Schedules were meant to be broken

Deviating from the prescribed schedule is ok now and again

I can remember way back when I first started working with a coach for triathlon. If he wrote Thursday’s workout as 3-hr. ride with eight hill repeats, every other one standing, then dammit, I was going to do a 3-hr. ride with eight hill repeats, every other one standing, on Thursday. If I came in at 2:55 on my watch, I was going to do the dreaded add-on to make it to three hours. I was, um, a bit caught up in the importance of the schedule.

That’s not to say that following a schedule or plan isn’t a good idea, especially if you’re paying a coach for it. But I’ve learned over the years that sometimes you have to roll with unexpected changes in your personal schedule. Or perhaps your legs don’t quite feel up to the prescribed workout and you need to cut it a bit short or eliminate some intervals. Take a deep breath–it’s going to be ok.

This week I had to do a heck of a lot of moving around my workouts–there was no other option due to unexpected circumstances. I wanted to make sure I got the miles in, but it wasn’t going to be in the ideal order I had planned. Younger me would have been upset by this. Older me knows that it’s ok to have made all these crazy adjustments this week. I still got the training in, even if it wasn’t in the ideal order.

The bottom line is that your body is fairly resilient and understanding if you have to switch things up. Not only that, but we all need a little perspective check once in a while. Are we headed to the Olympics anytime soon? For the vast majority of us, the answer is no. Sometimes life gets in the way of training. A tweak to the schedule here or there isn’t going to make or break our next race.

So next time life throws you a curve ball and it looks like it might affect your training, try hard not to sweat it. This is one of those small things in life–you, and your training, will be just fine.

How do you manage changes to your training plans? 

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  1. says

    i want to say it’s easy to pick up a program from a coach / book or the net, but having a coach is better than having a program, because then things get set around you, and the way you like to train. It can be changed weekly as you get tired / busy at work or something else pops up. So if you make your program remember it is aloud to change!!!!
    Coach Dion recently posted..ON THE MOUNTAIN OR THE ROAD?My Profile

  2. says

    Well, you know that my schedule underwent a few tweaks last week. If it’s something truly out of my control, then I can usually roll with it. Where I start getting down is when I COULD’VE made things work and didn’t.
    Kate recently posted..GroundedMy Profile

  3. says

    Funny thing is that while training for marathons and evev HIM I woulkd be to a T with my training.

    Now training for I’m has changed that perception. Need to adjust for family, mind and body and do so b/c I always get the workout in. Sometimes it means a 430a start but you make adjustments for other obligatiions.

    Great lessons in this post.

  4. says

    I think I agree with this TOO much. I print schedule and never follow them. In fact I’m looking at one right now and I’ve completely neglected it. The only workouts I ran on this entire marathon training plan were two 20-milers and a 30k race that I had penciled it! I suck at this ! LOL
    Gracie recently posted..Make your own long run fuelMy Profile

  5. says

    I’ve been struggling a bit with this. Recently I’ve gotten the urge to be more social and also get out and network more. I’m not sure how to balance taking on new commitments and activities with my training schedule. I only have a few hours at best in the evening to do all this.

    Doesn’t seem like enough time!
    Holly recently posted..OBA February Cleveland Meetup: Bloggers & WineMy Profile

  6. says

    Great advice! I have definitely become more flexible with myself and with schedules in time. Since coming back from injury this summer, I had a very unusual half training, and am making things up as I go for a full training… I have a general guide, but it’s nice to be able to trust myself and my body to know what’s best. Not always easy, however!
    Laura recently posted..Boundless Nutrition Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  7. says

    I change the order of things around to suit my schedule but I am anal about thinking I have to do everyone exactly. I am rather proud of myself for just dropping a week out entirely from a forced rest and not trying to make it up by squeezing in extra workouts other weeks!

  8. says

    Great timing. I have not been able to stick to my schedule this go around either and I’m kind of learning to be ok with it…because honestly I don’t feel I have another choice do why waste the energy making myself and everyone around me crazy. Although I do wonder how I’m going to catch up. I’ve missed 2 longish runs and don’t know how to adjust my schedule accordingly. Any tips?
    Sorry about the “older” thing. . Ugh. But your still a rock star to me!
    Fueled by Spite recently posted..I love my therapistMy Profile

  9. says

    Great points!

    This is the first training season where I’ve had to be real flexible with my schedule. Initially I was freaking out but now I just take it as it comes and use my schedule as more of a guideline. I switch days up to make it work. Ultimately at the end of the week I end up with the right amount of mileage planned.

    Have a great weekend!
    Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb recently posted..RFF – 2/24/12My Profile

  10. says

    Great points!

    I can write up a nice schedule for other people, but I can’t stick to one myself. My good ole “all or nothing” mentality. If I know I won’t follow it to a T, than I rather not follow one at all. I end up making stuff up on the fly. I could use some of your balance.
    Runblodnie26 recently posted..Coincidence (10K Race Recap)My Profile

  11. says

    I am awful with schedules. Thank goodness for running partners. They seeem to keep me on schedule. I just try and get all my miles in that I’m suppose to in a week and I make sure I always get my long run in. I dont really care what day I do anything in as long as I get it all in . The older I get the more relaxed I have become. You start to see the big picuture as you get older. Life to short to stress over the little things.

  12. says

    I’m glad you wrote about this. I’m going through this with my Iron training right now. For the first 6 weeks I stuck to that baby like glue. Then stuff started coming up and my legs would be tired. It’s better to rest and be ready for the next instead of barrel through into burn out. Plus, I’m not going to age place and there’s no Olympics so yeah, it’s best to back up and take a closer look sometimes. It’s sometimes easy to not be able to see the forest for the trees.
    Coy recently posted..They know how to scare the shit out of some peopleMy Profile

  13. says

    I’m not to strict on my workouts. I plan them for the week but if I have to move them or change them, I am okay with that. I try to stick to the plan for the most part though. Way to get your training in!
    Hikermom recently posted..Free Rant FridayMy Profile

  14. says

    Same as you: during the training for my first marathon, I went by “coaches orders” to the “t” and then added more. I would beat myself up if I didn’t do what the paper said I needed to do that day.
    Not now. I’m not a professional athlete and all the exercise and running I do is for fitness. If I exceed expectations, GREAT! If not, so be it. I just want it to be rewarding or why bother doing it.
    Joanne recently posted..Confucius Say… and Vegetable DalMy Profile

  15. says

    ….”Not only that, but we all need a little perspective check once in a while. Are we headed to the Olympics anytime soon? For the vast majority of us, the answer is no. Sometimes life gets in the way of training. A tweak to the schedule here or there isn’t going to make or break our next race.”

    Absolute gold!
    Adrienne recently posted..A Different Look at Racing StrategyMy Profile

  16. says

    thank you for the timely reminder! I’m just coming off a week that had only one workout (swim) because I had a houseguest, a crazy week at work, and some other family drama. I was just starting to feel a little schizo when I read your post. I’ll be back on schedule tomorrow. AND IT WILL BE OK! :)
    Dianna on Maui recently posted..2012 – So It BeginsMy Profile

  17. says

    When I had a coach, I felt guilty when I didn’t follow what she has scheduled for me even though she wasn’t always listening to what I requested. Now that I am creating my own plan, I am loving the flexibility of changing things when I need it. But I do get stressed when hard workouts get to close to each other…That is when I had expert advice to suggest how to handle it.
    Robin recently posted..What is Your Number?My Profile

  18. Nicole Schuman says

    Agree! Just as much like promises. :) Anyway, our body can has a span of 20days for adaptation. So if you’ll just continue your training, you’ll get better results..
    Nicole Schuman recently posted..claim PPI from HSBCMy Profile

  19. says

    I used to follow my training schedule without missing a single mile or minute. But you’re right, with experience comes confidence in knowing that missing a workout every now and then, or cutting one short isn’t going to ruin your fitness. (as long as it doesn’t become a habit!) I’m so much more flexible now and enjoying training so much ore because of it!
    That Pink Girl recently posted..How to TaperMy Profile

  20. says

    I am probably one of the worst people out there for following schedules. Somehow I do get my workouts and my training done but I guess structure does not work for me very well.

  21. says

    Such a great reminder. When I trained for the NYCM I stuck to my plan religiously and I’m pretty sure that’s how I ended up with the stress fracture. It was my first time training for a marathon and I didn’t have a coach to consult. I probably should have altered my plan a few times because of how I was feeling, but I thought I had to hit everything exactly as it was laid out. Big mistake. Everyone is different and what works for 1 person doesn’t always work for another. Definitely something I’ve learned too!
    lisa @ early morning run recently posted..It’s Good to Go HomeMy Profile

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