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Staying (relatively) fit through the holidays


AP Photo/Larry Crowe

Cookies, candy, cocktails.  They're everywhere you turn this week.  From your office's chocolate bowl to your family not understanding why you need to get that run in, it's almost impossible to stay on your training plan through the last few weeks of December. 

It's OK  to take some time off says USA Triathlon and USA Cycling Coach Eric Ewan.  "It's very important to have time some time away from the sport and with your family and friends.  The holidays are a great way to rejuvenate and find some balance with everyone you care about."

Ewan suggests that you have a training goal through the holidays, "but don't beat yourself up if you don't get everything in. If you can get even a couple of workouts in each week during the holidays, that's  great.  Your fitness will not suffer and the downtime will not change next season at all."  In fact, Ewan stresses,  it might make it better because you gave your body and mind a chance to recover.

Chad Correll, USA Cycling Coach, suggests that this time of year is a great time of year to "workout so you can eat."  He explains that:  "It's really tough to make fitness gains during the holiday season, so I like to tell to my athletes to try to get the workouts in just to ease their guilt about holiday eating."

And what about all that food?  Sarah Gottlieb, Registered Dietitian at East Bank Club suggests you plan out your splurges during the holidays.  "It's OK to splurge on your favorite peanut butter cookies that your mom bakes once a year.  But, do your best to splurge on the special things during the holiday season and not the things you can have any time during the year."   Still feeling guilty?   "You are athletic, you work out all the time, and a couple well planned out splurges that  make you happy are not the end of the world, and will not affect next season's races, " says Gottlieb. 

Here are some additional tips to help you make it through the next few weeks:

  • Make an effort to do something.  A 2 mile run is better than nothing.  If all you've got is a spare 15 minutes while the cookies are baking, go for a quick run, or do some core work.
  • Make smart food choices when you can.  A lot of the next two weeks is business as usual.  Keep to your healthy eating plan as much as you can.
  • Don't beat yourself up.  It's the time of year when we feast to celebrate our friends, families and our great accomplishments.  Take the time to enjoy yourself and reward yourself for all your hard work and dedication.  You'll be more likely to dive into next season's dedicated training plan if you allow yourself some down-time now. 

Happy Holidays!

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