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7 Tips for Training Through the Holidays

holidays running Dec 23, 2021

Life is already busy. It can be hard enough to fit in runs between jobs, chores and kids’ activities. Throw in the holidays, add in some travel and family obligations, mix everything together with a few celebratory, booze- and dessert-laden get-togethers, and it can be a veritable recipe for disaster. Suddenly, there’s even less time than usual, your normal routine is thrown out of whack, and the temptations are everywhere.


You’ve spent a lot of time building up your fitness base. So don’t let the holidays derail you. It may seem challenging, but it is possible. The key is often building in a little flexibility.


Here are seven tips to keep you running these next few weeks:


  • Schedule your runs


The days are shorter, the air is colder, and the distractions are plentiful. It can be hard to choose to run when there are so many other responsibilities calling your name. But if you schedule your weekly runs in advance — the same way you would any other meeting or appointment — you’re much more likely to get it done.


If possible, schedule your runs for the early morning hours, when the time can truly be your own. That way, your workout is in the books and over with before most people’s days have even begun.


  • Focus on maintaining (not necessarily improving)


As runners, we’re constantly focused on progress. Sometimes, though, (and especially during the holidays when you may not have a goal race coming up for awhile) it’s OK to refocus the goal to simply enjoyment. Run for running’s sake and to maintain your base, not necessarily to improve.


        3)   Find a holiday-themed race


These days, it’s hard to miss the signs around town or virtual events posted online for holiday-themed races. Whether it’s an eggnog jog, a jingle all the way 5K or a holiday lights run, your options are usually endless. Signing up for one of these races not only gets you up and moving, but it can also introduce you to a new local running scene if you’re traveling. Plus, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be fun.


  • Sign up for a spring race


Putting a spring race on the calendar is a great way to stay motivated. It can give you that push you need to maintain your base fitness level through the holiday season so you can jump-start your training in January. It can also help focus your mindset through the minefield of holiday temptations (e.g., “I’d better not eat that second piece of pie. My race training starts next week.”).

  • Cut it short


If you don’t have time for the six miles you want to get in, don’t throw in the towel completely. Just run what you have time to run. The miles you do run are more miles than you would have run if you simply bagged it for the day.


  • Make it social


If you’re with friends or family, see if anyone wants to join you on an evening jog past holiday lights. Target an area or neighborhood where you know there are plenty of lights, then hit the road. Keep the pace easy and the tone fun. That way you can talk and enjoy yourselves.


  • Let it go


If all else fails, take a page from Elsa’s book and just let it go. It’s not the end of the world if you miss a run (even a few runs) over the holidays. That’s what being a Real Life Runner is all about. Life happens, the holidays throw extra wrenches in our best-laid plans, and we have to prioritize what matters most.


Remember, though, running reduces stress. Sometimes sidelining the to-do list and fitting in a quick run will serve you better in the long term. Running can help clear your head, reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calm.


Also remember that something is always better than nothing. And, hey, you’re (literally) lapping those relatives on the couch.


Now get out there and run your life.


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