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During my time as a triathlete it became very clear to me that plans are just ideas written on paper. Don’t get me wrong, plans are great! I am an avid fan of extreme planning. Plans guide us, allow us to progress and help us reach our goals. However, plans are just that, plans. How things actually play out is often quite different, and that is okay.

The key to a great exercise program is not how thorough and detailed it is, rather that there is room for adaptability. Much like a financial plan, or a vacation itinerary, things come up. It rains (literally or figuratively), someone gets sick, you sprain your wrist and can’t work for a month. When it comes to exercise programming we need to be creative and ready to make changes as our lives and circumstances change.


If you are on a plan with a goal with a specific timeline, such as a race on a specific date, it is helpful to have at least two weeks of wiggle room when first creating your program to account for potential injuries, illness, or other factors that may take away from your training time. Alternatively, having backup races in mind is a great idea, especially if you are sick on race day, or have a funeral or other event come up.

For those with continuous training programs, such as a year-round weight lifting program, you may have periods of time where your work is busier or you take holiday time. Adjusting your program to align with your lifestyle is key, and may consist of changes to the frequency or duration of your workouts. As well, having a bodyweight routine can be a great option for during holidays!

Adapting our goals is a reasonable option as well. For example, I decided to focus on running this summer, instead of triathlon which is a greater time commitment. By adapting my goal I allowed myself to continue to enjoy training without it becoming overwhelming with my other commitments. You may also wish to increase your goal, if you are reaching your milestones and want a greater challenge.

Short term adaptations are a great tool, as well. Is it storming on your cycling day? Be prepared to do a spin class instead. Pool is closed because of a global pandemic? Let’s do a gym workout instead and swim twice next week. A key aspect in the programs I create is a weekly checklist of workouts to complete. The sessions can be completed on any day of the week, which is a great way to allow you to plan your sessions around other commitments.

When creating a program give yourself practical goals, adaptable timelines and brainstorm a few backup plans. By having an adaptable plan in place, you’ll be ready with solutions for issues that arise and will stay on track to reaching your goals!

I would love to hear your ideas on how you adapt when issues arise!

Simply leave a comment or send me an email at

Want help creating an adaptable plan?

Contact me for a personalized program.

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