Surviving Christmas and winter training at the same time...

Mince pies are on the shelf, Slade is already being piped into the shops, the festive season is well and truly here. RunningWithUs give us their top ten tips for keeping up your training during the Christmas season AND enjoy yourself!

1) One of the best things about running regularly is that all those burnt calories allow you to enjoy good food and the occasional tipple! However, we know that diet, sleep and recovery are all closely linked to your progression. Make sure you ring fence the time in your diary and consider getting runs done earlier in the day to free up more time for evening festivities. If you know you struggle to run after a drink you may want to limit the evenings you’re drinking or eating the heavy festive meals. You’ll feel better for it and not hit January trying to chase missed training!

2) Layer up. Several layers of running specific, wicking fabrics will allow you to strip down as you warm up. Focus on hi-viz too, keeping you safe and seen. Running specific base layers are a good choice, and remember accessories such as hats, gloves, compression socks and arm warmers all keep you warm without weighing you down. A head torch is a worthwhile investment if you're running early or late. 

3) Keep the frequency. Try and stick to your planned sessions during the week, but cut back on the time out running if you have to, to leave you time for the increase in plans with family and friends. Use your sessions wisely to get the most out of the time on your feet. Speed work, hills and fartlek sessions are just a few ways to get the most out of a 30 minute run.

4) Get the family involved. Not all of your training plan for the next couple of weeks has to be running. Take the family out for a brisk walk, get everyone out on the bikes, enjoy a swim with the kids or a home workout with your mates. Whatever it is, it’s getting you moving and it all helps with fitness and supporting your running long term.

5) Be prepared. If you’re visiting family or friends then take your kit with you and check local running routes or a park where you can do your intervals. You might want to warn the people you're staying with, in advance, that you plan on popping out for a run (chances are they’re expecting you to anyway!) so that you don’t affect any plans they may have for your visit.

6) Whether you’re at home over the festive season, or elsewhere, you can look up the local parkrun and see if they are running Christmas Day or New Years Day runs. You can go on your own or others can come and support or volunteer while you’re running. The atmosphere will be Christmassy and you can probably be back and opening presents within the hour! Similarly there are Santa Runs, Turkey Trots, Jingle Jogs, Mince Pie Runs and local running club sessions if you have a look online. 

7) Testing out new kit. If you’ve been lucky enough to find some new trainers or a running jacket under the tree then it should be expected you’ll be off out on a test run! Thank Santa profusely and find a good time (there’s often a lull in the day) to pop out and try out your new gear.  

8) You a have goal. Between Christmas Day and your race day…how many weeks of training have you got? This is great motivation in itself to keep the training up and work towards the big day!

9) Focus on strength and conditioning. If you really can’t get out then do some strength work. Finger crusher, plank, side plank and single leg squats will all help with your stability and running form. Do it on the quiet or get everyone involved in a push up challenge. Click here for some core exercises.

10) Most importantly, relax and enjoy! Don’t let yourself get stressed about missing sessions. With the best will in the world sometimes things don’t go to plan, so embrace the extra rest and enjoy the festive season with your loved ones.

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