As soon as the calendar turns to December 1st and the holiday season hits, even the most dedicated of runners tend to fall off their training regimen. Instead of training, people’s agendas fill up with festive dinners, parties, and other social gatherings. As it’s nearly impossible to resist all temptations, here are five ways to keep oneself in check during the holidays and avoid having months of training go to waste over four weeks of indulgence.
1 – Make a schedule
By planning runs around work parties and other obligatory social gatherings, it’ll be less likely workouts get missed. Most get-togethers are planned ahead of time, so plan runs around them. Know there’s going to some rockin’ around the Christmas tree in the evening? Run in the morning. If a schedule is set, it’s easier to adhere to.
2 – Find a buddy
Having someone to be accountable to makes a big difference when staying on track with training at any time of the year. Whether it’s a colleague, a friend, or a training group, make sure you don’t leave them hanging! Use it as an opportunity to catch-up with out-of-town friends, or get an extra push in a workout. The camaraderie through the cold and dark days is invaluable.
3 – Up the intensity
Trying to get in long runs or high mileage during the winter isn’t always feasible. When commitments arise and only leave a short window of time to get a run in, up the intensity and get more bang for your buck. Doing a 30-45 minute fartlek or hill session will provide a fitness boost and be far more efficient than taking it easy for the same duration.
4 – Avoid temptation
When buffet tables become more common than sit-at-home meals, it’s easy to get eyes bigger than your stomach. Add in happy hours, and desserts galore, the calories can sneak in without you even noticing. There will always be a time to indulge, just try not to make it a habit. When options are aplenty, pick and choose, or find a dinner buddy to split treats with. That way you can indulge in twice the amount of treats, with half the guilt.
It’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year’s, it’s what you eat between New Year’s and Christmas – Vinnie Tortorich
5 – Cross-train
As the weather takes a turn for the worse, sometimes the conditions aren’t ideal for running. Use this as a way to fall back in love with spin classes, the pool, or the gym. These activities are great alternatives to the monotonous pavement pounding runners adore, but will help keep you in shape and avoid injury when the running mileage ramps up again.