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Friday, December 09th, 2011

By Olympian Jeff Galloway

It’s possible to keep on your fitness track, during holiday distractions. Even very short workouts on maintenance days can maintain your conditioning, 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 runs each week. By looking ahead, each day, you will become more focused and are more likely to make time if you have them scheduled.

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 most beneficial component in exercise.  Runners and walkers find that the long one is the key to finishing the goal race or resuming a regular program after the holiday period.  My MENTAL TRAINING book ( explains the process of having a cognitive strategy. Depending upon the schedule, you will only have do a longer workout every 14-21 days. With the conservative pace suggested and and early start, most  can do all of the activities needed during this busy time.

Minimal training will maintain your adaptations and release stress

Practically everyone experiences stress during the holidays. By moving your legs–even for a few minutes–you will improve your attitude, increase vitality, and feel better about yourself. Even a short session of 5-10 minutes can help you focus on priorities on a busy day, and maintain your adaptations. Once out there, you are likely to go for 20-30 minutes and maintain conditioning.

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 runners avoid deprivation binges later. Writing down what you eat has been shown to reduce consumption of junk foods. See A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO FAT-BURNING for more proven tips in this area.

When the weather is not ideal

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.

Stage social runs 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.


NOTE: Olympian Jeff Galloway has coached over a million exercisers through his fitness retreats (Florida, Tahoe, Carmel, Highlands NC) Galloway Training Programs (90 cities), clinics such as those at the RunDisney events and Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer , and books.