I love this time of year. And although I'm not a big fan of the whole Christmas scene (gasp, I know), there's just something about December that really excites me. Lots to do, plenty of togetherness and family time, and a chance to mentally wrap up the old and prepare for the new. I love it.
But as much as I love the busy-ness that comes with this time of year, being too busy can ironically also cause me to skimp on the one thing that keeps me sane through it all: Running. Because, let's be honest: What's easier to skip - a run or a Christmas party? I know. So over the years I've found five easy ways to make running a part of the December madness - I hope they work for you too!
1. Run and done
This is by far the most effective and hassle-free way to get in a holiday run: Get up early and get it done! For me nothing can be easier or simpler than getting up early, getting (only myself...!) dressed and sneaking out the door while Will and the kids are still asleep. They usually awake from their slumber just as I get back from my run, which means that I get the benefit of endorphins with zero impact on family time. Boom!
2. Family fun
Instead of sleeping in on holiday weekends, why not have some active family fun? In our home my better half usually needs a bit of convincing that this is actually a good idea (ahem, Honey), but the kids are always super keen. That's three against one, right? So why not head to your local parkrun for a quick family 5 k on a Saturday morning? And what can be better than grabbing some post-run smoothies or acai bowls afterwards? Family time and running in one. (Plus, can I share a secret? Early weekend mornings usually lead to pooped families and afternoon naps for all - bonus!)
3. Create active holiday traditions
Instead of skimping on running over the holidays, why not create some holiday family traditions involving running? In our community there is a whole string of holiday-themed fun runs/walks being advertised right now - grab the kids, dress up as Santa/elves/reindeer and get moving! Make it an annual tradition and see if you can better your times each year, or see who comes up with the most creative costumes. Take the focus off the Christmas pud and put it on some healthy fun with friends and family instead!
4. Run your errands. Literally.
Suddenly run out of milk/bread/a sense of humour? Volunteer to go get what's necessary and use your running shoes to get you there. Then return home with what's needed, plus the added bonus of a clear head and a bloodstream full of endorphins - it's a win/win for all.
And last, but not least, it's my experience that holidays just aren't the time for peak training. Sure, maintain your fitness or build a steady base, but leave the serious stuff for later. Your sanity and your family will thank you!
Happy December, everyone! Hope it's a great one!