missing a training session due to injury

Q “What if an injury forces me to skip training?”.

A: Start by getting an accurate diagnosis by a physician or licensed physiotherapist and get their professional opinion on how long your break should be. As with sickness, start by taking a very short run to see in what shape you are. If you feel any pain or suspect that the test session is going to delay your return, stop and walk home. In fact, you should keep the run short (max 10 min) and close to your starting point, a small loop is a good idea. In all cases, when resuming training, make sure you run on softer surfaces. Also, consider consulting an experienced coach to guide you through the remaining training period.

Scenario 1: If you have only missed one of your shorter sessions, take a test run. If that goes well, simply carry on with the program - you may not need to make any other alterations. Pay attention to how you feel, nonetheless, you may still need to reduce the total distance/time during the next long run. Seek softer surfaces if impact is a likely factor in the injury. Also, use pain as your guide - any pain at all and you should stop immediately.

Scenario 2: If you miss a longer run, you may need to reduce the next few long runs to avoid the risk of injury or overtraining.

Scenario 3: If you miss a session that includes harder training (zones 3 or higher), follow the advice in Scenario 1 first. Then consider reducing upcoming harder sessions (zone 3 or higher).

Scenario 4: If you miss a longer run and several training sessions, seriously consider reducing all training sessions (both total distance/time and distance/time in zones 3&4). You may need to alter a week or more to gradually work yourself back to your previous shape.

Scenario 5: If you miss more than a week’s worth of sessions, ask your physician or physiotherapist if you may substitute running with some cross training activity and if so, which activity would be appropriate. For example, cycling or aquarunning may be a great way to maintain fitness yet allowing an injury to heal. Our recommendation is that cross training sessions are as long as the skipped running sessions, and not any longer. Also, remember to be very careful when going back to running, you may feel fit but your body may need to be reminded of all the pounding with a few short runs first!

TIn any case, you will probably need to redefine event goals or choose a different event altogether. This is the case particularly if you’ve skipped more than a week of training. Keep in mind that missing on training early in the program (with more than 7 weeks left) may not have much significance. Just follow the advice given here and make sure you listen to your body.

Zone 1 = 50-60% of HRmax

Zone 2 = 60-70% of HR max

Zone 3 = 70-80% of HR max

Zone 4 = 80-90% of HR max

Zone 5 = 90-100% of HR max