Saturday, 4th February 2023
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Christmas Crackers

by Martin Yelling
Friday 10th December 2010
Bored of turkey? Stuffed with mince pies? MARTIN YELLING reveals how to survive the festive season with his ‘lifesaving’ tips and cracking Christmas workouts

With the festivities and frolics of Christmas nearly here, it’s about time you had a think about how, where and if your running is going to fit in. The festive holiday period usually means a little extra time off work but often the reality is more time spent travelling, shopping, wrapping and worrying about oven times than run times!

Whether you are trying to juggle your spring marathon training or simply keep up your regular running routine, it’s important to acknowledge the change in workload, family commitments and social engagements and tweak your running to find balance with everything going on - without losing a grip on your training, your goals or your sanity!

Whether you are a first-time novice runner, a regular recreational runner or a bit of an experienced speedster it’s all about integrating your running with your other festive commitments at this busy time.

Christmas Crackers

Here are some festive tips for surviving the Christmas festivities with your running intact!


Kick coughs and colds!

Holidays, office parties, family gatherings and other social get-togethers are perfect germ swapping occasions. Being ill over Christmas is not good in anyone’s books. Washing your hands regularly, staying well hydrated (with water not alcohol!) and not getting over-stressed or overtired will help you combat the dreaded festive lurgy.


Stuff the turkey, not yourself

Christmas is a time for too many mince pies, a little wine indulgence, time with loved ones, family and friends and of course turkey with everything! Reaching for another sausage roll, savoury bite or sweet treat over the festive period isn’t going to ruin your fitness or your waistline. A healthy diet is all about ‘everything in moderation’ so take care not to over-eat or drink too much mulled wine.


Let yourself go

Try and put aside a little time each day to relax. With so much going on around Christmas, it’s easy to keep piling on the personal pressure and burn the candle at both ends. As little as 10 minutes a day of relaxing downtime can help you meet the demands of a busy Christmas and feel more ready, focused and sharp for your training and meeting the in-laws!


Sleep tight

Sleep is the best form of rest and recovery so don’t neglect it. Too many late nights and not enough quality sleep will leave you feeling groggy and grumpy instead of fresh, excited and ready to have fun. Try and grab an early night in the lead up to Christmas at least on one night of the week.


Plan and protect

It may sound dull, but identifying a time to run in your week will definitely help you protect your opportunity to run. This might not be the same time you’d normally run at. It may involve getting up extra early so you can get your run done and your final last minute shopping in, or fitting in your run around family and other festive commitments. Scheduling your run time in advance will mean you are more likely to stick to it.


Bag a set of quick workouts

Don’t banish your running shoes to the wardrobe this Christmas. Instead plan in fewer, shorter, focused runs that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalised and ready to tackle the turkey, kids, parents, crackers, presents, and everything else!


• to read the full feature, see this month's issue of Running fitness


About The Author

Martin Yelling

Martin Yelling used to do a lot more running that he does now.   He once sneaked a AAA’s medal over 1500m, finished in the top 10 in the National XC, clocked some sub 30min 10k’s and even won a few races. 

Once his legs stopped enjoying the pounding quite so much switched to multisport and won the British elite duathlon championships a couple of times, competed at some scarily fast world championships events, came top 15 at Ironman Switzerland and bagged the big one in Kona. 

Now he enjoys running on leafy trails, trying (and failing) to keep up with his wife (2xOlympic marathon runner Liz Yelling), and helping coach runners and triathletes of all standards achieve things they’d previously thought impossible.  He also likes trying to paddleboard, eating the same amount as he used to when training very hard and smiling. www.lizyelling.com


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