Marathon Running During the Holidays

It’s that time of year again: Holiday parties at work, family gatherings, traveling and the seemingly endless supply of sugary sweets, alcohol and comfort foods that have been in front of you at every turn since Thanksgiving hit. And here you are right in the middle or end of your marathon training cycle for a big winter race. With all of these family, friend and work obligations – plus delicious treats to eat – how can you stay on your running plan and keep your focus?

Good News and Bad News

The good news is if you are just looking to finish your marathon in late December or early January, then a few digressions from your plan should not ruin your chances at successfully crossing the line. The bad news is if you have some serious time or place goals for yourself in your upcoming winter marathon, then you have to find a way to ward off temptation and not veer too far off course.

7 Tips For Your Marathon Running & Training

  1. Make deals with yourself – If I get in this 15-mile run, then it’s alright to have a glass of wine at the party tonight.
  2. Run with more intensity if time is short – Instead of putting in 2-hour long run, do an up tempo or steady-state 60-minute run. You will find you’ll get more out of this workout than if you plodded around for 2 hours.
  3. Run before parties, dinners, and gatherings. Again, you don’t have to miss out on the festivities, just maybe be fashionably late for a few because you needed to get your workout in.
  4. It’s alright to take an extra day off during the holidays because of all of the functions and planning you may have to do. You don’t want to overwork yourself.
  5. Run on Xmas day or New Year’s day morning. Talk about having the roads or trails to yourself. If you are an early riser, than before the gifts are open or party hats even put away, go out into the brisk morning air for a delightful and peaceful run.
  6. Pack your shoes with you if you are traveling. Even if you don’t get every workout in over your holiday, try to squeeze in a couple during your break.
  7. Just leave the party a little earlier than usual. You can still have fun, but maybe just not as late as you have in the past. Again, rest is just as important as training for a marathon, and staying up late on a regular basis may cause you to get sick before your main event.

A New Idea of Holiday Fun

In the end, it’s about changing your ideas of what makes for a fun holiday season. If the race is after the New Year, then it’s important that you get in your workouts. While running a 20-miler around Christmastime may not seem as a jolly good time for most, when you cross the finish line of your marathon successfully in late January/early February you’ll be happy that the gift you gave to yourself was perseverance.

Happy Holidays!




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