Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years; lots of holiday time, but is there enough time to train like we need to or like we want to? For some people it depends on where you spend this time of the year. If you live in the south and go north for the holidays you may have to deal with some rough winter weather, but if you live in the north and go south for the holidays, you most likely will be greeted with pretty nice training weather. One nice thing about running is that, with proper clothing (or lack thereof), a person can deal with just about any type of weather, so if going south, enjoy some warm days, but if going north, bring along some extra layers of clothing, a nice wool hat and some gloves or mittens.
Another issue, associated with the holidays is being very busy preparing for, and spending time with, friends and family. You don’t want to ignore others who may have traveled a long way to visit, and this, along with being faced with a snow storm or two, may lead to missing some regular sessions of training. On the one hand, some runners may be visited by other runners and you can visit while going for a run, but in some cases, going out to train may make certain guests feel neglected or that they are not of much importance. So, let’s look at a situation where you have to cut back some on the time you have available for training.
I believe I have mentioned at another time or two that the human body does a pretty good job of maintaining any level of fitness that it has achieved, and that you can go about 5 days without training at all without losing any fitness. Don’t panic if your training time is cut from 7 days a week to only 4 or 5, or even fewer for a week or two. Not to worry. First of all, a little break from training may benefit you, especially if you have been training pretty hard for some weeks or months. Also, consider getting in a little longer training session on some particular days when you do have time to run. Maybe an evening run one day followed by an early morning run the next day will give you two runs in about one 12 or 13 hour period of time, leaving a lot of time during both of those days for visiting or getting out for buying presents.
If you really feel you must keep up a normal amount of running during the holidays, maybe you have to adjust your time schedule a little so you are available for visiting with others. Heck, I coached a guy a couple years ago who ran over 100 miles per week for 14 consecutive weeks and it was all done between 2 and 5 AM. I guess if you try that, however, you will be sleeping rather than getting chores done during the day. The point is, however, that schedules can be changed some and time of training can be lessened some without your body losing any fitness whatsoever.
Maybe the holidays are the right time for you to concentrate on good nutrition. In fact, maybe you can be a good influence on visitors who need someone to look up to; someone just like you, who is serious about health and fitness. The more people you can convince of the benefits of regular exercise and proper nutrition, the greater we will all be. I’d give up a week or two of training, anytime, to help some others get interested in trying a little running, or nicer nutrition. Be a model for friends and family to want to copy.
How do you balance your training with the holidays?