WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CAN’T DO THE WORKOUTS AS PRESCRIBED
1. IF YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME FOR THE FULL WORKOUT
If you’re short for time, then the most important thing is to get the listed intervals for a workout completed. That means you should do all the intervals but reduce any lower intensity work as much as possible (without compromising your recovery between intervals). So, for example, if you have a 2-hour endurance session scheduled with 5 high-intensity intervals, you can reduce the endurance part as much as needed as long as you keep the five intervals. If you do that and still don’t have enough time, it’s okay to remove a few intervals if it means you can still get some intensity work in.
Alternatively, you can swap the day’s session with a shorter session from the day before (if you’re planning in advance) or tomorrow’s workout assuming one of those sessions is an easier, low-intensity session.
2. IF YOU CAN’T HIT YOUR NUMBERS
Sometimes you don’t feel great during a workout and you’re really struggling to do the intervals. When that’s the case, here is how to handle your workout.
3. IF YOU GET SICK
If the symptoms are only above the neck (e.g., sinus pressure, runny nose, sore throat), then it’s okay to do low-intensity exercise (i.e. a recovery ride or a recovery yoga session). Easy physical activity can actually boost your immune system.
If the symptoms are below the neck (e.g., chest cough, any GI distress, breathing issues), then take all the time you usually spend on training to get more sleep! And make sure you stay on top of your fluid intake.
It’s often better to take several days fully off and get back to 100% in 3 days rather than limp along at 75% for a full week.
4. IF YOU MISS A WORKOUT
Don’t worry — everything you need to know about that is right here.
5. IF YOU’RE TOO TIRED TO FINISH A HARD TRAINING BLOCK
It’s always okay to start a rest week early! This is where paying attention to trends in heart rate can be valuable. A heart rate that is slow to rise does not go as high as normal, and is then slow to drop down are sure signs of deep fatigue. Though fatigue is a necessary part of training, it’s also a sign that you will need to take a few days easy soon. If you have one or two workouts left before a rest week you can see about pushing through using RPE. If you still have a full week of training left to go and just can’t bear it, then you will be better off taking a few days fully off and then finish off the last bit of your block.
When you do get this fatigued, it’s worthwhile looking at why it’s happened. If family or life stress has been higher than normal, or your nutrition and sleep quality have taken a dive, those can be culprits. Sometimes you can do something about those issues and other times you can’t. Just remember, all stress is stress—so be mentally prepared for your on-the-bike performance to take a bit of a hit if things in other areas of life get extra stressful. This is not the time to panic and add MORE stress to your life because training isn’t going perfectly. Work on improving/changing/fixing whatever you can in other areas of your life to reduce stress and the good feelings on the bike will return.
6. IF YOU MISS A WEEK OR MORE
What do to in this situation depends on why you missed so much time.
- Life/work stress or sickness? Just dive back in wherever you are now supposed to be.
- Did you ride but didn’t follow the plan? Then pick up the plan as it is unless this was during a recovery week and you went hard instead. In that case, you need to do a rest week and then get back on the plan wherever it is on the schedule.