Navigating Training During the Holiday Season

Navigating Training during the Holiday Season
Hi everyone! Today I’m enjoying our last day at Yosemite, so my dear friend, fellow runner, and insanely talented blogger and coach Susie from is guest posting! She’s one of the funniest, most intelligent, and most authentic people I know. If you don’t already read her blog, start now! Today, Susie is going to offer you tips on navigating training during the holiday season! 
Hi Everyone! I am so excited to be here guest posting for Laura, one of my best and most respected running, blogging, and coaching friends. Girl knows her stuff! For those who don’t know me, my name is Susie, and I claim the little slice of internet called Suzlyfe. Suzlyfe is a running, fitness, and healthy life blog written with the intention to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectation! I am also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Now, enough about me, let’s talk training!
Navigating Training during the Holiday Season
Specifically, training through the holidays. Let’s be honest, though we are not really in the meat of the main spring race training season yet, there is always a race going on or goal that we are targeting, and that means that training never stops. And just as training doesn’t stop for life, life doesn’t stop for training… which is a big problem during the holiday season. During this amazing, magical, and celebratory time, you will be wearing fancy shoes, eating fancy foods, drinking fancy drinks, and going to fancy parties (and I don’t know about you, but the rest of the year, my idea of fancy is simply changing out of my running clothes. Or putting on newer, cleaner workout gear). 
Not to mention the scheduling. And the guilt-tripping/lack of understanding that no, you can’t simply forgo a 20 miler because Auntie thinks this running thing is silly.
And the weather? Well, there have been days when I have been in a long sleeved t-shirt and vest on Christmas, and others where the same calendar day brought with it several inches, if not feet, of snow. 
So how do you navigate life, parties, and weather and still get in high-quality training, and how do you do so without being “that person?” Not that there is anything wrong with being that person (I often am), but you know what I mean!
Navigating Training during the Holiday Season

Navigating Training during the Holiday Season

1) Have a Reason, Don’t Make an Excuse

First of all, never apologize for your goals or your training. You are getting up that early because you have a reason to do so, just as they have a reason to sleep in if they so choose. You have a reason, you have a “why,” for doing this, and don’t forget it yourself when they start applying the pressure. 
Along similar lines, give yourself a reason that they can understand: a resolution run, or Santa Hussle. Something that you have paid for (or that you tell them you have), and then use that for a workout or incorporate it within a larger run. You can even get them to give it to you as a gift!

2) Plan Ahead and Accordingly

You know that you are going to be standing for hours on end on hard floors and in different types of shoes. If you are wearing boots or slacks that enable you to do so, wear compression socks underneath so that you can encourage fresh legs and good recovery. Put inserts into your fancy shoes and give your feet breaks throughout the night. Drink a glass of water for every “fun” drink, and make half of your plate vegetables (and no, mashed potatoes don’t count). Decide whether it is easier to batch visit (seeing one person after the other) or to visit people intermittently. And know that plans often go awry, so it is best to wake up and get your workout in than to leave it to later on in the day. 
Need help waking up early? Here’s some tips on how to become a morning runner
Don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling a 20 miler the day that you are supposed to be with family the whole time. That might be the day that you do a shorter workout or active rest. But also, don’t think that after a night of carousing that you are going to get up first thing in the cold and rock out that long run (if you do, I want to know your secret). 

3) Pack Accordingly

Take the appropriate clothing for wherever you are going to be. Don’t set yourself up for failure from the start! Make sure that your shoes, good running socks, the right tights/shorts, etc and your fuel make it into your bag. You want to get in HIGH quality training, right?

Navigating Training during the Holiday Season

4) Make it Count

Training should always be about high quality running, whether you are running “easy” or doing a hard workout day. This is especially so during the holidays, when you have precious time with precious people. 
Need a quick and effective run for the holidays? Try one of these five 40 minutes or shorter runs

5) Recruit a Partner!

There has to be someone, somewhere that you are going who also runs! Why not recruit them for a few of your easier miles or a gym session! They might like the chance to have someone else plan what they are doing, plus it is a great way to catch up with people you haven’t seen in ages. They might know a great trail or running path that you can check out. You don’t have to do this alone! Although I will say that I quite like the quiet time that running during the holidays affords me.
Navigating Training during the Holiday Season

6) Do Your Best

Training is not life. At the end of the day, running will forgive you, and you will get to run another day. You only get so many opportunities with your family (especially if you live far away). 

7) Ask for Help in Figuring it all Out

One of the key parts of my job as a running coach is helping my clients and athletes navigate these crazy sorts of times. I always ask for dates to avoid or plan around, such as travel dates or family gatherings. We work on strategies for navigating these times so that they don’t miss important workouts or miss out on time with their family. 
After all, it is the holidays. Don’t be a Scrooge! 
Like what I had to say and want to hear more? Come on over to and check out for more information on my running coach packages and to contact me directly. You can also find me on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook!
[Tweet “Yes, you can fit in your #running during the holiday season! @suzlyfe tells you how. #fitfluential #sweatpink #holidays @thisrunrecipes “]
Have a very Happy Holidays, and a successful and happy training!
How do you navigate training during the holidays?
Do you stick to a training plan or go with the flow during the holidays?

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17 Responses

  1. Love seeing you here!! And OMG yes to the crazy of planning training around the holidays. I try to take it one day at a time and know there will be days it just cannot happen, which is fine. I also take what I can get which sometimes means running with a much slower relative and for a much shorter time but I absolutely LOVE having company and getting it done with someone who I usually can’t run with.
    Great tips and tricks coach 🙂

    1. Isn’t Susie the best? The holidays are such a great time to enjoy a few miles with relatives. Love your attitude about running when you can and not stressing about it!

  2. There was only 1 year that I was training for a race during the holidays. I had to rearrange my schedule quite a bit but still managed to fit everything in. Now I just keep up with my workouts because it’s part of my routine! And luckily my family knows I need that time for myself.

  3. Great post Susie! I like all of these tips. One thing that I do is to get up early so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on all the family fun. If I go for a run before anyone else is even awake, I’m more likely to stick to my plan than if I just say I’ll go “whenever”. 3 eggnogs and a few cinnamon rolls later and I’m not leaving!

  4. I loved the idea of “having a reason”. For me, that reason is that I need it to keep stress free during the holiday season, no matter how hectic it gets!

  5. I’m one of those people that look forward to running during the holidays. Maybe I’m too self-absorbed to give an F what anyone thinks, but all I know is if I don’t get out for a run at some point each day, somebody’s gonna get hurt real bad.

  6. These are AWESOME tips! I love the idea of planning a race, so you have an understandable reason. Some people don’t get that it genuinely makes people happy to get up at the crack of dawn on a holiday to run ten miles. Haha!
    – If I can’t get out for a run due to the ice/snow, I bring along my cross training (Insanity) workouts or youtube videos and do cardio in the basement of my family’s home!
    – I try to improvise best I can! Learning to focus on the importance of memories and self forgiveness during those crazy times is so crucial!

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