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Sunday, December 06th, 2009

Holiday Training Tips–by Olympian Jeff Galloway

It’s possible to keep on track for the your training goals, even with holiday distractions. Here are some tips that have helped many runners maintain conditioning even with holiday temptations. You’d be surprised, but even very short workouts on maintenance days can relieve stress, inject more energy and allow you to feel better during holiday festivities.

Plan Ahead

Write your workouts on a calendar, for the entire holiday period. Just having a plan tends to result in more workouts each week. By looking ahead, each day, you will become more focused and are more likely to make time for your scheduled exercise sessions.

Pick quiet times

Family members tend to sleep later during the holidays. By getting up and out the door early, you can finish your workout before others arise. Each day, look at the time periods that would be open for exercise.

Focus on the long ones

Endurance is the key to finishing your workout or event with strength and power. Runners or walkers, for example, should focus on getting in the long ones as a top priority. Depending upon the program, these are usually done every 14-21 days. If you have to go slower or take more rest breaks, do it. Your only mission is to “go the distance”.

Release stress with a short run or walk

Practically everyone experiences stress during the holidays. Exercise improves your attitude, increases vitality, and helps you feel better about yourself. Even a short session of 5-10 minutes can help you focus on priorities, on a busy day.

Minimal training will maintain your adaptations

When you don’t have much time, and you are scheduled for a “maintenance run or walk”, just go for 5 minutes. If you get out for 5 minutes you will probably continue for 10 or 15, which will maintain the adaptations in your feet and legs between the long runs.

Don’t be obsessive about food

If you don’t have the perfect diet during the holidays, you won’t lose any fitness. While eating a lot of sugar /fat is not the best diet, you can burn it off as you exercise. If you tell yourself that you will never eat another holiday cookie, you’ll probably be good until that day when there’s no one around—and it’s you and the cookies. If you sample and just taste foods that you like, many folks avoid deprivation binges later.

Stage social runs/walks with friends/family

When you have folks gathering from other areas, schedule a walk or run together. This promotes sharing of lives, stories, while bestowing an attitude boost. Besides, you might pick up some good gossip.

Get a massage

After a tough day or any workout, I’ve not found anything better than getting a massage in a Human Touch massage chair. It enhances the experience and sets you up for the rest of your day or evening.

When the weather is not ideal

Get to the mall before the stores open and walk (or run if possible). This will give you a preview of the sale items, while you get in some exercise. Treadmills are a suitable substitute if the weather is austere. Some runners will warm up with indoor exercise, then run or walk outside for 5-10 minutes and continue to alternate out and in.

JG head shot webNext Month: It’s Not “Over” If You Miss A Key workout

Note: Olympian Jeff Galloway has coached over a million runners and walkers through his running schools, Florida beach and Tahoe retreats, books and training programs—which are fun and offer individualized coaching from Jeff. Subscribe to his free newsletter and blog at