Running through the Holidays

Running through the winter typically doesn't look this fun.

No matter where or what you celebrate arguably the busiest time of the year is right around the corner. Shopping, family, travel, crappy weather, and the least amount of daylight in the year are all packed together into one bigpresent with a bow on top.

Are you ready?

Christmas and The Holidays are already an extremely busytime of the year for the average person. But, when you throw a running schedule on top of that, the stress becomes even larger. Some of us have the luxury to have just run CIM or even The NYC Marathon and are currently taking some well-earned time off. But, as a large base of my clients do, many have big races they are training for this winter and Spring, like the Houston Half and Full Marathon.  These are just a few tips that will help you stickto a training plan through the next month of travel too and time surrounding family/friendgatherings.

  • Plan. Plan. Plan.

Get your schedule ahead of time from your coach. Figure out what you have going on and when. Figure out what you can and can’t miss. Should you miss you’re your child opening up presents for the first time on Christmas? Probably not. Is it ok to miss the 3 hours of the family sitting around watching football or cooking after opening presents? Probably. If you need to make adjustments to your schedule, that’s fine. But control what you can control. This will help reduce the stress of making things up on the fly and lets others know when you will and won’t be around at family parties.

  • Being polite but firm on what you need to do.

I know when I go home I have to deal a lot with people who don’t know understand the mind of a runner very well. Questions of “You need to go HOW far?!” and “Come on it’s Christmas, you don’t need to go run”. If you’ve made it this far into the blog, running is clearly something that’s important to you. You need to make it clear to others that it is too. Them encouraging you to drink too much, skip runs, or eat too many desserts, they are in fact unknowingly taking that away from you. Being polite and let them know that you need to take an hour to sneak in a run in the morning or that you shouldn’t have another drink because you have a big workout in the morning is something your family may not at first understand, but they will get as you show your dedication. Don’t let your Mother-In-Law boss youaround. Brownie points are always nice with the In-Law’s, but PR’s are even better!

  • Be flexible but disciplined.

Piggy-Backing off the last point of working with the busy schedule means having to be flexible to a certain extent with your schedule. But not so much that you stop doing what you need to do. Being flexible means that maybe you run in the afternoon instead of a busy morning. Being flexible means that maybe you have to get up really early and run a lot of boring loops in an unfamiliar neighborhood to get your miles in because the rest of the day is spent traveling. It might even mean youhave to take an unplanned day off. That’s all ok! But when your schedule changes you have to become flexible. But you must also be disciplined to make sure that you still make time to do it, and you stick to the schedule as best you can. Knowing this ahead of time can help you mentally prepare for all the times you feel too tired to get out the door or tempted to skip a core sessionor a workout.

Sometimes even the most miserably cold days turn out to have the best memories.

  • Be careful about getting sick!

Getting sick happens so often around the Holidays for a variety of reasons. It can be the added stress, being inside more often, less sleep, and coming into contact with a lot of other people. This means that sickness can spread quickly. Be cautious starting right now. The biggest thing that can derail training is a bad case of the flu or the cold. Make sure to focus on getting sleep, try to stay on top of things in order to avoid being stressed (which stress is an immune-suppressant), Make sure to keep drinking fluids even if you don’t feel yourself sweating, Wash your hands. let me repeat that again. Wash your hands! Being over the top cautious takes no more than just a few extra steps in order to make sure your body is ready to fight off whatever infections may come its way.

  • Be Grateful.

The Holidays are a crazy time of the year. Instead of focusing on all things that need to get done I would remind you to step back and think about how lucky we all are. We get to live in a country where we are free to celebrate however and with whomever. We as runners are fortunate enough to be able to do the simple act of running. Even through the worst of weather, there are those who wish they could do the same. An added bonus is that as runners we are able to enjoy the delicious holiday meals more than a non-runner can with our higher metabolism. No matter the size every gift we give is special as it means there is someone in our life that is close enough to us that we want to make happy and give them something they might enjoy. Please take the time to thank those In Law’s we might have slightly offended at a Holiday party, our spouses that allow us to chase after our goals, and our children that let you get out the door for your own peace of mind.

Running through the Holidays can be hard with all the different obligations on top of the normal ones as well. But if you’re diligent by being up front with those around you and letting them know what you need to do while being flexible and healthy. Great things are instore for you this coming winter and Spring. Running in the winter isn’t easy. But the ones that stick to it and make the most out of what they have will berewarded when the weather turns for the better.

Train Well,