The Fix

How to Avoid the Hol­i­day Run­ning Slump

Canadian Running - - FEATURES - By Tracey Tong

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.

Eat strate­gi­cally

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.

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