The Challenges of Maintaining Training & Eating over the Holidays: Setting Yourself up for a Successful Season
by Kristi Spence
Perhaps this is a familiar scenario: The morning and evening air is a bit chillier than it has been, evening daylight is waning, and the weather forecast hints of snow. Holiday gatherings are filling up the calendar, and with a fall marathon behind you, your race calendar has wound down for the year. With the change of the weather and the bustle of the season, it is no surprise that it is easier to skip the occasional day or two of training and change your eating habits. For many people, these uninvited and unintended behaviors encroach slowly, followed by staunch resolutions for the New Year. But this cycle is not inevitable and breaking this pattern does not equate with strict dieting and discipline… it is all about balance. This holiday season, challenge yourself to devise a workable, fun, plan that incorporates both the endorphin rush of training with the delicious taste of pumpkin pie.
To get started, you must first know what you are up against. Each of us faces unique barriers. Identify your specific challenges during the holidays?
- If from past years, you know that shorter days make it harder to fit in an evening run, can you carve some space out earlier in the day? Can you meet a friend? What adjustments can you make to set yourself up for success?
- If you want some down-time from running, but you still want to maintain your fitness, perhaps your 6-day per week running plan needs to be modified to a 3 or 4-day per week plan garnished with some fresh cross training ideas.
- If holiday parties mean overeating and snacking, be sure to eat something before the party. Then you can sample only what really sounds good.
- If you tend to overeat during the holidays, practice slowing down, enjoying the company and tasting the food.
- If portion size is your challenge, try using smaller plates.
- Do you have a hard time with the cold weather? Maybe you can substitute some cross-training activities or figure out how an afternoon, instead of a morning workout might fit into your schedule
- Perhaps your challenge is that the word “holiday” is synonymous with relaxation and a day off. Perhaps you can work this day-off into your training or consider different, fun activities with family and friends. There is no rule that you have to run, but if you would like to figure out how you can run on a holiday, perhaps you can meet a friend and celebrate the day together, or get up and out early before the bustle of the day.