How to Avoid the Holiday Running Slump
Although the temptation may be there to hang up your shoes for the festive season, it’s not a good idea – running relieves stress and wards off holiday weight gain. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the minimal effort it takes to maintain your fitness level during one of the most stressful times of the year. Here are our best tips for the holiday season.
Schedule your runs
Block off time to run and treat it like any other appointment. Use your smartphone’s calendar or commit to a basic routine in order to hold yourself accountable throughout December and into the new year.
Revise your running goals
Run to maintain your current level of fitness. “Keep in the habit,” says 37-year runner and Running Room regional manager Phil Marsh. “You don’t need to do the full routine. This time of year, it’s a matter of doing something to keep moving.” Shorten runs when needed and dial up the intensity to compensate. You’ll reap the same stress-relieving and cold-and-f lu-busting benefits. No time? Marsh says to at least keep up on your core exercises, which will help to keep physiotherapy visits at bay.
Don’t deprive yourself. Know what you can’t live without, indulge sensibly and make cuts elsewhere. Graze on vegetables and whole grain crackers instead of phyllo pastries and cakes. Try to choose lean proteins like turkey and smoked salmon over processed meats. Marsh doesn’t have a big problem with people putting on a few pounds. “There’s nothing wrong with having a few extra treats,” he says. “It’s not a bad thing to indulge a bit within reason because you’ll burn it off.”
Commit to a holiday race
Motivate yourself by signing up for a holiday race. Or commit now for an early 2017 event – either a destination race or “a nice St. Paddy’s Day run in March to give you a goal,” Marsh advises.
Fit workouts in with family and friend time
Cross-Country Ski Canada ceo and runner Pierre LaFontaine squeezes in his runs when everyone else is sleeping in or napping. When Marsh makes plans with non-runner friends, he usually suggests a walking meeting. “If you’re going for coffee, walk there – it will get people out and moving and appreciating the weather and the scenery,” he says.
…Or use running to escape dreaded in-law visits
A half-hour run is a great excuse to leave the house when tensions are running high.
Give the gift of 2017 goals
If you’re exchanging gifts, consider giving a race. Many events offer gift certificates. Not only are you dodging the materialistic gift trap, you’ve guaranteed yourself a race buddy. Tracey Tong is an Ontarian writer and runner.