Wes is a frequent reader and commenter, and he is not sure what to do after missing a long run. He has worked up to 14 miles, and skipped his 16 miler. His concern was whether he should stick to his scheduled 5 miler this next weekend, or whether he should make up the 16 miler even though that means he goes an extra 3 weeks before he gets to cut back at all (and that cut back is to 16 miles itself!) His long runs were scheduled to be 5 miles this weekend, then 18 miles, 20 miles, and back to 16 miles in four weeks.

Specific Advice

My suggestion to Wes is to just skip the run. He has already run 14 miles, so I would skip the 16 miler altogether and go straight to 18 when his schedule tells him to. If he had only run a top distance of 12 or less miles, then I would say replace the 18 with 16 or 17 miles, but I given his 14 miler I think that he will be fine.

More General Advice

That being said, I would not make a habit of skipping runs. If you miss multiple workouts in your schedule, then you will need to seriously rethink where in the program you are and make adjustments to your training plans going forward.

One workout missed, even a key workout, is not going to mess you up too much as long as you don’t go screwing around with everything else in your running program as a result. Call it a loss, move on, and you will not be too much the worse for wear.

When you skip multiple workouts, though, you will not have the fitness base that is assumed when you get to later stages of the program. You need to be able to get yourself to the point that you are supposed to be at, while still maintaining the proper rest that it is assumed that you are going to have at a given point.

The worst thing that you can do is to make up workouts at random. You will not give your body time to recuperate and will not be able to put forth the effort that you are supposed to when you are supposed to. This makes it difficult to peak at the right time for a race, as well.

Other Suggestions

Do you have any other suggestions for Wes? Head over to his site and let him know what you think that he should do to get back on track (or stay on track) as he builds up his mileage!