Holiday Training Tips

It's possible to keep your training on track, even with holiday distractions. Here are some tips that have helped many runners maintain conditioning even with holiday temptations. You'd be surprised, but even very short workouts on maintenance days can maintain your fitness, relieve stress, inject more energy and allow you to feel better during holiday festivities.

Plan Ahead
Write your workouts on a calendar, for the entire holiday period. Just having a plan tends to result in more runs each week. By looking ahead, each day, you will become more focused and are more likely to make time for your scheduled runs or walks.

Pick quiet times
Family members tend to sleep later during the holidays. By getting up and out the door early, you can finish your workout done before others arise. Each day, look at the time periods that would be open for exercise.

Focus on the long ones
Endurance is the key to finishing your race with strength and power. Follow your program, ensuring that you get in the long runs. Depending upon the program, you will only have to run /walk longer every 14-21 days. If you have to go slower or take more walk breaks, do it. Your only mission is to “go the distance."

Release stress with a short run or walk
Practically everyone experiences stress during the holidays. By moving your legs you will improve your attitude, increase vitality, and feel better about yourself. Even a short session of 5-10 minutes can help you focus on priorities, on a busy day

Minimal training will maintain your adaptations
When you don't have much time, and you are scheduled for a “maintenance run or walk”, just go for 5 minutes. If you get out for 5 minutes you will probably continue for 10 or 15, which will maintain the adaptations in your feet and legs between the long runs.

Don't be obsessive about food
If you don't have the perfect diet during the holidays, you won't lose any fitness. While eating a lot of sugar /fat is not the best diet, you can burn it off as you exercise. If you tell yourself that you will never eat another holiday cookie, you'll probably be good until that day when there's no one around—and it's you and the cookies. If you sample and just taste foods that you like, many runners avoid deprivation binges later.

Stage social runs with friends/family
When you have folks gathering from other areas, schedule a walk or run together. This promotes sharing of lives, stories, while bestowing an attitude boost.

When the weather is not ideal
Get to the mall before the stores open and walk (or run if possible). This will give you a preview of the sale items, while you get in some exercise. Treadmills are a suitable substitute if the weather is austere. Some runners will warm up with indoor exercise, then run or walk outside for 5-10 minutes and continue to alternate out and in.