The holiday season brings around a number of challenges for any athlete. Things like large family dinners, extensive travel, inclement weather, etc, and we wanted to take a moment and address those feelings and how to deal with them especially as it relates to your fitness routine. In this installment we want to talk about how you can beat those holiday blahs or at the very least embrace them.
Don’t get down on yourself
Most of us use this time of year to punish ourselves when it comes to that missed workout and we’re here to tell you that it’s okay. There’s a lot going on and expectations will be high for your time commitments and you should want to enjoy this time of year. It’s only a few weeks and training will be back before you know it, but sometimes it’s okay to take a little easier and just enjoy those outside moments. So before we go any farther, let us just remind you to take it easy on yourself. Don’t judge yourself too hastily for not being as committed as you think you should be because the world will keep spinning and you won’t lose that much of your edge.
Think smaller, simpler, and timelier
There are number ways to address this time of year and we like to think of it as biting off smaller chunks. You’re not going to get two hours to yourself on a consistent basis during this time of year to knock out a big run, but what you will get is smaller digestible pieces where you can make the most of those 30 to 45 minutes you might be able to get. During those intervals, make the most of them. If you only have time for five or 6 miles , Then make them harder. If you only have time for 3 miles, then make it faster. Think higher intensity for your smaller intervals. This will still keep you at pace for your longer runs when you can get back to it. Next is taking it simpler and by this we mean don’t over complicate things. If you are traveling and away from your normal and barman, then open your phone the night before and lay the groundwork for your run the next day. It might even be easier to write your turn by turn down and carry it with you so you’re prepared. When you overcomplicate your routine, then it will mean less efficient use of your time. Lastly only talk about timely, this really speaks to when you get the opportunity to do this. I find that most of my family for instance are late risers so I know if I’m up with the birds say 6 AM, then I can probably easily knock out an hour before the crew is awake. Don’t plan your exercises around family events and think you’ll just squeeze it in before you guys go to dinner. This will inevitably fail.
Don’t be that guy or girl
This last one is probably the most important take away from this article and that is to not be that guy or girl and your family. If you don’t have a lot of avid athletes around you, then remember that nobody wants to hear about your latest exploits. They also don’t care that you just ran 6 miles that morning and the more you talk about it, the less they want to hear about it. Also remember that it is a time of the year regardless of what you celebrate where we naturally spend more time with her family and the goal is to enjoy that time together. So it’s okay to miss that workout and not beat yourself up about it. No one cares that you and no one will judge you for it and in fact it’s just the opposite you will be judged on your contribution to your family time and not your taste for the 10 miles you just busted out. You probably see yourself as an inspiration, but when everyone else is whipping down cookies, they’re gonna you you as annoying.
New Year’s Resolutions
First off, be realistic. There is a difference between setting goals for yourself and putting down things that are almost unattainable. If you are want to PR, then it should be about cutting off a minute from your per mile pace, not thee minutes. As an example, if you recently ran a 10K and you paced at 10:00/mile, then set your goal at 9:00/mile… by the end of the year. You should not set your target at 7:00/mile by June. It won’t happen and pushing yourself to that will either cause injury or make you feel defeated. Second, expect to fail at a good chunk of your resolutions. On average, people tend to complete less than 5% of all resolutions they make and even those are cheated on. As an idea, one great goal would be to pick a cool race you want to run in an exotic place. Its attainable, enforceable, and actionable. Remember, vowing to lose weight only works for less than 2% of the population.
If you get nothing else from this remember one thing. Enjoy this time of the year. Most of us have vacation of some sort during this time, even if it’s a few days off here and there, so just enjoy yourself. Have a cookie, have to have two or more cookies, but don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t get on anybody else’s case about it as well.