From the Coaches: What to do when you miss a workout?

It happens to everyone: Weekend Warriors, novice riders, seasoned amateurs, world champions. At some point, for some reason, you will miss a workout.
While this can cause Stress and anguish for many, the first step is acceptance, accepting that you are not getting those efforts completed today. All you have to move forward towards your goal is the work you can put in tomorrow.
The real question becomes, what SHOULD I do tomorrow?
And the answer to that is entirely dependent on WHY you missed today’s workout int he first place.
Most people in the world don’t spend their free time riding bikes, so “why” you didn’t ride your bike today requires honest self-reflection. Ran out of time? Did work get out of hand? Family duty called you away? Are you sick? Fatigued? Just feel off?
The reason WHY you missed that workout is the most crucial question you need to answer honestly before plotting your next training session,

Training is a form of Stress you put your body through. With appropriate recovery, your body adapts to that Stress to better handle it in the future. That is the essence of training.
Stress -> Rest -> Adaptation -> Repeat
There are many types of Stress for your body to encounter, both physical and mental. Unfortunately, your body does not divide these stressors into two distinct pools.
Given that adaptation comes from Stress + Rest, you cannot adapt to physical Stress (training) and become fitter while if your mental Stress is also peaked.
So WHY did you miss that workout?
If the answer has anything to do with Stress/Fatigue/Energy, you cannot do your missed workout tomorrow. If anything, you need to ensure that tomorrow’s focus is reducing that nonphysical stress as much as possible.
The last thing you should do in these situations is “beat yourself up” about a missed workout and add further stress to your system.
Wha you should focus on is getting a good night’s sleep and shifting your focus to the next hard workout, not dwell on the one you just “missed”.

Yes, consistency is the most important factor in training. That does not mean you have to ride every single day (nor should you). What consistent training means is getting in the majority of what you have on the schedule. A single(or even a few) missed session will not obliterate the consistent work of the previous weeks. In some cases, like when you are sick, missing a workout and focusing on rest and recovery will actually make you faster in the long run.

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Thanks for this one. It’s always good to get a reminder like this. Despite knowing about the importance of recovery, sleep etc, many of us forget far too easily and often about it when looking at our training plan and the target event.
Cheers!

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Thanks @Coach.Mac.C, so many good nuggets of advice! I pulled out three that truly resonate with me right now.

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This is a great wiki/knowledge bank post - thanks !

Something that you (@Coach.Mac.C) and I think it might have been @Coach.Simon.B talked about was how it takes 3 days before the process of actual ‘building’ to even start when you’re body is adapting.

So I’d like to dig in to the training stress thing a little bit and the science.

Often we might do a tough VO2 HIIT one day, then the next focus in something different lm(let’s say Power Station) with some STR thrown in.

My small brain says that it’ll obvs be a while before the body continues it’s constant adaptation, but is the theory sound that by by targeting different areas you aren’t ‘overtraining’ as such?

(in that both rip your legs off, but in different ways - Nine Hammers thrashes everything … and Power Station really targets strength)

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This is quite timely, as I’ll miss both weekend workouts this week because I’m racing.
I know that for most people the race could well be more work than a workout, but as I race for 5km (and this weekend it’s 3km) the TSS is about 10-12 so WAY below a 60 minute+ workout. I’ve seen what removing my workouts does to my CTL ramp rate and it’s not good to look at, but reading this helps overcome the worry that I might have lost a load of fitness.
Add in all the travel, race stress etc and I’m probably subjecting myself to about the same overall stress in the end, so I can just go and race, then come back and start again on Monday :slight_smile:

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I am doing a 3 week block where I cover the 4 rides to address my rider weakness, twice during that time. I have filled in the days between sessions with easy rides .I am finding I need plenty of time to recover from the key rides, but providing I complete those, I am happy, other rides are a bonus( or hindrance) and I will will give the bonus ride a miss if I need the time for recovery

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It is a good read and advice on priority on consistency (a personal struggle of mine) is well taken.
Yet I still wonder how to resume your training plan after not having trained for several days due to sickness.
Do you pick up where you left of in your training plan? Or redo some the already finished training from just before you got sick ( to build up training stress again)?

I would appreciate the feedback, as my sinuses and throat are clearing up and energy levels are rising :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think you have made some excellent points here, Coach Mac. I have encountered this forum right on time, because lately I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by my day job, the balancing act of maintaining my personal and professional relationships, my military obligations, and my SUF training load. I have discovered over the past two weeks or so I was training, but I was not emotionally benefiting from the training. Apparently, I have been mentally fatigued. Subsequently, I ended up skipping training days more often than I usually would and fallen a bit off track of SUF training schedule. I think it is very important to remain present about your mental status regarding how you are dealing with the stressors of every day life in concert with the process of pushing your physical fitness with SUF. If you neglect the mind the body will fall; not only your enjoyment of training decrease but also you will begin to run yourself into the ground physically. I love how SUF incorporates mental fitness training session into their training programs to help us Sufferlandrians dial-in our mental-physical balancing act. Thanks, Coach Mac for sharing this forum with us d[^_^]b

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