Running During the Holidays – Tips to Maintain Your Fitness
Despite having a nice ring to it, having a “healthy holiday” seems like a challenge most of us have difficulty taking. The festive seasons cause most people to eat more and exercise less. For those above the “leaving cookies for Santa Claus” age, your schedules are jam-packed. With all the extra stress that comes with this time of year, it’s no surprise that our fitness routines are long forgotten or postponed until New Year’s Day.
If your goal is to maintain your fitness, this article will give you some much-needed tips and tricks. This is how you can achieve your goal of running during the holidays.
Plan Your Run or Workout
It’s tempting to say you’ll go for a run when you find some free time. The issue is that free time doesn’t exist. We both know that if you say you’re going to squeeze in a run somewhere, you’re probably lying. Planning is critical to have the discipline and motivation to keep running during the holidays.
Get your schedule and add your runs or workouts just as you would add in any other necessary appointments. Every Sunday, take out your planner and organize the fitness plan for the week ahead. Take a good look at your strategy and evaluate where you can schedule a reasonable time for a run. Write it in. Don’t note it in your head. Write that you will start your run at this exact time and place.
If you know you’ll be staying with family or friends over the holidays, google nearby trails or gyms. If your schedule is jam-packed with endless events, plan on squeezing in a 15-minute home workout. Plan and figure everything out ahead of time. It will help you maintain your fitness this festive season.
Make Running a Priority
This time of year could be a real land mine in terms of disrupting your fitness goals. If you want running during the holidays to be a priority, you have to treat it like a priority. This means that running and getting your workout in is more of a must than an option.
It requires a significant amount of focus and commitment to combat the stress and obstacles that come between you and your fitness goals. Imagine your goals under the spotlight. When the light’s on, you can only see the goals in the whole room. Things might be happening all around trying to distract you, but you can only see what the light is hitting, the goals. You can turn off that light when it’s not the appropriate time to work out.
In other words, keep your attention on the prize. Focus on the fact that you want to maintain your fitness this season, even if other things are trying to distract you.
During the holidays, you’ll constantly find your schedule shifting and changing. It seems that no matter how much you attempt to plan, you never seem to get anything done on time.
The truth is that this is just how it is during this time of year. We can’t change what we can’t control, but we can change our attitude. When plans fall through and you cannot get that morning run in, it’s essential to remain flexible. So instead of canceling the run altogether, reschedule it or do a quick workout instead.
The important thing is never to take the all-or-nothing approach. If you don’t have time to run today, run tomorrow and do a home workout today. If you can’t go for a run today because it’s snowing, go to the gym. So always have a backup plan ready for action. The goal of being flexible in your objectives is to maintain your fitness even when obstacles come up.
Involve Friends and Family
Staying committed and motivated to maintain your running routine during the holidays is difficult. Putting off your run to another day is easy when it’s just you. Luckily, during this time of year, you’re rarely alone.
Instead of spending time with your family and friends on the couch this year, you could spend it on a nice run outside. Your challenge of running during the holidays will become easier when you involve others. Creating some friendly competition might also be helpful for you and your loved ones. Besides, having your friends and family join in means you no longer have to get up and leave during a family gathering.
Mix-up Your Routine with Cross-Training
No matter how much you enjoy your running routine, you are bound to get bored at some point. This boredom stage could hamper your chances of running during the holidays as it becomes draining instead of fun. Instead, prevent this stage of boredom by changing the routine up a bit.
It’s important to incorporate other types of training in your workout to combat boredom and work out the different muscle groups. Running tends to neglect specific muscle groups while emphasizing others. For example, participating in a yoga class can help fix any muscle imbalances and reduce the risk of injuries.
Don’t Forget About Hydration
Everyone gets busy during the holidays, and most often, the first things that get thrown out of the window are their nutritious diet and workout plan. With events based around food, gingerbread cookies, and cheese and wine, no one has time to evaluate what is going into their bodies—or not going into them.
As our brain juggles a million things at once, it’s likely to have a few slips here and there. A significant mistake a lot of us make is remembering to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is essential, especially with alcohol.
During the holidays, the weather is often cold. Cold weather is associated with lower water consumption. If you want to maintain your fitness, you must avoid dehydration at all costs. So, how much water should you drink? Water intake needs are individualized, but you should generally consume at least four cups of water each day.
Run Early (or Late) and Be Visible
Most of us may already run before the sun comes up in the morning or as the sun goes down at night. For those that routinely run at other times of the day, you might consider changing it up for early morning or late night runs during the holidays.
During the day, you are so overwhelmed by your to-do list that you might start feeling unmotivated to maintain your fitness. So, it’s best to keep your run early in the mornings or late at night to avoid something getting in the way. I would recommend going for a run in the morning as you can have one thing crossed off your to-do list before the day even starts.
If you choose to go for a run at night, make sure to stay visible. Always choose a well-lit area for your run. Luckily, running during the holidays means more lights on the streets. Also, wear reflective clothes and shoes, and always look both ways before crossing the street.
Set Your Running Goals for Next Year
The new year is right around the corner. This means that it’s time to start making those New Year’s Resolutions. Take some time and evaluate what you want your running goals to be for the new year. Then, write these goals down and put them someplace in your house that is visible.
The best thing about putting your goals today is that you can have a head start. You can start inching towards that goal before the new year even begins by running during the holidays.
Dress the Part
If you’ve ever worn activewear without the intention of working out, and suddenly, you felt the urge to exercise, you’re not the only one. According to a 2012 study, mental changes occur when wearing certain clothes. This is called enclothed cognition.
The workout clothes you put on have a symbolic meaning. When you wear athletic clothing, you become more active and more likely to participate in a workout. This is a powerful tool to have for running during the holidays. Even when all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa, put on some athletic clothing and shoes, and watch your mood shift. This simple trick can help you maintain your fitness during the most beautiful time of the year.
Final Thoughts on Running During the Holidays
If you genuinely want to maintain your fitness this holiday season, these are several tips and tricks that you could use. Don’t postpone your health and fitness goals till the new year. Instead, choose today to overcome the obstacles and stay healthy.
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