Surviving Busy Times

Something is Often Better Than Nothing

Some days you’re simply going to run out of time to do a workout that you had planned to do. When this happens, it’s easy to get frustrated and lose your focus. For most of us, our time management requires us to balance family demands and work schedules, at a minimum, ahead of our training schedules and workout goals. Even full-time professional athletes have time demands that make getting in their planned training workouts done on schedule nearly impossible. Regardless of what causes you to not be able to get in a given workout, there are a couple of things that you can do to minimize any negative effects of not completing your schedule sessions.

#1 - Look at the big picture/perspective. Missing a training session or two every few weeks is not going to be a disaster. While we love to be able to hit 100% of our training goals, I often find that folks who hit 80% of their training do better than those who hit 100% - because those who hit 100% often neglect things that can sneak up and cause bigger disruptions in their training down the line.

#2 - Salvage what you can. In many cases, a planned hour for a training session gets reduced to just 15 or 20 minutes. In those cases, I recommend just doing an easy spin or doing the warm-up of a workout rather than doing nothing or trying to do the most possible in the shortened time. I’ve done “workouts” as short as 5 minutes in some cases - just moving for a few minutes almost always makes me feel better than doing nothing.

#3 - Relax and reset. If you’re short on time and stressed out, spending a few minutes doing some relaxation exercises or meditation can be a much better use of your time and help you gain some perspective and improve your mental skills of dealing with challenges and setbacks. As I often say, the ability to focus is important - but the capacity to adapt is critical to success over the long term.

#4 - Time moves forward. Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of trying to “make up” missed training sessions. There are some cases when you can substitute a previously missed session for another session in a training plan, but we generally don’t recommend trying to “catchup” and stack extra sessions in the future. Remember, you likely missed that session for an important reason…and time just moves forward. As you should as well!

You can also check out a couple of other related articles about missed sessions here: and some ideas about surviving the holidays here:

In summary remember: perspective, salvage, relax and move forward!


Good points and a nice reminder going into the holidays. Thanks.

On a similar note, occasionally I’ll have the time but not the mental fortitude to do a really tough workout and I’ll just “let” myself do the easiest ride possible …better to ride easy than not at all. This isn’t allowed to become a pattern, though!

Happy holidays to all!


Thanks for the information!

Quite good timing for me as I am supposed to have 9 Hammers tomorrow and I don’t think I will have time to fit the session in, so I am taking point 4 on board and moving on :grin:

Everyone loves @Coach.Neal.H


Thanks @Coach.Neal.H. Just what I needed to read!

Good point - there is nothing like the holidays to test ones ability to adapt!

1 Like

Thanks @Coach.Neal.H!

This tid-bit of wisdom and knowledge came at a great time! I am going into the last week of my 12 wk all road plan and I have to admit I am a bit jaded and ready for some time off the bike as I chose to do this periodized block right after the outdoor season to try and maximize on the benefits I gained from riding outdoors over the summer months. Well I think it worked going off of my HM numbers at the moment but the real story happens Sunday; as time only moves forward! :wink:

1 Like

hahah - if you are low on time, just do hammers 8 and 9… over and over and over and over…

1 Like

Just what I needed. Missed two days last week - monster hours and some stress added in. No point in trying to get them back, look forward now.


There’s an idea for GVA for a new video in the new year!

Something you have tried in the past? Haha


The timing for this post is perfect. I have a small medical procedure tomorrow (nothing serious), but I know I’ll miss tomorrow’s workout and possibly Thursday and Friday, depending on how I feel. I was already fretting a little about this, but you really put it perspective. Thanks, @Coach.Neal.H.

1 Like

Thanks for this @Coach.Neal.H I often feel bad if I need to miss a programmed workout but acknowledge that sometimes life / a rest if you’re under the weather is more important!!

Merry Christmas! Not long to the ToS 2021!! :grin:

1 Like

A timely post, thank you coach Neal. A training plan assumes a level playing field .If the demands of the day drain your energy or time, a hard training session will bring you a step closer to illness or injury. Your body does not respond the same way. For most of the year I am 100% complaint. I guess that explains why I do not ride as well as those on 80% , but retired riders can do that (smile)

1 Like

Hello there,
just one question to @Coach.Neal.H concerning #2 above:
I often can’t do all the workouts in a plan due to time constaints (the usual work-family-other things-stuff), so often I find myself swapping a 60 min session (let’s say The Chores, e.g.) for a 30 min one (like Joyride, The Cure, Cash register, Half is easy etc).
Would you recommend that over doing just 30 min of the originally planned workout? Or should I stick with the plan and do as much as I can?

Hi @Sir_Sebastian - switching to a 30-minute session (like the ones you mentioned) is a pretty good adjustment in most cases. I’d just look at the 4DP Star rankings for the planned workout versus the substitute work to help evaluate. In other cases, just getting in Open :30, Recharger, or Recovery spin can also be a good choice if it’s a combination of stress, fatigue, etc. resulting in the reduced time available. Happy riding!