'Tis the season! With all the holiday parties, family get-togethers, and enough feasts to add a few inches to your waistline, you might be wondering how you're supposed to get in your running workouts.
And it's understandable—most runners shut down their training efforts during December and take some time off from running to spend more time with their family.
Fortunately, there are several ways to maintain your fitness while running fewer miles. You can run less for 2 to 3 weeks during the holidays before you really start to lose much fitness. As long as you're smart about your training, you'll come back in the New Year in good shape ready to tackle your winter and spring goals.
Since we're all strapped for time, here are five workouts you can do in less than 45 minutes that still keep you in great shape.
The Progression Run
Progression runs are similar to tempo runs—but they're a little easier and allow you to get in some faster running without the added recovery time you might need from a faster tempo workout.
A "progression" is when you gradually run faster and faster over the course of a run. It's not a dramatic increase in pace—instead, you'll run about 10 to 20 seconds faster per mile than the one before it.
Let's say you're a 2-hour half marathoner with an easy running pace of 9:30 per mile. A 5-mile progression run might look like this:
- Mile 1: 9:30
- Mile 2: 9:20
- Mile 3: 9:10
- Mile 4: 8:55
- Mile 5: 8:35
The entire run is "aerobic" (meaning you're not accumulating lactic acid in your muscles like you would in a hard interval workout) and the last mile is about your tempo pace.
Since the faster running is only for a brief period of time, it takes less time to recover from this run and the risk of a running injury is smaller. And your 5-mile run now takes less time!