These tips will help you stay motivated through this busy time of year.
Running through the holidays can be challenging, yes, but it is possible. If you were to throw in the towel in December, you could lose as much as one-third of your current fitness level, which would mean starting the conditioning process almost all over again when you begin fully training.
The holidays are challenging for many reasons. Not only can they disrupt a regular schedule, but also they usually bring with them rich foods, excess alcohol and late nights. Some research even shows that the average person gains two kilograms during this time. The holidays often mean more stress, too, so we actually need our running outlet more than ever this time of year.Develop some flexible training tactics that can help keep you on track any time of the year when things get hectic. Work, travel, family and other obligations can affect our running any time, so it’s important for us to incorporate alternative training strategies for staying on the road even when things get crazy. Here are my nine best tips for running through the holidays and beyond.
1. Plan your runs for the week in advance.
Look at your schedule, see what works, and write your runs in your diary. Having them written down makes it much more likely to happen.
2. Focus on maintaining your current fitness level.
Rather than trying to improve your fitness during a busy or stressful time of the year, just make it a goal to keep your baseline of fitness. Running three days a week for 20 to 30 minutes will maintain your current fitness level and help relieve stress until you are able to resume a heavier training load. Another great option is to try keeping a streak going, where all you have to do is put in at least a kilometre a day.
3. Adapt your training to fit your schedule.
For example, shorten the length or duration of a run, alter the intensity, or change the frequency of your runs when necessary. When there is no time for a long run, speed up the pace for a short run. Or change up frequency when necessary, like run three to four times a week rather than five or six times a week, or, vice versa.
4. Go with the flow.
Runners tend to love routine, but this can sometimes be a stumbling block to training during hectic times of the year. Try running at different times of the day and in different places to help running better fit into your day.
5. Find a race.
There are races and fun runs of all distances available during this time. When travelling for work or the holidays, a race is a great way to get a run in, see the area, and participate in holiday festivities and check out the local running scene.
6. Look ahead.
Choose an event to target for the new year. Having a goal race on the calendar can help with motivation to run consistently through the holidays and other busy times of the year.
7. Make your run social.
Meet up with your running friends for a run before heading to happy hour. And during the holidays, you could plan a run through neighbourhoods with festive lights and decorations so you know there is something to see along the way.
8. Set a different goal.
Target something completely different, like a trail race, an obstacle course race, or a new distance to inspire you and help keep you out there when life gets challenging.
9. Team up.
If you’re looking to add structure, join a training program, a running club, or try an online program to help provide you with structure and a plan to follow.