It seems like every time I pop on to twitter or any other social media site, that I'm seeing an article about how to 'survive the holidays.' I especially enjoyed reading Susan Lacke's piece: 'The War on Christmas Cookies.' Not because it told me how many miles I needed to run in order to enjoy my Christmas cookies, but because it told me to ENJOY my Christmas cookies! I do think that this time of the year can be tough, especially for multi sport athletes who love training plans, two-a-days, and energy gels. However, I believe that there are a few things that we can do to set ourselves up for success - both mentally and physically.
- Manage YOUR expectations. Don't plan a 16 hour training week when you have 4 holiday parties to attend. Don't schedule a 4 hour long ride on Saturday when you have a house to decorate with your wife. It's simple, set yourself up for success by setting reasonable expectations.
- Pick A goal. Here, I would emphasize the 'A.' I find that it isn't realistic to shoot for 10k of swimming, 30 miles of running, and 6 hours of riding this time of year. Why not pick one of those - and make sure to absolutely nail it.
- Remember that you aren't racing for awhile. This ties into #1, this time of the year we should be focused on building up general fitness but also giving ourselves a mental and physical break, emphasis on 'we should.' This helps me be OK with shortening my rides/runs to prioritize family/fun.
- Quality > Quantity. With race season being months away, this is a great time to work on your upper-end fitness. Make the most of the time that you have, even if that means a 30 minute hard workout on the trainer rather than the hopeful 90 minute tempo ride.
- Eat some cookies! Susan said it best: "Exercise is fun. So is eating. Find a healthy balance of both over the course of the year, and we'll all be fine."
I hope this article finds you well and can give you the willpower to enjoy the holiday season while finding a healthy balance with your training. If you end up putting on a pound or two, we all know they will fly off when January kicks in and we kick ourselves into gear.