How to Keep Running Through the Holiday Season

The holidays are fast approaching—are you prepared to stick to your running schedule?

Festive gatherings, family obligations and an abundance of fattening foods can make it extremely challenging to find the time and motivation to run all through the holiday season. But this year, you don’t need to let these things sabotage your running workouts.

The holidays are notoriously busy for almost everyone. With so many obligations, it’s easy to think of running as just another chore on your mounting list of things to do.

With the right holiday running game plan, you can escape the dreaded holiday weight gain and feel energized all winter long. Here are a few winter running motivation tips to help you stick to your routine this year:

Remember the Benefits

The holidays are notoriously busy for almost everyone. With so many obligations, it’s easy to think of running as just another chore on your mounting list of things to do.

When you’re starting to feel this way, it’s important to remember what you stand to gain from running—especially when your schedule is packed and things begin feeling overwhelming.

For instance, research has repeatedly shown that running can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, both of which have a tendency to get worse around the holidays.

Running is also known to improve sleep, stabilize mood and even boost productivity. In other words, running can help you manage your hectic schedule and make you feel less busy.

Limit Your Indulgences

Eating poorly can make you feel bloated, fatigued and unmotivated to workout. Unfortunately, the holiday season is a constant barrage of food temptations.

To make things worse, this time of year often involves attending a string of holiday parties and events, turning one day of indulgence into a full week of poor eating. How can you limit your indulgences and stick to your running schedule?

The key to staying on track this year is to plan ahead. If you have a slew of holiday parties all in one week, pick one to indulge in and have a game plan for the others.

Consider eating prior to your other holiday parties to avoid giving into temptation. This will make it far easier to turn down your co-worker’s sweet potato casserole or delicious toffee.

Prep for Cold Weather

Nothing provides better winter running motivation than experiencing a true winter wonderland for the holidays. But as beautiful as this snowy landscape may be, it’s not always ideal for running.

To make getting out the door easier, remember to layer up in the right running gear. In addition to high-visibility running safety gear, you also need excellent base layers that wick moisture and keep you warm on the coldest days.

Running in snow, sleet and rain can be challenging, but the right gear can make you much less miserable. In fact, you might even get a deep sense of accomplishment from braving the cold.

Enlist Your Friends and Family

If you’re training for a half-marathon and need extra winter running motivation for the holidays, consider getting a friend or family member to hold you accountable. Better yet, find a friend who will run with you.

Running with a partner has multiple benefits. Not only are you less likely to skip your workouts, you’re also more likely to improve with a running partner.

A great partner can help you set the perfect pace, improve your form, and be a much-need source of motivation during the holiday season. Plus, running with a partner is safer than running alone—especially for women.

Man Running Mountain margin-top

Eliminate Your All-or-Nothing Attitude

When it comes to our running workouts, many of us have a bad habit of developing an all-or-nothing attitude. How often have you skipped a workout, simply because you only had 15 minutes to run?

Sure, it may not be enough time to do the five-mile run you had planned—but you can still reap the benefits with small bursts of energy.

According to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, short bouts of exercise reaped just as many health benefits as longer workout sessions, so long as they added up to 30 minutes per day.

Other studies have found that just 10 minutes of exercise by itself can boost your fitness. Even if your schedule is packed, sneaking in a short run can help keep you on track through the holiday season.

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