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Modifying Training Schedules Around Work

BY Hal Higdon

A little bit of training is better than no training, although sometimes when Real Life encounters Play Time we need to bow to the former.

Have a question about running? You’re in the right place. Every Tuesday, world-renowned coach, author and athlete Hal Higdon posts and answers athlete questions here. You can submit your question by joining the discussions on Hal Higdon’s Virtual Training Bulletin Boards.


Your training schedule this Sunday calls for a 12-mile run, which I will not be able to do as I will be working a trade show. The show, lasting Thursday through Sunday, requires me to be on my feet nine to ten hours each day. From past experience, I know I will finish each day exhausted. Not only will I be unable to complete that 12-mile run, doing any running during the show seems almost impossible. How do you recommend I modify this week’s training schedule?


I know exactly how you feel, since I experience the same problem when I appear at Expos before major marathons. It’s a lot of fun talking to so many runners on the eve of their races, but it can be draining as well. And if I’m running the next-day race, I need to forget any PR plans.

One option would be to front load your training for that week: move the 12-mile run back to Wednesday, the day before you depart for the trade show. The problem with that is it shoves too much mileage into too tight a time.

Ideally, you should have planned for this gap in your training two or three or more weeks out. That way either you or I could have been more creative moving workouts around, opening a gap of three or four rest days to coincide with your time at the trade show. I get the same questions from people about to depart on a ski vacation or a week visiting family out of town. Planning well in advance works best.

With or without this option, can you squeeze in a few workouts while at the trade show? This may be impossible if you awaken exhausted, not entirely from your time at the show but from your wind-down time with co-workers in the evenings. But a wake-up run of a few miles or some exercise at the hotel gym might actually serve as a warm-up for your hard day’s work.

Most important, be flexible. A little bit of training is better than no training, although sometimes when Real Life encounters Play Time we need to bow to the former.

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About Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for ‘Runner’s World‘ and author of 34 books, including the best-selling ‘Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide’. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that over a quarter of a million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks. Hal uses TrainingPeaks to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans — check out more of Hal Higdon’s training plans on his website.