It’s that time of year again! Spending time with family and friends, hanging decorations, trying to figure out where another year went and best of all…holiday feasts! If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to hold back when it comes to all the amazing food (especially sweets!) that comes along with this time of year; I mean, we’ve got to enjoy ourselves right? But again, if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to let your training fall off as we close out another year. It gets dark earlier, it’s colder outside, we have holiday get-together after holiday get-together which ultimately translates into less time and/or desire to train. The best part of all this though, is we can still enjoy ourselves through the holiday season while keeping up on your training and being ready for a new year of running, racing, and fun!
One of my favorite ways to keep myself motivated to run through the holidays is to sign up for a couple fun holiday runs. Most areas always have at least one (usually many) Thanksgiving Day runs along with a couple more holiday themed runs throughout December. Signing up for a race is a great way to remind yourself that you need to keep up with your training. It’s also a great way to burn some extra calories before you go indulge in all the greatness that is a Thanksgiving dinner! Or burn off some extra calories after you’ve realized you ate way too much (but it was oh so worth it, right?!).
Setting a goal of how many miles and how much training you want to do at the beginning of each week is also a great idea. Write down your target mileage and put it on the fridge or by the door, post it on social media to hold yourself more accountable, tell your best friend or significant other and then get out there and get it done! We all love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing something we set out to do. You know what, reward yourself with that cupcake at your next holiday party.
As runners, one thing most (I’d say all but there’s always those extra crazy people out there) of us can agree on is that we hate the treadmill! Okay, hate may be a bit harsh… we strongly dislike the treadmill. I mean, if we have to do it, we have to do it, but we all love the fresh air and changing surroundings as we log our miles outside. Unfortunately, it gets dark EARLY which makes it a lot harder to get outside and get in those miles. Don’t be afraid to get a gym membership (if you don’t already have one) for the next couple months. Not only will this mean you don’t have to worry about how early it gets dark out but if you don’t like running in the cold, that problem is solved at the same time! Word of advice, find a gym that has cable so you can watch something you enjoy while you’re on the treadmill (hello, MLB Network!); it will make those miles fly by.
Just like your holiday parties and shindigs are scheduled for a certain day starting at a certain time, schedule your workouts or runs. Set aside an hour or two (or however much you need) each day to make sure you get in what you want to get done. If your friends want to hang out, schedule it for after the run that you already have on your schedule! Allotting a certain amount of time each day to train makes it much less likely that you will skip it; obviously things do and probably will come up from time to time; but missing one running session is a lot better than missing a whole week of running, right?
If you don’t think you have the will power to get through the holiday season on your own without falling off a bit, find a training/running buddy! If you have a friend (or friends) that will run and train with you, you’ll have a lot more fun and usually won’t even feel like you are working out. If you can’t make it to the gym or the trail at the same time, make it a competition; see who can run more miles each week or who can get in the best workouts. Make it fun!
So, get out there and get your training in! Set your goals, recruit your friends, and sign up for a couple holiday runs. But remember that life is all about balance! So, indulge in all the turkey and ham and cupcakes and pie. But most of all, enjoy this holiday season with all your loved ones. Happy Holidays!