It’s a fact: The holidays are hectic. From shopping to cooking to hosting to traveling, there is a lot going on in a short period of time between the weeks before Thanksgiving through the weeks after the New Year. Add in any training you may be doing and it is easy to get burnt out, quickly.
That’s why it is never too early to start planning on how you’ll run during the next few months. It is more than just making a schedule—there is some other planning involved should plans change or last-minute things arise, which, they always do.
Here are a few things you can start doing now to prepare yourself to keep training throughout the holiday season:
Sign up for a holiday race. If you have a race coming up, you are more likely to keep up at least some of your training schedule. There are great races that the whole family can take part in during the holidays, from Turkey Trots to Jingle Bell 5Ks and more. The more, the merrier, and you’ll earn that extra slice of pie you know you’ll be eyeing.
Plan a few running routes where you’ll be staying. Traveling is big this time of year and though you may not know the exact time you’ll be able to sneak out the door, if you have a route in mind ahead of time, it will make it much easier when everyone takes that post-dinner nap. It is best to plan a few distances—one mile, 5K and 5 miles, for example—so that depending on how long you have to yourself, you can take full advantage of it without having to run around aimlessly or hope you can find your way back in an unfamiliar place.
Organize a family football game or sledding day. Some of the best ways to get in your runs in the holiday season don’t even have to feel like running! On Thanksgiving, organize a family football game and get in your miles running up and down the field. Near Christmas, get the family together for some sledding, and once you get downhill race each other back up the hill with some sprints. It’s a great way to get miles in without it feeling like work.
Enlist a running buddy. If you have relatives coming into town who share your love of running, it is the perfect time to designate each other as a running buddy. It will be easier for you both to sneak out if you’ve made a pact to run together and you’ll still get to spend time with a family member while logging miles. If others protest, tell them if they need you both for the next hour, then they can join you. They’ll probably stop protesting pretty quickly and you both can enjoy your run!
Fill the holiday with ‘active’ presents. Another great way to keep moving throughout the season is to give—and ask for—gifts that can be used outside or involve staying active. Give your kids a basketball and head outside for a game. Ask for that GPS watch you’ve been eyeing and take it out for a test run. Get your mom a pair of weights to carry around on her after dinner walks and then join her. Everyone gets moving and everyone wins.