It’s inevitable to miss a few days here and there. Illness, vacation, overtime at work… How do you make up for missed runs in your training program?

*This post is part of the January Newbie Runner Blog Series. Click the “Newbie” tag to read the posts and grab my New Runner Essentials ebook for free.*

I missed runs, now what?

How to Make up Missed Runs

I missed 1-2 days…

Benefit from the extra rest and move on! If you missed a key workout (like a tempo run), you can swap it with your next easy run day. If you have enough flexibility in your week to move things around – then go ahead, but don’t sacrifice a rest day in between workouts. You need those!

I missed 3-4 days…

You should still be able to jump back into your plan without too much trouble. If you’re feeling off, try for an easy run day. If you were just busy, you can do a key workout.

I missed runs, now what? I missed 5-7 days…

No matter what’s on the schedule, start with an easy run day. Ease in before jumping back into your training.

If you’re a new runner, do that week of missed workouts.

If you’re training for a marathon, the weeks are probably pretty similar and you can continue on without problem.

I missed more than a week…

It may take you about a week to get back on track to where you were. Do a few easy running days and see how you feel and make adjustments from there.

If you missed multiple weeks, you will need even more adjustments. It takes several weeks to lose significant fitness, but from experience, the first few runs are mentally difficult. Take walk breaks when needed.

Respect the power of momentum

Momentum is powerful. You run today, because mainly you ran all those other days before. If you haven’t run for 3 days, it’s pretty easy to keep that ball rolling, too. So pay attention! Don’t let skip days get out of hand.

Perfect plan adhesion isn’t the goal

Plans are just numbers written on paper without concern for life’s hiccups. Those numbers aren’t magical. If you miss a few of them, you will still be moving forward.

Don’t pile extra miles onto other runs. Don’t stack running days back to back.

Don’t risk injury for some numbers on paper.

Check out: 6 Tips for Getting Your Habits Back on Track

Did you ever get a perfect attendance award at school?