The holiday are a time of family, celebration, rejuvenation and many other amazing things that make the season one we look forward to every year. But when it comes to running, the holiday marathon makes things difficult. We have multiple parties and events, sometimes in one day. We eat lots of delicious-but-rich food. We travel to towns we aren’t familiar with and sometimes we forget to pack our running shoes.
But, if there’s one thing we know is absolutely true (and scientific!), it’s that to run your best and enjoy it to the fullest, you have to be well rested. So, to help you combat the runners’ guilt of taking a day or two off this holiday season, here are my tips for being OK with a rest day and working with your holidays schedule to get your running in.
1. Have some perspective when it comes to the demands of family and travel
Understanding that no one can do it all and that everyone has multiple responsibilities will help you avoid beating yourself up for not being 100 percent dialed in for the holidays. It will also make your important training segments better because you’ll be able to focus on those more effectively.
2. Plan ahead for the week or two before you check out for the holidays.
Think of the holidays like a business trip. For example, you might be booked Monday and Thursday during a single week for 24 hours of family events, so Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday are the only days you will realistically have to get maybe a run in. Take a look at your calendar and plan for these types of training challenges. If you try to fly by the seat of your pants, you’ll put training off and then not do it.
3. Use running as a time to see friends and family.
The most quality time you might get with your brother or cousin could be an easy 1-hour run in your hometown. Look for opportunities like these.
4. If you have a coach, use him or her.
I tell my athletes all the time that if something pops up and they fall off the training plan to let me know. It is way easier for a coach to make an objective decision about your running, and it gives you confidence that the correct adjustment was made.
5. Be adaptable.
The holidays can often throw you out of your routine and you might be in a town without great running routes or facilities. When you can work out, consider doing effort-based runs versus time- or pace-based runs. Be okay with that, sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise.
All said and done, have fun with running, but don’t let it take away from quality time with the people you love and care about. If anything, use running to make that time better!
What tips do you have for making sure you get the most out of a rest day?