While you may feel like the only running you’ll have time to do over the holidays is from store to store or maybe away from your crazy in-laws, it’s worth it to find time to stick to a regular running schedule. Whether you’ve got spring races on the horizon or are just running to keep fit, the busy-ness of the holidays is no good reason to abandon your training.
Every Little Bit Counts
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your short run doesn’t count. Even if you find yourself with a spare half hour somewhere, lacing up your shoes is worth it. Miles are miles and just getting out for a little can keep you in the mindset of a runner. Maybe those stale cookies won’t be so tempting if you remember that you’re training. Also remember that adding intensity with intervals or hills can help take even the shortest of runs from lame to wow.
Think of It As An Escape
Even though the holidays are filled with happy things, crazy relatives, big bills, and a busy schedule can be stressful. A run might be the only time you get to yourself—enjoy it. Remember that when you take care of yourself, you can do a better job of taking care of everything else in your life. Think of your run as a chance to get away for a while and recharge so you can tackle all the other things—fun or stressful—that you’ve got on the agenda this month!
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Think about January
Taking time off to rest and recover is important, but forgetting about your goals for a few weeks every December will only leave you disappointed with yourself come January. Rather than giving yourself a reason to need a New Year’s resolution, why not aim to at least maintain your fitness through the holidays so you can start from somewhere where you feel good come more serious training in the new year? Your legs and your ego will thank you if you focus on keeping some quality training on your schedule this month. Keep yourself in check by registering for a New Year’s Eve Midnight Run.
Use It As a Social Event
While parties this time of year are fun, the sheer volume of holiday get-togethers can be overwhelming. Chances are, fellow runners would jump at the idea of getting everyone together for a group run in lieu of yet another tacky sweater party or cocktail party.
Help Balance Out Some of Your Indulgences
Though it would be dangerous to use running as justification for indulging, especially with all the treats of the season tempting you, it’s comforting to know that if you’re going to eat your favorite cookies or enjoy some eggnog this month you’ll at least have running to balance some of it out. There’s no shame in being glad that your run will burn off some cookies, but be careful of the “I ran, so I deserve to eat whatever” mindset that so many runners fall into. While no one would suggest you forgo all your favorite seasonal treats, keep in mind that even regular runs can’t take the place of healthy moderation when it comes to eating. Check out some of our fantastic and healthy recipes.
A final word… though there are times where skipping your run is necessary (a blizzard, perhaps, or maybe if it would interfere with an event that comes only once a year), most of us could find time to get out if we made running more of a priority. If you start putting your training first, chances are you’ll still manage to get everyone gifts, send out your cards in time, and make it to all the functions you promised you would. On top of making it through the holidays in a better mood, you’ll set yourself up to start the New Year off on the right foot!
About the Author: Cheryl Madliger is a group fitness instructor at the Western Student Recreation Centre at the University of Western Ontario, where she is working towards her degree in Kinesiology. An avid cyclist, Cheryl has set her sights on completing an Ironman. Not a fan of free time, she also enjoys yoga, baking, and blogging.