How do you feel about running through the festive period? Maybe you’ve got some time off work and plan to run more. Maybe you’ll just be so busy with commitments that you can’t see how you’ll fit any running in. Cold weather and short days can add an extra barrier to running too. Those who have already started training plans for early spring marathons might feel some pressure to keep up the miles. Often the desire to go out is there but the time and opportunity isn’t.
I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve done virtually no running through Christmas and the New Year and I’ve also had festive times where I’ve run nearly every day. There are benefits to both!
Here are my top tips for festive running if you want to keep it up:
Go early. There’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying a day of Christmas cheer when you’ve already ticked off your run. Sometimes the only way to do this is to get up early and head out of the door before you realise what you’re doing and sometimes before anyone else has got up.
Find an event. Sign yourself up for something. A pudding run or a Santa dash. Just having something that you’ve paid for and committed to will give you some extra motivation and there’s the fun element too.
Grab a friend. With most people having some days off work, this might be the perfect opportunity to run with someone you don’t normally get the chance to. Even better if it’s someone who finds this time of year tricky or is struggling with their mental health. You’ll both benefit.
Get to parkrun. We now have a family tradition of doing parkrun on Christmas Day. It’s such a great way to start the day, we all get some fresh air, the dog gets a run and there’s an extra special atmosphere of fun and community. Of course, there’s the New Year parkrun too so that’s already two 5ks to keep things ticking over.
Be creative. Don’t worry if you can’t fit in your long runs. Just put in some extra effort on shorter ones. Throw in some hill repeats or intervals or just crank up the speed a bit. What about a quick strength session? Mixing things up like this will give a boost to your fitness that you’ll be glad of next year. Even 15 minutes can give you gains and clear your head too.
Look after yourself. Get the self care right. Running on a hangover isn’t a great plan. I wrote about this last year. It’s almost always better to postpone. Similarly, running too close to a large meal can cause havoc with stitches and runner’s trots. Your usual patterns and habits can get messed up so don’t forget the simple things like warming up and cooling down and throwing in a few stretches too.
Chill out. A couple of weeks off is not going to destroy all your hard work. If you want to stop running or cut right back and just enjoy some time off with friends and family then go for it. Don’t feel guilty. There are many more running days ahead.
Let me know what your running plans are. Is it going to be a struggle to find time to run? Is it a yes to keeping up your usual habits or a no thanks, time off for you? I’d love to know.
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Whether you run or not I hope you have a lovely holiday time!
Featured image: Manfredrichter at Pixabay
My coach currently has me doing a 4.5 hr trail run on Xmas day! To be fair I think she expects me to move it around to suit. Generally I’ll be running throughout, have a race on 8th Jan.
That’s a long ‘un for Christmas Day Mind you, I think a good long time out of my house could be quite nice. Maybe they’ll all cook the dinner! Good luck for your race!