12 Runs of Christmas

A woman wearing warm clothes runs through a snowy field

holiday-themed runs from now until December 25th

Three people wearing winter running clothes run together on a snowy street
A woman wearing warm clothes runs through a snowy field
Three people wearing winter running clothes run together on a snowy street

With the spirit of giving this holiday season, we’ve compiled a list of 12 different runs for you to do every day from now until December 25. Because, after all, you deserve presents, too. (And we’ve already established that running is the best present you can give to yourself.)

Nighttime Jaunt Through Holiday Lights

Most cities have a park or arboretum that they get all dressed up in holiday lights. Take James Island County Park for example, a park just outside of Charleston, SC. Every year the county decorates the park with an ornate display of holiday lights. There’s nothing like a nighttime trot through twinkling lights to get you in the mood for holiday cheer.

Elf Run

Grab your pals and line up single file and start running. The runner in the back sprints to the front. This will go on over and over and over until you’re very tired. This is what elves must feel like slaving away in the toy factory all night and day. Reward yourself with hot chocolate.

Christmas Pub Crawl Run

Gather your friends and draw a route between at least two breweries you know have special holiday ales and stop for several pints along the way.

Ugly Sweater Run

You go to parties wearing them so why not run in them? This one’s as simple as it sounds. Throw on your ugly sweater and head out the door.

Snow Run (or treadmill movie run)

Nothing like stomping through freezing snow to feel like you’re on the North Pole. But we know you don’t all have snow where you live so, in a pinch, a treadmill run while watching your favorite Christmas movie will have to do to. (We recommend Elf, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, or Die Hard.)

Egg Nog Mile

Have you ever run a beer mile? Do you remember how terrible you felt afterwards? The Egg Nog Mile could be worse. Gather your buddies, chart a 400-meter loop course, and set up your egg nog stand. Chug nog every lap. Winner pukes all.

Holiday Scavenger Hunt Run

Just giving your friends gifts takes away all the fun. What to do instead? Hide them along your favorite route of course, write up some clues, and improve your fitness while gift giving.

Candy Cane Fartleck

Traditional candy canes have thick red stripes separated by a thick white stripe that divided by yet another thin red stripe. Now, pretend the colors represent time (red is a hard effort and white is easy) … and the Candy Cane Fartleck is born. We’ll explain. After a good warm up, do 15 to 30 minutes of the following sequence, then cool down.

3 minutes at 5K effort
1 minute easy jog
30 seconds HARD
1 minute easy jog

White Elephant Run (or Pollyanna Run if you live in Philly)

Find a race course. It can be 400 meters or 10 miles, your choice. Then, you and your friends line up. Ready, set, go! First running across the line gets to draw first for her gift, last runner across the line draws last.

Reindeer Run!

Dress your dog up in a reindeer costume and as you run, pretend you’re flying through the sky.

Christmas Carrol Circuit

Every mile of this run, you need to belt out holiday song and drop for 5 pushups and 10 squats. Extra points if bystanders join in song.

Holiday Race!

Sometime during these two weeks, run a holiday-themed race. Bonus points if you wear full costume and sing the whole time.