Will I still improve if can only do 30 minutes run instead of 40?
One of my clients is going back to work soon and so will have less time to run, due to childcare and family. I changed the plan on a couple of relevant days from 40 minutes to 30 minutes.
The client was worried. They have been progressing really well, with a new 5K PB (set in a virtual race) and was worried that cutting those ten minutes off a couple of her runs would make them become a slower runner.
The good news is, no! They will still progress, get fitter and faster.
The way I explained it was that one of the most important things runners need to improve is consistency. If you are running a few days a week with a sensible plan, you’ll get faster. If you cut down those minutes a little, you’ll still get faster, but the rate of improvement might be a tiny bit less. It will still be better than not running and sitting on the sofa. It’s not those ten little minutes that are making them improve! It’s going out a few days a week consistently for many months in a row.
Stepping back and looking at the overall picture, I also explained how overall, her weekly duration hadn’t dropped, because her long run was slightly longer in this training cycle.
As long as you are out there running regularly, gradually increasing in a sensible way, and getting enough recovery to avoid getting injured, then you’ll improve.
Will I stop improving if I have to skip a day?
Runner’s guilt! The plan said I have to do a 45 minute run today, but I’m not able to. Will it impact my overall performance?
Again, no! Perhaps you are too tired to run due to not sleeping properly. Or some other reason why you can’t do a run today. Whatever the reason, don’t worry about it. As long as it’s not a regular thing, your fitness won’t be impacted. Remember it’s about consistency. Missing one run isn’t going to make any difference over the course of 4 weeks. And if the body is saying it’s not ready to run, then missing the run can be viewed as a 100% successful session. You did the right thing.