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5 tips for running during the holidays

How to balance your training with your life over the holiday season

The holidays can be a busy time of year full of family commitments, get-togethers and of course, shopping. Even in the age of COVID-19, the calendar fills up quickly this time of year. While for many runners the season brings a welcome opportunity to re-connect with friends and family, the packed schedule can make it difficult to stick to your usual running routine. Use these tips to balance your running schedule with your other commitments so you can enjoy the holiday season.

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Plan ahead

Take stock of your calendar and plan when you’re going to go for a run. If you put your runs in your calendar, you’re less likely to schedule something over top of them. Try to find times when other commitments are less likely to derail your running plans, like early in the morning before work, or, if you’re able, during your lunch hour.

Be flexible

That being said, during the holiday season, you’ll likely need to be more flexible when finding time to fit your runs in. For example, if you have a holiday house party to go to in the evening and you know you’ll be out later than usual, you’re probably better off not planning to run early the next morning.

Depending on your usual running schedule, some of the timeslots you usually allot for runs and workouts may get taken up by other commitments, and that’s OK. Do your best to find a different time to fit your run in another time or swap days around so that it works with your schedule.

Adapt your runs and workouts

Maybe you can’t find time for your usual one-hour-long run, but do you have 30 minutes to spare for a quick run around the block? Under normal circumstances, you don’t want to be constantly shortening your runs or workouts, but during particularly busy times like these, it’s OK. After all, doing something is better than nothing, and even a short run can help you feel energized and ready to tackle holiday shopping (or centered and calm to navigate unwanted questions from relatives about your personal life).

Pack accordingly

If you’re traveling for the holidays to see family, make sure you bring a few sets of running clothes with you. Nothing is worse than looking forward to a good run (a.k.a. some alone time), only to realize you forgot your running shoes at home. Make a packing list, check it twice, and be prepared.

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The holidays can be a busy, stressful time, and running should be helping to relieve some of that stress, not add to it. If you need to skip a few runs here and there in favour of spending quality time with friends and family, do it. Running may be an important part of your life, but it isn’t your¬†whole¬†life. You won’t lose all your fitness by missing a few sessions, and you can always get back on track once the holiday season is over. So this year, run when you can and when you want to, take time off if it makes sense and makes you feel good, and enjoy the season.