Interview with the #HIGH5fuelled athletes on exercise during the holiday season


It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas is coming. However, balancing holiday and training is tricky. So we’ve turned to the #HIGH5fuelled athletes to find out how they manage it. We hope that they can inspire you to get out and run or ride – holidays or no holidays!

Here’s the advice of Sam Bennett, Peter Kennaugh and Marcus Burghardt from pro cycling team BORA-hansgrohe and marathon champion Callum Hawkins. Enjoy!

Hi everyone! Christmas is just around the corner so thank you for taking the time to offer your holiday training advice. So, how do you work your training around the holiday season?

Sam Bennett: All I really do is ensure Christmas day is free. My family will also remind me what days I need to keep free as it’s always such a busy time trying to get the things done that we don’t have time for during the season. I plan around that too.

Peter Kennaugh: In the off season I usually stay active either in the gym or running. I start with 5km runs and slowly build up to around 10 km, but it takes a while for the legs to get use to running after all the cycling.

Marcus Burghardt: I stay until the 23rd of December in Mallorca, first with the team, then two days on my own. The Christmas holidays are for recovery and to enjoy the time with my family.

Callum Hawkins: My whole family are runners and Christmas usually coincides with the start of training for a spring marathon so we usually fit Christmas around training. I just stick to my routine and do whatever needs to be done on the day.  It sets you up nicely to enjoy Christmas Dinner with the family after.

Well, it’s reassuring to hear that even athletes take time out to enjoy Christmas! Does this apply to food too? Do you stick to your training diet over the holiday season?

Sam Bennett: Hell no! If I don’t get at least one Terry’s Chocolate Orange in my stocking I won’t be singing carols! It’s not a time to restrict, it’s a time for dinner with friends and Bailey’s coffees: No calories counted.

Peter Kennaugh: No, not really, the Christmas days are for being with the family, relaxing, enjoying the moment and not counting calories!

Marcus Burghardt: I don’t stick to a training diet over Christmas. I enjoy the Christmas days but of course try to keep my weight.

Callum Hawkins: Christmas is a big family occasion for us so it’s the full Christmas Dinner experience in our house.  I’ve usually got 100+ miles to do that week so it’s easy to burn it off!!

Christmas is a busy time. Do you have any tips or tricks for training during the holidays?

Sam Bennett: Keep your head, ears and neck warm to avoid getting sick. If you can’t stay dry, just make sure you stay warm. 😉

Marcus Burghardt: I would say my tips and tricks are to do some cross-country skiing and gym sessions.

Callum Hawkins: Try and stick to your routine as much as possible but don’t worry if it doesn’t go to plan.  Christmas is family time and it’s just as important to have some down time with them as well.

And, when the holidays are over, how do you get yourself back in to exercise?

Sam Bennett: My race program is always beckoning so that’s pressure enough to get back out on the bike.

Peter Kennaugh: It depends on my race programme. Thinking about last year, I started with Tour Down Under, therefore I had to start training straight after Christmas!

Marcus Burghardt: I start my season with skiing, or cross-country skiing some days after Christmas, these fun winter sports make it easy to get back into exercise.

Callum Hawkins: Christmas week is a normal training week for me so I don’t have the problem of trying to kick start training again.

It sounds like it’s easy for you all to get back to training – we hope this inspires others to do the same!

While Christmas is a time for food, don’t forget to fuel your training with energy and carbohydrate.

Recover well and don’t forget to stay hydrated! It may be cold outside but we guarantee hard training sessions will still make you sweat.

For more tips and tricks, check out our blog!