Mission to Marathon: Getting Through The Holiday Season

It seems like every year the holidays arrive faster and faster!  The food, the parties, the shopping…it’s SO easy to get off track in the next few months.  This can be hard for so many people to manage and since there are so many races coming up (WDW Marathon Weekend in January!), it’s important to do your best to stay on track.  Hannah is back with more GREAT tips and this month they are on how to survive the upcoming holidays.  


Every single time I am training for something far away I feel like I start training at the beginning and have amazing intentions to get every training run in and be so strong for the race. Then before I know it, training is half (or entirely) over and I’ve been terrible about keeping on track and am nowhere near ready for my race. Guess this time isn’t any different. At least I’m realizing it now and can make some improvements to get myself back on track. If you are having trouble keeping on track with your training feel free to leave a comment to reach out to me and maybe we can work on things together.

This post is about all the crazy temptations that might interfere with your training as you venture through the holiday season and some tips on how to muscle through them and still get done what you need done to finish your race.

PROBLEM #1: A Full Schedule

This is probably the hardest one for me. Year-round I feel like I will look at my calendar and say “I have something the next two weekends, but then I’m wide-open for X number of weeks.” Then I go to bed and wake up the next day and I’m booked solid for 6 months. Does this happen to anyone else?


Here’s how I’m handling it this year…

– Block off your training on your schedule WELL in advance (mine has been on my calendar since summer and I sit down and look at my calendar once a week to keep myself on track and adjust training days/mileage as needed so I am at least getting on my feet and getting runs in, even if they aren’t “full” runs).

– Tell your family and friends. Tell them you are training for a race and send them your training schedule. Let them know well in advance the dates that you are NOT available because you have to get your run in. They will understand if you are open and honest. And if they don’t, well its their problem.

PROBLEM #2: A Full Belly

Actually its the temptation of all the delicious holiday foods that is really the problem. Avoiding a belly full of junk food and foods that make you slumpy and irritable.


Here’s how I’m handling it this year …

– Eat healthier on days/meals when you have control over what’s on your plate. For me this means we’ll be eating VERY clean and healthy on weekdays and for meals we control on the weekends. That means for weeknights we are cutting out as much processed food as possible, dropping refined breads, cutting back on starches for breakfast and dinner, and adding in TONS of veggies, lean meats, and healthy fats.

– Add to the meal. When you are going to a party or dinner with family or friends, offer to bring a dish and then bring one that is healthy and within the confines of what you like to eat. A vegetable tray or roasted vegetable salad is a great option to add to the mix for almost ANY meal. Just be sure to check with your host and if necessary explain your situation. Also, try to let the host know as far in advance as you are able to. As a frequent host of dinner parties, getting a call three hours before dinner is NOT enough time for me to accommodate a meal addition. I will kindly, gently, politely, accept and pretend like I understand, but my poor husband will have to deal with my rant about how my DETAILED DINNER PLAN has been ruined…just saying.

PROBLEM #3: Weather issues

I have mentioned this previously in posts about getting the right gear for all weather running and about dealing with excuses, but if had a winter like we did last year, you’ll know that even some things are outside of your control.


Here’s how I’m dealing with it this year …

– Have a flexible training schedule. You don’t need to stick to your training schedule exactly. If you are following the Jeff Galloway plan provided by Disney you are doing 3-4 runs a week. The longest run of the week is probably the most important, and if you are doing a back-to-back race like Goofy or Dopey, then getting a few back to back training runs in, is probably the second most important. Your weeknight runs are ones that COULD be moved or removed, if necessary due to weather issues. I’m not suggesting you cut them out all the time, but missing one or two weeknight runs will not ruin your overall training.

– Get creative with your workouts. If you are going to miss a training run, for whatever reason, try to do some other beneficial work-out to fill in. If you can’t make it to the gym for the treadmill or don’t have ice running shoes, then you probably aren’t headed out for a 45 min weeknight run. Instead, do a strength workout or spend a LOOONG time rolling out your muscles with a foam roller and stretching with some yoga. At least you are doing something beneficial for your overall training.

PROBLEM #4: Guilt

No matter how much you do with planning ahead and making sure you have everything in order, things do not work out as planned…ever. Then you feel bad that you haven’t done the training, or eat a HUGE meal an feel terrible, or indulge in the alcohol a bit too much.


Here’s how I’m dealing with it this year …

Let the guilt go. Things won’t go as planned and that’s just life. I’m just letting it all go. I’ll do what I can and do my best. My old boss used to say “sometimes you have to redefine what a win is” and that’s the truth.

Here’s my November 2014 Run Training Plan!

19 – Week Nov 3: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 8.5 miles; Sunday 20 miles

20 – Week Nov 10: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 6 miles

21 – Week Nov 17: Tuesday and Thursday 1 hour; Saturday 7 miles

22 – Week Nov 24: Tuesday and Thursday 45 mins; Saturday 10 miles; Sunday 23 miles

Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at www.workorrun.com, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

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