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6 Tips for staying motivated to run (and train) during the holidays

The holiday season can be brutal for fitting in workouts. Maintaining a running program is possibly the easiest for triathletes during these busy times

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

The holiday season is filled with family gatherings, delicious food and plenty of relaxation. While many runners and triathletes love this time of year, the festivities can disrupt our training routines and leave us feeling guilty that we didn’t keep up our running (or swimming and biking, for that matter) routine. The beauty of running, though, is it’s easy to maintain even while you’re away from your regular training haunts. There’s no pool schedule to deal with, no bike or indoor trainer to haul around – your running clothes and shoes will do the trick. To help you stay on track with your winter training goals, here are a few tips that will keep you motivated to get some run training over the next few weeks of the holidays:

Set a goal

Identify a modest goal for your holiday training. It could be as simple as committing to running for 30 minutes, three times per week. Having a specific goal in mind will give you a sense of purpose and help keep you motivated.

Create a schedule 

Plan your workouts in advance and include them in your holiday schedule. Treat them as appointments that you can’t miss. By having a set schedule, you’ll be more likely to stick to your training routine.

Find a running buddy 

Encourage a family member or friend to join you for runs during the holidays. Running with a buddy makes training more fun and keeps you accountable. You can cheer each other on and keep each other motivated.

Try a festive run 

Incorporate holiday-themed runs into your training. Look for local holiday races or virtual runs, or organize your own festive run with family or friends. Dressing up in holiday costumes or going for an evening run through neighbourhoods that are decorated for the holidays can make your runs more enjoyable.

Holiday and winter training plan: Rest right now to nail next season.

Modify your expectations 

If you’re like most Canadians, your schedule this month is jam-packed with holiday parties and get-togethers, shopping, cooking and everything else that comes along with the holiday season. You may not have as much time for running as you normally do, and that’s OK. Do your best to fit in a few runs around the craziness, even if they’re short, and don’t berate yourself if you don’t have the energy for a gut-busting interval session.

Over the next few weeks, aim to simply maintain your baseline fitness–you can plan to start tackling your next big running goal in the new year.

Indulge mindfully 

While it’s natural to be tempted to enjoy a lot more alcohol than usual over the holidays, be mindful of how much Christmas punch you’re knocking back when you know you have a run scheduled for the next day. Nothing kills motivation like a hangover.

This story originally appeared on the Canadian Running Magazine site.