It Is OKAY to Miss a Run

What do I do if I miss a run during training

As hard as I try, I have never completed a training plan 100%. I usually miss 2-4 runs throughout the 12-16 weeks I am training. 

I try my hardest to get in all of my runs, but sometimes it is not possible. I use to feel real guilty about missing a run and would actually get frustrated with myself.

My first go around at marathon training I actually missed a 20 miler. Guess what? I still finished the race.

Long runs are vitally important to training, so don’t try to miss them- but know you will survive if you absolutely have to.

I am starting week 4 of my current marathon training and until Saturday I had not missed one run. I went out for a simple 4 miler Saturday morning and my legs were just too tired to run. I knew if I tried to continue it would be a terrible run, so I stopped and ended up walking a bit and then returned home. I was set to run 10 miles yesterday, but I was up late the night before at a wedding, and then by the time I got up Sunday I went to the lake with some friends.

That is okay.

I am going to make up my 10 miler tonight once it cools down a bit, and as for the 4 miler I missed? I won’t make that up.

Please follow these tips if you happen to miss a run:

1. Do not try to make up a missed run or fit it in during the week. If you try to fit in a missed run during the week you may end up hurting yourself by negatively interfering with your rest day. Rest days are there for a reason and your body needs them to repair any muscle fibers or tissues that may have torn during a run. Just take a deep breath and relax.

I have also learned that weekly mileage is not as important as the quality of each run. You want to focus on each run and make sure you are giving it your best, instead of tacking on extra miles to make up for a run.

2. Calm down. I have had my fair share of freak outs when I have missed a run. Through my years of training I have learned that the race goes on, and I do just fine having missed a few runs. Having missed one run that I know I can’t make up for is okay! Instead, squeeze in some extra core work or strength training.

3. Physically you will be fine. Missing one or two runs will not hinder your fitness. You need to trust in your training and you will be okay. Missing one 4 mile run is not going to cause me to not finish the marathon.

I know it can be stressful to miss a run but chances are you will be just fine. If you have something planned for the weekend try getting your longer run in a day before or a day after- just make sure a long run is not too close to another taxing run (such as speed work or hills). You want to make sure your body still has time to rest.

7 thoughts on “It Is OKAY to Miss a Run

  1. I had to skip a long run during my half- marathon training to let an injury heal (and to keep it from getting worse) and my long run the week after that ending up being my best long run ever! I think it is so important to remember that the “rest” part of a training program is just as important running! Thanks for sharing your experience…I am currently training for my first full and my training schedule has me a little stressed 🙂


  2. Thanks for this. I needed a little reassurance after spending the weekend at my brothers wedding and missing my 18 mile training run. I keep telling myself to just chill the heck out. Running seems a little cultish at times! Healthy mind control. At least I know that there are others ‘out there’ that have lives outside of running!

    • Elaine,

      First off, I hope you had a good time at the wedding!
      Secondly- I totally know what you mean by seeming “cultish”! I love running, but I have very few friends who fun so I often feel like a nut when I would rather go to bed early on a weekend night so I can get up and run!

  3. Hey there.. I’m training for my first marathon and I have done fairly well at getting in my runs, maybe not in the correct order but the miles have been logged. HOWEVER , I missed my 18 mile run this weekend. My last long run was 12 and my longest has been 16. The 16 mile was a struggle mentally more than physically. I’m freaking out about what to do. Should I skip it all together and replace my 14 miler with the 18 this weekend and he following is 20 and start tapering. Or should I try to split up the 18 in 2 days and run everyday this week but one ? Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Brittany,

      Oh, I have so been there! Splitting up your 18 miler into two days won’t help- as you need to run for the endurance. However, do not replace your 14 miler this week with the 18. Instead, meet in the middle and aim for 16. You said your 16 miler was a struggle mentally, I have been there too many times! It is so frustrating. One thing that really helps me is to break my run into smaller runs. For example, you could bring your 16 miler into two 5-mile loops, and two 3-mile loops. That way you get a drink/fuel break every 3-5 miles, and I mentally tell myself “Oh, I just have a five mile run, that’s doable!” For me, it is all about mind games. The main thing is to not cram too many miles into your week, as that’ll lead to an overuse injury, as well as mental health issues! I hope this helps. Let me know how your long run goes!

      • Ok thanks so much for your advice. I’m worrying myself over it. Just to be clear I’m doing the Hal higdon program. Since Saturday was my rest day and yesterday was my long run today is suppose to be cross training. Should I continue with that? And since I’m doing the 16 that will send me to 20 and no 18 miler. Sorry for the uncertainty I just want to have a succeful (in my mind) experience and running is all mental for me. I was never a runner but started a weight loss journey 6-7 years ago and lost over 100lbs. I started running about 2 years into and have been every since. Thanks again !

        • Whoah, so sorry this is so late! You always want to do something light after a long run. How did you long run go, mentally? In all of my marathon trainings, I have always missed a long run! Sometimes we just cannot control it. As long as you get in 2-3 long runs (16+ miles), you’ll be okay.

          For me, the mental side of running is the hardest, especially during long runs!

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