 minutes to get into a groove. Once you are able to maintain the consistent days, begin to bump up the mileage or time in conjunction with your plan or also by listening to your body for cues. If it seems mentally daunting, chances are you will find an excuse. At the same time you improve physically, mentally you break down barriers. A 20 minute run may seem long in the beginning, but 12 months later, one hour feels short. That increase comes over time.

Doing the same thing, over and over: Consistency is key with regards to running on specific days, but sometimes we all need a change. Instead of running with a GPS or heart rate monitor, leave them at home. Take a week off of running and instead swim, bike or cross train. Sometimes we need to jump to another activity for a while or hop off on a new trail or running route.

The workouts you missed are over and done with. Don’t focus on making up missed workouts. You cannot make up missed workouts without consequences. Cramming in workouts and doubles will only do more harm than good.

If you have experienced several days or weeks of missed workouts, here is a common schedule that I will give it an athlete to get back on track.

Monday: 20 minute free run (run at your own pace, no GPS)
Tuesday: Abs and Core (pick five of your favorite exercises and do three sets of 15-20 each)
Wednesday: 20 minute free run
Thursday: Vern Gambetta Leg Circuit
Friday: 20 minute free run
Saturday: 8-10 sets of strides + Pushup and Ab set {5-10 pushups + 30 seconds of abs } repeated five times.
Sunday: 30 minute free run

The trick is, short, attainable workouts which regain consistency. Forget your old workouts and get back into a consistent pattern of running and cross training. The day exercises are short and sweet. Regardless of the mileage or time you put in before you fell off, get your body back into a routine before adding in high mileage or distance.

What do you do when you miss a string of workouts? How do you get back into the routine?

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