Altogether I lost 12 days due to illness, travel, and travel-based-exacerbation of said illness. Technically it was 10 training days as two of those were planned “off days”. I went out for 4 miles today and even though I still occasionally have minor coughing fits I think I’m ready to come back. But how does one come back after missing a huge chunk of a training schedule?
Hansons Half Marathon Method says this about missing 7 to 10 days:
Taking a week and a half off from running definitely necessitates serious schedule modification; however, that modification depends on the point in the plan at which the missed block occurs. If it occurs before the strength portion of the training program, then the runner won’t have to make any major adjustments to race goals…
Upon your return to running, you should run easy for the same number of days that you missed. If you lost a week, then run easy for a week. After that, go back to the last training week that you were able to complete and repeat it, then run the week that was originally missed, and from there pick the schedule back up. So, with a week missed, it takes 3 weeks to get back on track.Hansons Half Marathon Method, Ch. 5, “Program Modifications”, (emphasis mine)
This calculation doesn’t make sense for real racing scenarios. I mean, yes, ideally I would complete the whole plan. And it makes sense that I wouldn’t just pick up where I left off; rather, I should back-track a bit and work back to where I stopped. But this presupposes that I have a flexible race date, that I can just push my half marathon off by a few weeks while I safely catch up to where I should be. Races don’t work that way, especially those with hefty pre-registration fees.
When I started down this path, I got really lucky that I had exactly 18 weeks between when I was planning and the race in question. I literally laid it out in a grid:
It doesn’t feel like I have 3 weeks to play with here. I also wonder if the Hanson’s advice in this case is focused more on the case of injury and how to prevent re-injury. It’s not quite the same as an illness (I’m not likely to relapse on a sinus infection while still being on antibiotics… right?). On the other hand, picking up where I should be in the schedule as if I didn’t miss 10 training days doesn’t feel right either.
So, here’s my compromise: I’ll pick up where I left off in the schedule, but I’ll drop back the intensity, essentially scaling back my race goal for 2-3 weeks of recovery. Depending on how that goes, I may readjust my race goal again. Practically, this means that this week I’m still on week 7 of the Hanson’s plan. At the same time, I’ll adjust my paces for runs as if I’m targeting a half marathon that’s 2 or 3 minutes slower.
What do you think? Is this the right approach? Or am I missing another strategy that would be safer given that I’m coming off of being ill?