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Keep Running During the Holiday Season

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Updated November 07, 2013

Maintaining a regular running schedule is hard enough, but throw in some parties, shopping, food preparation, out-of-town guests, and other holiday craziness, and it may seem near impossible to find time for runs. Follow these tips to make sure you keep running during the holiday season:

Schedule your runs.

Training schedule
Christine Luff
Your calendar gets more packed during the holiday season, but you should try to make running a priority. Take a look at your week and write down when you think you'll be able to squeeze in runs, just like you would other appointments. If you have runs scheduled, you're more likely to get them done.

Don't let cold weather be an excuse.

Woman running on snow
Photo by Jordan Siemens
Running can actually be fun and enjoyable in the colder weather, as long as you're prepared with the proper winter running clothes and follow safety tips for running in the cold.
More: Beat Your Excuses for Not Running
How to Winter-Proof Your Workouts

Be prepared with a home workout.

Abdominal Crunch on Fitness Ball
Photo by Paul Burns
Create a home workout routine for those times you can't make it to the gym. Crunches, push-ups, and many other exercises can be done without any gym equipment. Running up and down the stairs is a great cardio workout.

More: Inexpensive Home Gym Equipment

Add some holiday cheer to your runs.

Santa runners
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Infusing some holiday spirit into your runs will give you a little motivation boost.  Wear a Santa hat or reindeer ears during your run. Go for an evening run (but make sure you can be seen in the dark, of course) to check out the neighborhood holiday lights. Listen to some holiday running songs during your treadmill runs.

Be flexible with your schedule.

night running
Photo by Scott Markewitz
Your days get busier during the holiday season, so you may need to make changes to your regular running routine. If you normally run after work, but you have a holiday party to attend in the evening, wake up an hour early and go for a run before work.

Redefine your workout.

Treadmill running
Photo by Andersen Ross
Prepare to be flexible about the time and distance of your runs, too. Remember that a 20-minute run is better than skipping your run altogether, so don't miss your run just because you won't have time to run what you had originally planned. Even doing a very short run on the treadmill will help you maintain your running habit through the holidays.

Run a holiday race.

Runners Legs in Race
Werner Dieterich
There are lots of fun races during the holiday season, from turkey trots to jingle bell runs. Find a race near you and put it on your calendar. Having an upcoming race will keep you motivated to continue running. Try to recruit some friends and family, too, so you can have a fun holiday outing together.

Get the family to join you.

Couple running on snow
Photo by altrendo images
If you're staying at your relatives and you're concerned that you'll seem selfish or rude for taking time to run, ask if anyone in the family wants to run with you. You may have to run a slower pace than you're used to, but use it as a recovery run. Even if no one else in the family runs, you can head to a local trail or track and see if anyone wants to walk while you run. Going for a run or enjoying the outdoors together could be a great bonding experience.

More: Keep Running When Staying With Relatives

Don't sweat a missed run.

Don't beat yourself up if you don't have time or energy for a run. Just because you missed a run, don't use it as an excuse to throw in the towel and forget about your workout plans during the holiday season. Get right back with your program, forget about your missed run, and move on.
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