It's officially December, and you know what that means! Halls will be decked, bells will be jingled, and your days will be Merry (some get a bit more "merry" than others). But that doesn't mean waist sizes should expand, training plans get burned, and running progress is downed faster than that Egg Nog you're drinking out of a Reindeer cup.
December is a hard training month for runners, thanks to all of the obstacles that can get in the way. The weather outside is frightful, Christmas partys fill your calendar, and there's a snack tray everywhere you turn.
So in true holiday fashion, I'm going to decorate this post with the 12 Tips of December that will ensure you Run, and not roll into January like a beast!
HO...HO....HO...Hold on and let's go:
1. Weigh Yourself Right Now!
Seriously do it right now! Your goal for December is to survive at the weight you are right now. Losing weight is damn near impossible this month, so don't start the new year with an epic fail under your belt (which by the way would be expanded 2 notches). The key is to stay disciplined but realistic. Don't fall in the trap that so many people do, and let yourself go on a feeding frenzy as it's a fast track to a fast 5 pounds that you'll need to lose later.
2. Sign Up For A Race
A great way to stay motivated in December is sign up for a race. There's lots of New Years Eve options out there like the Resolution Run that will keep you in check and focused on your training.
3. Plan Ahead If You're Travelling
If you're off to the mother-in-laws for the holidays save some room in your bag for your runners and gear. Figure out what times you can sneak out for a run and explore some new route options before you get there.
4. Winter Gear
This one is pretty obvious, but so many people are not ready to run when the snow starts flying and the temperature plummets. Get a good wind breaking jacket, face protection and layers for when Jack Frost is exceptionally angry. Realistically, there is usually only 1 or 2 days a year when it's impossible or just not safe to run. No excuses.......so stop thinking about one......I know you are right now.....stop it!
5. Put Down That Cracker
I'm not saying don't indulge, but just don't get sucked into the dreaded snack tray. This one gets me every time at Christmas parties. One cracker turns into 50..........add dip.....total fail. Go for the healthy stuff when you can. Veggies, hummus, and lean meats are good options. Back away from the Fruitcake....... who actually really eats that anyway?
I'll just leave this out here for you to consider: Stuffing (1/2 cup) 440 calories. Pecan Pie 532 calories a slice. Egg Nog 350 Calories a glass.
Don't be afraid to jump on a treadmill when the weather gets nasty. It's a good alternative, especially when you have a good treadmill workout plan in place. Need some help? I've built a Treadmill Program that outlines paces, inclines and settings to keep you in shape over the winter. Check it out HERE.
7. Water Double Down
Chances are your alcohol intake will creep up this month, so don't forget to keep yourself hydrated! Failing to do so will have a dramatic impact on your running performance, so keep a water bottle at your side at all times. Just promise me you'll keep it filled with water only.
8. Sleep in Heavenly Peace
Christmas morning is a write off.....guaranteed. Kids will be up at 5AM and so will you, but for the rest of the month don't let yourself get run down from a lack of sleep. Your busy social calendar will take you out of your routine, but you still need to be getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night if you want to recover and be ready to run.
9. Phone a Friend
Find your December Plus One to stay on track. Hopefully they will be by your side as a running partner, but if that's not possible, challenge them to a milage contest. Most running miles in December wins! It helps to have someone keep you accountable and motivated. No friends? Email me and I'll give you a virtual kick in the butt whenever you need it.
10. Have a Training Plan
What gets measured gets done, so put a plan in place that lays out a clear running plan for the month. It's OK for you to ease off a bit on the intensity, but when you lose the structure of being on a plan, it's really easy to fall out of the routine. Need some help with your program? We can help. Click HERE
Despite what you're thinking at this point, I'm not a Scrooge. You absolutely need to enjoy the season and the down time that comes with it. Your mind and body will benefit big time from the rest. Just promise me you won't allow yourself to turn into a Christmas sloth!
12. Pick a Cheat Day
Each week, pick ONE day that can be a cheat day where you don't count calories, worry about tipping back an extra glass of Pinot Noir or taking that last sugar cookie. Use the day when you know you'll be at a party and your diet is at risk. Just don't let December become cheat month, like so many people do. "Screw it.....I'll diet in January" can't be your mantra.
Ok friends. You've got this. Get your Ugly sweaters and your Saucony's out and get ready to rock December. Surviving the holidays in good running shape is possible if you stay focused!
Need some good reading this month? SOUL RUNNER is now available on Amazon.