It’s that time of the year, y’all.
Whatever holidays you do or don’t celebrate, things tend to get a bit crazy between now and about the 5th of January.
Holiday parties at work. Family. Travel. All the treats. All the drinks.
Point blank, staying on track with your training this time of year is a bit of a challenge, to put it mildly.
That said, if you’re a bit strategic, you can come out the other end no worse for the wear.
And if you really play your cards right, you can continue to make progress toward your goals at a time when a lot of people take their foot off the gas.
I’m glad you asked!
5 Tips to Stay on Track this Holiday Season (or Anytime Life Gets Crazy)
When life gets a bit chaotic, you don’t stay on track by accident.
You have to be prepared and come in with a plan.
You’ll probably be adjusting the plan as you go, and that’s fine.
As long as you have an idea of how you’ll stay on track this holiday season, you’ve got a fighter’s chance of actually doing so!
Identify the Key Workouts
When you’re looking at your calendar through the end of the holiday season, identify the key workouts you simply will not miss.
Depending on where you are in your training cycle, this may well be the long runs.
But it really doesn’t matter what the workouts are, just note which runs are going to happen come hell or high water.
Don’t compromise on those workouts.
Make sure you’re in bed on time so you can wake up and be ready to go in the morning.
The other workouts?
Yes, it’ll be nice if you can do those too.
But if you end up staying out too late the night before, or drinking a bit too much eggnog, no worries.
That wasn’t a key workout anyway, so let it go.
Get Creative with Your Training
When life is a bit crazy, your workouts may not look like they do the rest of the year.
Find yourself stuck in an airport with a bit of a layover?
You might not be able to run, but what’s stopping you from walking around for an hour or two, and grabbing several thousand steps for the day? Or doing some push-ups/squats/lunges in the gate area?
And if you’re up north somewhere, volunteer to shovel the snow!
Not only will everyone love you for doing it, but you’ll also be getting in a great workout! (And it’ll give you some precious alone time!)
The options are pretty much endless when it comes to creative ways to be active.
Remember, just because you’re not running doesn’t mean you’re not training.
Get creative, stay on track.
Avoid the Temptations You Can’t Resist
I don’t care who you are or how strong-willed you are, we all have that one thing that once we start we can’t stop.
Maybe it’s a certain Christmas cookie that’s been your favorite for 30 years.
Or your mother-in-law’s fudge.
Or the spiced rum and eggnog.
Whatever it is, if you know it’s a trigger food for you avoid it!
You may not be able to keep it out of the house, especially if it’s a family tradition, but don’t let yourself have just a little taste.
Because if you’re not careful, just a little taste can pretty quickly turn into “I ate every last piece of fudge in this house” really quickly.
Be Mindful of How Many Calories You’re Actually Taking In
One way that we can easily get derailed during the holidays is to forget about all of the little calories we are consuming.
Between the eggnog, the extra alcoholic drinks, and stealing a piece or three of fudge every time you refill your coffee cup, it’s pretty easy to nickel and dime your way to an extra 500-1000 calories in a day.
I’m not saying you can’t live a little during the holidays, just be aware of what is going on.
Going to a holiday party that doesn’t start until 8 pm?
Eat a proper dinner before you go so you’re not starving and ready to eat all of the things.
And if you know that you’re going to have a big meal with the family, adjust your other meals accordingly.
Maybe that means fasting. Maybe that means just eating lighter fare earlier in the day so that you have room on your calorie budget for that one big meal that is looming on the horizon.
If you’re not worried about gaining a few pounds over the holidays, that’s awesome!
But if weight loss is one of your goals, being aware of the calories you’re taking in will definitely help you stay on track.
Listen to Your Body
You know I’m a believer in learning your body’s cues and paying attention to them all of the time, right?
But this time of year, it’s easy to ignore what your body is telling you.
Don’t. Do. That.
When you’re tired, go to bed.
If you’re exhausted, don’t run.
If you feel a little niggle, address it and don’t run on it.
Things are going to be crazy during the holidays, they always are.
But that isn’t an excuse to ignore what your body is telling you and trying to force yourself to stay on track with your training.
In actuality, that is a good way to wind up sick or injured.
And seriously, nobody wants to start the New Year sick or injured!
Perfection is Not the Goal
Any time of year, but especially during the holiday season, perfection is not required to stay on track with your training.
If you end up missing a few runs, that’s ok.
If you overindulge on the fudge your mother-in-law makes, like I probably will end up doing, that’s ok.
Just do your best to stay on track, and once life settles back down in January you will be light years ahead than you would have been had you just said “fuck it” for the next 5 weeks!
Don’t let all the work you’ve done the past 11 months go by the wayside now.
Stay on track with your training and enjoy the holiday season.
I promise, it actually is possible!
What is Your Biggest Hurdle to Staying on Track During the Holidays, or Anytime Life is Crazy?
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