6 ways to get the best out of your running at Christmas
Nobody loves Christmas more than I do, it’s a fantastic time of year for catching up with friends and family and getting away from your daily grind. Sometimes however we find that it can be stressful as it interferes with our normal regularity around running.
1. Remember that Christmas is just one day in the year, it’s a very special day but it is, just one day. If you are wanting to stick to a healthy regime, give yourself permission to eat, drink and be very merry on December the 25th, but try not to let it leach into all the other days between Christmas and New Year. Remember that you don’t have to take up every offer of a third mince pie, double eggnog or late night vindaloo, just because “it’s Christmas !”
2. Having said that, do try to relax! Christmas is a great time to change your routine and get a bit of head space. It doesn’t pay to be too serious a runner at this time of year and if anything else, use this opportunity to get a few proper nights’ sleep. If you are finding it difficult to head out into the wintery darkness on your own, why not find a family member, friend or even a next door neighbour who needs to escape, and join them for a quick 10K around the block.
3. With the inlaws/outlaws hanging around, plan some easy sessions during the Christmas week. This will give you a great opportunity to keep your cool, and not lose your ‘rag’ around family members. You may also be able to gain brownie points by taking Aunt Mildred’s more than overly affectionate, possibly flatulent, labrador out for an airing at the same time. Being cooped up with the Two Ronnies for 7 days isn’t natural. It’s important that you try to stick with your similar running times of the day, even if it’s an hour or two later after getting up.
4. Get your diary out and plan for all those gorgeous 2017 events you are going to participate in. It can be easy to feel demotivated in the first couple of weeks back at work. They’re often rather tiring and stressful times, as everyone rushes to catch up on e-mail back logs. Plan a meet up in that very first week with friends, so you get back in the swing of things and run your favourite park run.
5. Send your family e-mailed links to your favourite running gear! This doesn’t have to be a heavy hint for a very expensive present but everyone finds it difficult to choose Christmas gifts for family, so if you’ve got your eye on a nifty go-faster set of run socks, why not let them know? It’s far better than receiving another pack of talc and soap-on-a-rope from your well-meaning Granny.
6. Finally, don’t forget to reflect on everything you have achieved! As runners, we are often so keen to move onto the next race, the next personal best, the next fastest negative-split, that we forget how much we have conquered in a year. Look back in your run diary if you keep one and if you aren’t keeping one, make that a resolution for 2017. What races went well for you? What track session brought you the greatest improvements? Can you adapt your training going into 2017, so that you can include more strength and conditioning work, and more restorative activities? Allow your legs an occasional rest from the pounding, and very importantly, give yourself the opportunity to join other runners, so that you can stretch yourself and really develop your running.