If you’re my age or older you probably have no clue what “FOMO” stands for. I will save you the Google search and tell you it’s an acronym for Fear Of Missing Out. The youngsters who created it have fears of missing out on things like parities, snapchat and whatever Taylor Swift may be up to. What I’m referring to is a race training plan and, because life happens every damn day, you sometimes have to great creative with it or even skip a workout entirely. Skipping a workout was hive inducing to me once upon a time. Here is how I got over it and how you can too.

FOMO

Fall means back to school for most people but, for runners it also means race season! I know many of you have big goals for fall marathons and half marathon and right now it’s crunch time. Unfortunately for all of us runners, September is also crunch time for a lot of things and some days, your training run has to be shuffled to the bottom of the list where it may ultimately fall off. Don’t worry and repeat after me: “I will run another day and still achieve my race goal!” Now keep saying it until you either believe it or fall asleep from exhaustion.

STEP ONE: PLAN FOR IT

Years ago, if I knew I had to miss a workout (which was rare) I would freak. I would text my coach and desperately try to shuffle my schedule around to accommodate whatever my session was, into the next day. Of course I already had something else planned for the next day but, I was sure I could handle at least three hours of training in one day, all in the name of not missing a workout. I wanted to cram it all in, at any cost because I foolishly thought that missing one or two workouts would blow my chance at reaching my race day goal. Talk about a total lack of confidence.

The advice my coach gave me then is there is no such thing as a “make-up” session. Just skip it. Move on. Her words totally blew my mind but that advice was some of the best I have ever received. Missed training days happen. Just move on to the next one. In fact, I now plan to miss training days. I no longer care if there are red sessions in my Training Peaks online schedule because it usually means I was doing something more amazing that day. Or not. But, whatever, it’s over and done with and tomorrow is another chance to get after it. It’s a great life lesson too.

See that swim in red? Skipped it. Moved on.

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Know what I was doing instead? This:

Kayaking with my son on Lake Bomoseen in Vermont. Bonus points if you know which twin it is.

Kayaking with my son on Lake Bomoseen in Vermont. Bonus points if you know which twin it is.

STEP TWO: YOUR FITNESS WILL NOT FAIL YOU

Remember what I said about confidence? Get some!

I just recently wrote an article for the fall edition of Women’s Running Magazine about coming back from an injury. In the process I discovered a lot of scientific research on how long it takes for you to lose fitness. Answer: a pretty damn long time. Missing one or two or even five workouts, will not derail your long term goals.

One of the best articles I found on the subject of fitness loss, was written by John Davis for Runner’s Connect. In How Long Does It Take to Lose Your Running Fitness, Davis shares these hopeful stats:

“Studies show that after two weeks of not running, VO2 max decreases by only 6%, after nine weeks it decreases 19% and after 11 weeks of no running, VO2 max only decreases by 25%.”

This is obviously a study done about returning to running after an illness or injury but I use it to show just how much wiggle room you truly have. That said, if you are gunning for a huge PR and have to miss more than a week or two of training at a critical time, you may need to tweak your goal.

STEP THREE: TRAIN FOR LIFE

The older I get the smarter I train. I can finally see the big picture and that every swim, bike or run is done with the ultimate goal of training for as long as I possibly can.

I saw the below video on Angela aka Happy Fit Mama’s blog a while ago. Of course I’m always interested in aging athletes and the advice I can glean from them. The below video, from Outside Online, is four minutes of the amazingness that is Ned Overend. At age 60 Overend is a champion cyclist and is crushing competitors a third of his age! A third! He could be their dad and he’s beating them. Ouch.

What struck me most on Overend’s 10 Commandments of Lifelong Fitness was number 8:

Stay Positive! “Sometimes I see people get depressed after a race with their results. [shakes head] That’s harsh. Racing is hard enough. You want to analyze it and figure our how out can improve from it and not be so hard on yourself.”

 

Other tips from Ned include keeping it fun, mixing it up and recovering harder than you train.

Imagine that.

Sounds like Ned has no FOMO and he is the 2015 Fat Bike National Champion.

workout-fail

Give yourself permission to skip a few training sessions. Have confidence in the training you have done and know that you’re doing the best you can. Fight your FOMO knowing your next workout will be right there waiting for you.

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Have you experienced FOMO for any reason? Be honest.

What is the last training session you skipped and why?