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Coaches Blog

The “What If” of Training

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Your training plan is loaded for the week. You’ve reviewed it, and you’re ready to execute your training each day. So what happens if there are snafus in the plan? I’m addressing the snafus like illness, weather, and no facilities.


If you’re a coached athlete, contact your coach, preferably sooner than later, to discuss your symptoms, and your coach can make any appropriate changes to your training plan. Your health is always forefront of your coach’s mind, so they will address health first, then your training plan.

One of the hardest comments for a coach to read is, “I have a really bad (insert sickness here), but I was able to push through and finish my swim/bike/run.” Being really sick while training is miserable for starters, but continuing to train as normal could actually cause more harm than good.


SAFETY ALWAYS COMES FIRST. There are days when it snows, rains, hails, and the wind blows hard. If, for example, you have an outside ride planned and there’s a wintry mix on the ground or coming down, riding SAFELY is an issue. There are a couple of ways to handle this.

First, you can always turn this into an indoor ride if you have a bike trainer. The second option is to move the outdoor session to another day when you can ride outside safely. This is all dependent on how you (or your coach) have structured your week. If you have a coach, chat with them and see if your calendar can be juggled a bit to keep that outdoor ride in your plan or if you need to keep the ride in place and modify it to ride indoors (and whether you keep the structure of the ride or go to an endurance ride).

If you’re self-coached, you can restructure your week as you best see fit. If you don’t have an indoor trainer, the week needs to be restructured to get that ride in when weather permits. This same logic can also apply to swimming and running: open water swims can be converted to the pool, and outdoor runs can be converted to treadmill runs.

No facilities:

No facilities are partially covered above - ride the trainer, run on a treadmill, swim indoors/outdoors. But what happens if your power goes out or if your Internet connection is down? Let’s use a bike example. It’s not like you can drag your Wahoo Kickr and bike down to the local coffee shop or library to get your scheduled Zwift ride done.

If you’re a coached athlete, reach out to your coach to see if they can rearrange your training on the spot. If they can rearrange your week, GREAT! If not, you may have to do the session on your bike trainer, but without the Zwift app. If that’s the case, ask if an endurance ride will be acceptable. As a coach, I’m always ok with that. I’ll caveat with: if you’re in a peak week of training, you’ll need your coach’s help to rearrange your plan.

The important thing to remember is that while issues like this are rare, they DO HAPPEN! Be prepared to adjust at the last minute. These issues help you prepare for race day when things rarely go exactly as planned!

Happy Training!


Maria Netherland is a Northwest Florida-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Endurance and Youth & Juniors Certified Coach as well as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist. Coach Maria loves working for athletes of all abilities, military athletes, and new triathletes as they pursue their goals. Maria is a veteran of the US Army and a United States Military Academy at West Point graduate. She can be reached at


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