Running training and Christmas aren't ex exactly a match made in heaven. One is an often solitary pursuit based around lots of, you guessed it - running and keeping an eye on what goes in your mouth and when. The other however is more about socialising, relaxing and filling up on festive food and drink hopefully in front of a roaring fire.
But just because running and Christmas aren't exactly bedfellows doesn't mean that you have to hang up your trainers for the last two weeks of December for fear of being labelled a Grinch. Or even that you have to abstain from all the festive fun just to get your miles in.
Here's how to enjoy yourself this Christmas on and off the trails!
Getting out on the muddy trails and going hard is super fun. Well it's fun until it isn't and going hard every single time is a surefire way to get burned out and even seriously hurt. You have to take it easy every now and then to allow your body to recover and cutting back on both frequency and intensity of training sessions is a must if you want to stay healthy.
If recovery is something that you have been neglecting lately, then the Christmas period is a perfect opportunity to take it a little easier and come back fresher and faster in the new year.
With a little forethought you can find time to train even in the busiest of schedules. It's all about planning ahead, look at your calendar see what you have on and plan your training around that. If something pops up and you have to miss an occasional session don't stress and if you find yourself with a spare hour lace up those shoes!
For most of us Christmas is a time of indulgence, as far as the eye can see there are pigs in blankets, advent calendars and chocolate oranges (and chocolate orange Flapjacks too...).
Even if you're super disciplined on the food front normally the festive season can be tricky to stay on track. Instead of fighting it tooth and nail, making yourself miserable in the process, just eat the delicious stuff you love in moderation where possible and leave those unloved chocolates at the bottom of the Roses tin for someone else.
There is nothing quite like the long run. Both from a beneficial training aspect and from the pure enjoyment that it gives to those of us who love running. Sadly however three hours out alone on the trails might not always be on the cards as the 25th draws nearer.
Instead do what you can when you can, don't have three hours? Fine go do a 45 minute speed session. Don't have 45 minutes? Do twenty minutes of hill sprints instead. And even if you only have five or ten minutes you can always find time for a few stretches or a quick bit of yoga!
This might be the last point but it's by far the most important. Do what makes you happy. If going out and running 10 miles at six am on any day, including Christmas Morning makes you feel good then have at it. By the same token if sitting in your pjs watching elf and eating mince pies sounds like your perfect day, then do exactly that.
One run won't make you faster and one missed session won't make you slower.