The holidays are a time of goodwill, giving, and celebration with friends and family. Unfortunately, our “healthy” selves tends to take a Christmas vacation while our “gluttonous” selves take the wheel. It’s important that we establish a game plan before the holiday festivities to prevent digging a hole so big that only the Mother of all New Year’s resolutions will be able to rescue us. Use some of these suggestions to help you enjoy the holidays and kick off the New Year happy, healthy, and ready for a fantastic 2017.
The holidays are often chaotic, which can wreak havoc on our training. The best way to make sure we stay on top of training is to schedule it in advance. Plan your daily workouts at the beginning of each week. Keep it quick and simple. This is not the time of year to ramp up training, experiment with a new program, or attempt to establish new habits.
Keep training fun. Incorporate the holidays into your workouts. Find a race that celebrates the season. Enjoy a frozen foray on the trails. (It's amazing how different the trails look during different seasons.) Another great way to make training fun is to run or walk in a festive neighborhood—one that goes all out for the holidays. Since this is the season of friends and family, bring them along and make it a group outing.
One of the best ways to avoid diet destruction is to eat before you head out. Eating a healthy meal before the party will help satiate you and keep “cheating” in moderation. At the party, focus on the healthy snacks. Show the fresh cut vegetables some love rather than continually diving on the cookie tray.
‘Tis the season for eggnog and calorie-heavy drinks. Sure, they taste great, but they come with a heavy caloric price tag. Look for lighter libations—wine, light beer, or even champagne. Another trick to help stretch your caloric intake: rotate festive drinks and water as the night goes on.
Unlike Santa, our goal for the season should not be to have a belly that jiggles like a bowl full of jelly. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are only three days. Cheating on three days won't make us “out of shape.” It's the time between those days during which we wreck our training. The goal is to make your non-holiday routine as routine as possible this time of year. Basically, save the cookies for Santa when you can, but when you do cheat, cheat in moderation.
Island of Misfit Toys
We all belong on the Island of Misfit Toys: none of us are perfect. So let go of perfect. If we stay too focused on perfect, we’ll lose the fun that this time of year brings. The other problem with perfect is that when we do crack, we won't just crack, we’ll detonate. Focus on doing the best you can, not on being perfect. Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t - or haven’t. Keeping reaching for the next rung on the fitness ladder. By doing so, we'll make it through the holidays better prepared for a stellar 2017.
Happy holidays, everyone!
Tim Cary is Head Track & Field and Cross Country for Lindenwood University at Belleville and the former Fleet Feet Assistant Training Manager. Over his more than two decades of coaching, Tim has coached athletes to three national team championships, five national individual championships, two national records, and numerous All-American and All-State honors. Click here to subscribe to our blog.