There are so many things to consider this time of year, quality time with family and friends, stressful planning and shopping, frigid temperatures and of course, Happy Holidays. One of my favorites though…the gluttony. What else would the hours and miles logged running and working out be good for, but to indulge in holiday feasting?
Alright, so maybe that’s not the top goal for training, however it is a nice perk. The opportunity to enjoy time with a variety of friends and family, at various dinners, and the multitude of food you can choose from is uncanny. Of course you have the staples, stuffing, vegetables, turkey, ham, whatever it might be but then comes the creativity. A pumpkin pie with pecans on top, sounds delectable. Kibbeyeh and grape leaves to honor your heritage, sign me up. One deep-fried turkey and another smoked turkey, delicious just doesn’t seem to describe what that sounds like.
So how do we get through the holidays and not completely ruin our training? Here’s a start, a list that will turn those looming, guilt-ridden dinners into enjoyable feasts of indulgence.
1. Continue your training.
This may sound like an obvious one, or you may respond with, “Are you out of your mind?!” Either way it’s the most important one. Maintaining your training workout may be difficult with the time crunch of the holidays, but sticking to it will pay back dividends after. One huge key to achieving this is being flexible. If you don’t have time for an hour run, make it a quick 20-30 minute interval run. This is also a great time to try something new. Check out that 30 minute ab class at your gym or find a 20 minute full body workout to do in your home.
2. Go to bed early…and hit the morning running, literally
Your body needs rest. It’s really that simple. Set limits and stick to them. Make a bedtime that you need to be in bed BY, not when you start going to bed. This way you can hold yourself accountable. Being refreshed the next day can seem like magic when tackling the stress of the holidays especially when you planned an early morning run but have to bump it to an after work gym session. Make yourself stop everything, write down what you need to do the next day and get to bed.
3. Manage stress.
Don’t sell yourself short. You’ve already accomplished maintaining your workouts, even if they’re modified, and you’re consistently getting in bed at a set time. Stress is the next one to simplify and conquer. You need to make your own decisions and stick to your own schedule. Sounds a little selfish but it makes you a happy person and everyone understands that you have a lot of commitments this time of year because they do too. Staying 15 minutes later than you have planned for a party can make you late for a dinner which creates undue stress. Plan out your schedule and be stern when you need to, you’ll be glad you did.
4. Sign-up for the Turkey Trots and Santa Runs.
Not everyone feels this way, but running is fun enough without the added themes of today’s races. That being said, theme runs make it that much more enjoyable. Dressing up like a turkey or Santa Claus and running a few miles, what could be better? There’s no need to worry about time or intervals or your splits, zip up the suit and have some fun. You also have a goal to accomplish which will help keep your training focused. This can also be a great family event that helps relieve some stress. It doesn’t matter if you walk or run these races, everyone can get involved.
5. Make your tough training day, the day of the feast.
I love doing this. Waking up early, grabbing a quick bite and then heading out for a long run. A quick snack right after to replenish, shower and the day’s work is underway. You don’t feel hungry until 1-2 hours after your run which is right about the time the appetizers are being set out. Your body makes quick work of those and your stomach is growling for the main course. The body needs to refuel and what better way to do it than the carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients in the holiday dinner. You may even find something you’ve been lacking and your body then gets a taste for it. A win-win.