Tis' the season

By Aaron Mabry | Dec 01, 2011

So it’s the week after Thanksgiving and you’re down three turkeys, two belt notches and one seriously seductive pumpkin pie. And if that isn’t  enough, between time at the in-laws and standing outside of Best Buy at 4 o’clock in the morning, your workouts have most likely taken a hit.
Needless to say, the holidays really are unavoidable. Don’t get me wrong, if you ask my wife what my favorite time of year is, she’ll tell you it’s the Christmas season. To me, few things are sweeter than the brisk, cool air and the family camaraderie that comes along with the holidays. However, the worst thing about it is that all good things must come to an end, leaving you with a brittle tree, more leftovers in the fridge than you’ll ever eat and a few extra pounds to boot.  
But in all the revelry, it’s still possible to stay on schedule. It just takes a bit more planning. In any case, if you think it through and really focus on staying on track, then come January, you’ll thank yourself for replacing that third viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with a good, hard run.

Be Realistic
It’s important to note that given all of your external expectations this time of year that you set realistic goals that can be easily achieved. Granted, you’ve continued on with a great training plan and you’ve logged all the miles you set out to do. Over the past few months, you’ve continually made gains in your fitness and the ease of your runs is a great sign that your aerobic capacity is at an all-time high. However, during the holidays, to save you from disappointment and a half empty training log, scale back your expectations and settle for simply maintaining your level of fitness. Now as soon as you utter the word “settle,” some fitness gurus are going to cry foul. But honestly, folks, let’s be realistic. Scale back the amount of runs during the week and increase the level of intensity on days that you do run. It’s really that simple.

Be Flexible
If you’re a creature of habit, this may be of particular importance to you, seeing as how you’re used to working out the same way every day. However, during the holidays, it becomes more and more prevalent that your schedule is interrupted. If you’re used to working out after work, but you know you have two Christmas parties and yet another viewing of “A Christmas Story” on TBS to watch with your kids, then you should probably consider getting your run in that morning. After all, your body doesn’t really care when you run, it’s how often you go and the intensity at which you commit to.

Be Patient
In such a success driven sport, take a break from it all and enjoy your runs. As I mentioned before, this time of year brings forth a commonly cool air and an uninhibited blast of holiday delights. As you run down Main Street. take in the lights, the music and the smells. It sounds corny, but you can’t tell me you don’t think about it. And above all, be patient and commit to simply maintaining your fitness. To my knowledge, nobody has ever broken a world record in the mile run on Christmas.