You want to run, but there are all those presents to wrap and parties to plan, and you feel selfish sneaking out. But don't let guilt keep you off the roads. "When times are stressful, people rely even more on proven coping strategies," says Sachs. "For many of us, running is one of our most effective strategies."
If your partner or kid is giving you a hard time whenever you pass up the 'nog for the treadmill, says Sachs, try saying something like "When I run, I'm more productive, more energetic, less crabby, and can be more helpful to you." Or more simply, "I'll be a nicer person if I run."
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If you're blessed with an understanding family, round up everyone and head out for a jog together. "It's a nice way to get some time together over the holidays," says Sachs, "and you'll be helping them to better understand why exercise is so valuable to you, and they'll get some of those benefits themselves."
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Maintain your focus by signing up for a Turkey Trot, a Holiday Ho Ho Ho 5K, or a Resolution Run. Just remember to embrace the glad tidings and cool those competitive engines. "Don't go out there and really race it," says New York City-based coach Mike Keohane. "This is not the time to set a PR."
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Better yet, set a longer-range goal with a group of friends. In Massachusetts, the Brookline-based Heartbreak Hill Striders kick off training for April's Boston Marathon around December 1. Sure, it's a little early for serious running, says coach Jim Carroll, "but it helps with the group's collective motivation."
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