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Lauren recently wrote me on facebook Is it bad to double up workouts if you skip a workout? Example: My tummy hurts today so I'm not swimming, is it bad to add that workout on top of my Saturday workout??
Like many of the questions posted here, the answer is "it depends." If we look at a typical triathlon training schedule, with training scheduled five to six days a week, it usually includes 2-3 swims, 2-3 bike sessions, and 2-3 run sessions each week. Some days we might have more that one workout scheduled already. But let's just consider a triathlete with one workout each day.
The decision to move a workout to another day should be evaluated by the following criteria:
  • Why you missed the workout in the first place
    • Were you sick?
    • Just too busy to fit in the workout?
  • The intensity and duration of the session missed
    • Is this a short/easy/recovery/drill workout or an intense interval session? Or a long endurance session?
  • The intensity and duration of the session on the next day or day you want to add the workout.
    • Again, is this is this a short/easy/recovery/drill workout or an intense interval session? Or a long endurance session?
For example, if a missed workout is a high-quality bike interval session and missed because you were not feeling well, and the next day you have a high-quality track workout scheduled, you should most likely not try to make up the bike workout. And hopefully you are recovered from whatever made you not feel well. (Your health is more important than a workout or two!)

In the case of Lauren, she missed a swim. With a swim session, there is usually less stress on the body so adding an easy to moderate swim to a day where you are also going for a ride would probably be fine, as long as the total volume for that day isn't too stressful for where you are in your training. 

Here's another example: say you missed an endurance run today because you had something unexpected come up at work. Tomorrow you have a bike ride on the schedule. You might just run 15 minutes off the bike to get in a brick workout. Trying to work in a bike AND the missed run might be too much training stress for one day (and too much time out of your busy schedule).

As you can see there are quite a few variables to consider. In general, it's usually not a problem to mix an easy workout on the same day of a more intense workout. But just make sure that one workout doesn't compromise the quality of the other. Often it
's best to just skip the missed workout completely and forget about it rather than trying to work it in on another day. Missing a day of training every so often will not hurt your progress, and in fact might even help if you are needing the recovery, as many age group triathletes are. Of course, if you are working with a coach for your training program, always consult them before doubling up any workouts or making workout modifications.

Coach Nicole is the author of The Triathlete's Guide to Race Week. She is also the founder and head coach for NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness, a Colorado-based endurance sport coaching company. She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach and also coaches triathlon for Team In Training. Learn more at http://neoendurancesports.com/. You can contact Coach Nicole with your questions for the Ask the Coach column on facebooktwitter or via email at nicole@neoendurancesports.com.

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