Just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean your training should suffer. In fact, there are numerous ways to keep on your training schedule, hit your miles and be ready for your goal race. Sure, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, there are parties almost every weekend, football games, family gatherings and dinners out because of late-night shopping. The good news is you can do all of these things, and still be true to yourself.
Did you know, if you were to stop training during the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, you could lose as much as one-third of your fitness level? Well, here are some tips to make sure that doesn’t happen:
1. Plan your week in advance
Look at your schedule – work, kid’s activities, family events, etc. – a see when you have time available. Write down your running days and the mileage or length of time you want to run. If it seems like there is no time, then create it. Take a 30 minute run before everyone wakes up, or after they go to sleep. Adapt your training to fit your schedule – shorten the lengths, change the intensity, or alter the frequency.
2. Set small goals
Much like above, set a weekly goal and write it next to your fitness plan. I want to run XX miles this week, or I want to lost XX pounds this week. Stay true to yourself, and don’t make lofty goals or you will use it as an out to stop training.
3. Focus on maintaining your base
If you don’t have a big race you are training for, rather than trying to improve your fitness during the busy and stressful holiday season, make your goal to keep your base. That way, when you begin training for your next goal race, you are ready to hit the ground running (pun intended). Running three days per week for 30 minutes not only maintains your current fitness level, but also helps relieve some of the holiday stress.
4. Register for a holiday race
Need an extra goal on your calendar to keep fit? Sign up for a holiday 5K or 10K, better yet, sign up the whole family and make it a holiday tradition. There are tons of races during the holiday season, and many of the proceeds go to great causes. If you are traveling, register for a race at your destination. It’s a great way to see the area and check out the local running scene.
5. Have fun
Keep your training fun, after all its one of the reasons we all keep running. Meet up with a group of friends and have a social run. Or, run through neighborhoods and take in all the holiday lights and decorations. If you have kids who are on winter break, take them out with you. Have them pace you with their bike or even run a couple miles with you. They’ll enjoy it as much as you do.
The holidays bring on many challenges to staying fit. Schedule disruptions, food, drinks, and late nights can hamper your training schedule. However, by staying flexible with your schedule, setting small goals and putting in some effort, you can keep your fitness going and even encourage your family to join in. At the same time, you’ll be able to enjoy the best parts of the holidays – Family, Friends, Food, and Fun.