Ahhh, the holidays – a time for get-togethers, friends, parties, food and merry-making. Good times!
And then, of course, there are the preparations: decorating the house; shopping for gifts; writing holiday cards; wrapping presents; baking cookies; getting the tree; decorating the tree; finding a new tree stand, as a repeat of last year’s tree-toppling-over-in-the-night is not desirable; shopping for and cooking Christmas dinner; cleaning the house before and after guests come over; finding a new outfit for the office holiday party; the all-important hair appointment with Bruno at Le Spa; standing in line at the liquor store … Even if you, like me, are no Martha Stewart, the list just seems to go on and on.
So, how’s a girl to get a few training runs in during this busy season to get ready to run across The Gambia? And how, with all this eating and drinking, will I avoid packing on the pounds?
Over the years, I have found a few ways to make time for running over the holidays. One trick is to make my run part of the daily commute to work. While it takes me about 30 minutes to drive to work, a run to the office takes about an hour. By substituting a run for the drive, my net time investment is only 30 minutes. And by running in the morning, my workout is done, so I have time for shopping and parties, and yes, even baking, cooking and cleaning, in the evenings no matter what the day brings.
I am lucky in that most of my friends are also active people. This means that many of the holiday get-togethers to which we are invited have an active component. Friends invite people to go for a hike, ski, snowshoe or a skate and then get together for food and drink after the activity. A sociable workout and holiday party all in one – I call that multi-tasking at its finest!
Another way to squeeze in at least a short run is to try to get out a lunch time. If you have the flexibility to take an extra 20 or 30 minutes at lunch and add this time to the beginning or end of your work day, this may be the window for a workout. No shower at the office? No problem – a day pass for a nearby gym can buy you shower access. But if all else fails, why not go for a brisk walk at lunch? It’s not a run, but it’ll keep you active and is better than not doing anything at all.
While I try to keep a regular workout schedule throughout the holidays, I also realize that there are only so many hours in the day and that I have to adjust my expectations of what’s possible. This goes not only for my workouts, but also means I prioritize the activities that I really want to get done and forget about the not-so-important stuff. After all, this is supposed to be a time to enjoy and not to stress about details and perfection! For my training, the objective is to keep my base and to stay active and yet to balance my training with other aspects of my life, such as friends and family.
Oh, and the attentive reader may note that I haven’t answered the second question raised above – how to avoid packing on the extra pounds over the holidays. Still looking for the answer to that one, but will post it here, if I ever find out. Happy holidays to all!