4 Tips for Running Through the Holidays
It’s November, and ready or not, the holidays are upon us. Like most people, my husband and I spend several stressful days (or sometimes weeks) traveling for the holidays, seeing family and friends, gorging on treats, and overall trying to have a merry time. It’s usually somewhere between the political debates at the dinner table and the 3rd slice of pie when I become ever so thankful for my alone time on runs.
As runners, we should consider ourselves lucky to have the escape that is getting outside, pounding the pavement, and 20-60 minutes (or more) of peace and quiet. I personally am not so sure I would be able to make it through the holidays without running, but carving out the time to get out the door can be tricky. Whether you’re traveling or staying home this holiday season, here are four tips to keeping your sanity and making time for the run:
Block out time
Elite runners will tell you that some days the only way to fit in a run is to think of it as a work meeting or obligation. When spending time with family, let them know you have a previous commitment at a certain time of day and hold yourself accountable. Block off a couple of hours in the morning or the evening when you’re less likely to skip the miles, and better yet, block them off before the holiday visits begin. If I’m extra worried about missing a run, I’ll even set an alarm to ensure I get out the door.
Skip the late nights (at least once or twice)
It’s true, runners are not known for being the life of the party, what with our early alarm clocks and early bedtimes, but this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge over the holidays. Enjoy time with family and friends, but try to head to bed early at least once or twice in a week-long period. The extra sleep will make any early morning miles more tolerable, and may also motivate you to make time for a run. Whenever I’m feeling less than enthusiastic about skipping something fun for a run, I try to get in a good meal and a solid night’s rest. I always feel ready to tackle a few miles the next day.
Make it a Family Affair
Impossible to leave the family for an hour? Bring them along for the run! Most of my family members are not runners, but they still enjoy getting outside for a stroll around the block. Invite family members to join you on your run, bring the jogging stroller, or ask friends to ride along on bikes. You’ll still reap the rewards of physical activity without any of the guilt trip.
Sign up for a Turkey Trot
Still can’t find time to run? Build it into a family activity! A turkey trot or jingle jog is a great way to get outside, run a few miles, and have some fun without sacrificing time with family and friends. I try to run a turkey trot with my husband every thanksgiving to give myself a little perspective. Plus, running a race without racing is exactly the reset button I need after a tough training season.
If you’re local to the metro area, or visiting for the holidays, the Delta Dental Turkey Day 5k is the largest turkey trot in the area, and boasts a beautiful course and a sweet long sleeve finisher shirt. If you’ll be out of town for the holidays, you’re in luck because the SCHEELS Santas on the Run 5k run/walk event doesn’t take place over a holiday and is one of the most fun races out there! Participants each receive a Santa suit with registration and are encouraged to wear them on race day – you can’t get more fun or festive than that!
For better or worse, on December 24th I’ll be flying out to New York City to see my family for the holidays. It has been several years since I’ve been back, as the trip is long and flights are expensive this time of year. I’m bracing myself for several chaotic days and a lot of cookies, so you better believe I’ll be packing my running shoes!