How to Balance Running With Holiday Fun

The end of December is a fantastic time to be a runner, unless you are actually training for something. If you're like me—and many others—the thought of hitting the road instead of spending hours with friends and family playing board games, and sitting next to too much yummy food, is enough to make you request a refund on that race entry.

But don't pull the plug just yet. With some proper planning, you'll be able to survive the holidays with enough mental and physical energy to still be your best come race day.

More: 10 Winter 5Ks and 10Ks to Shake Off the Winter Blues

Stop Stressing and Plan Ahead

If you already know what your holiday schedule will be, do yourself a favor and put your thinking cap on right now. Planning ahead means that you'll be able to schedule just the right amount of running on the right days. Better to have that negotiation with your family/spouse/buddies in advance than trying to do it in the moment. Truth be told I am more worried about the lure of another bowl game or another batch of cookies than your family—odds are they'll be more than willing to let your stir-crazy self outside for a quick five-miler.

More: Tips for Running Outside During Winter

Option 1: Find the Fun

Unless you live under a rock, odds are there is some form of a holiday run happening near your holiday destination. It could be a Holly Hustle, a Santa Dash, or a Midnight Run. Maybe you are brave enough to sign up for a Hangover Classic. My point: there's a race for everyone over the holidays.

More: Your Guide to Holiday Runs

They might not be your ideal distance, but there's nothing like a good, short, hard run to stay sharp. Remember to treat the fun run like an actual hard race—warm up well and be sure to set aside time to cool down.

The most important thing to be aware of is overdoing it. There's no need to pile on extra work before or after the holiday week. Keep it simple and fun!

More: 3 Rules for Easy Runs

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