How to survive the season
Whether you stand on the side-lines or throw yourself head first into the seasons festivities, December and especially Christmas can take its’ toll on your training.
However dedicated to our running, fitness and healthy lifestyles, at this time of year, we’re all suckers for indulgence
Whilst it’s great to let your hair down once in a while, I find over indulgence for the entire month of December (and hands up if you started the season early … sometime around spring!) can have a massive impact on the food I eat, the running I do and therefore my fitness.
We eat and spend too much, and exercise and sleep too little
Come January, when spring marathon training starts, if you’re not careful you can start the month (and your marathon training) feeling slow and sluggish, heavier on the scales, burnt out and totally exhausted.
As Cheesecake Runner I don't believe the occasional indulgence is bad. I’ve worked hard all year and it’s important to have some down time from training and ‘compulsively eating bananas’, but I try to (and don’t always succeed) in doing so in moderation.
This is how Cheesecake Runner Survives the Season
With food everywhere it’s tempting to constantly graze and nibble, especially mid afternoon … with a tray of mince pies and sausage rolls doing the rounds in the office you suddenly realise you're hungry.
But very often what you think is hunger is a signal that you're thirsty.
Make sure, even through winter, you’re drinking enough water (coffee, tea and other non alcoholic drinks count too), so you don’t go naughty on nibbles
It’s the time of year for parties and meet up’s with friends. And I love a drink as much as the next runner! To help me moderate my hangover I always make sure I’m well hydrated before I start a marathon party session, so I don’t overdo the booze trying to hydrate as soon as someone hands me a beer!
I also make sure I’ve ‘lined my stomach’, eaten a carb rich meal, before heading out. That way I’ll slow the adsorption of alcohol into my system and stop me grazing on fatty ‘beige food’ latter.
I also try to drink a glass of water with or between each alcoholic drink to help reduce my overall alcohol intake, and as soon as I’m home I’ll drink a pint of water before bed. That’ll go some way to reducing the chances of a stonking hangover the next day.
When I’m in marathon training mode I often take months off the booze so I don’t add unnecessary calories into my diet. I’ll be back training in January, but to be sure I don’t pile on the calories I try to make good booze decisions during December.
Booze binges can make a significant contribution to a calorie catastrophe at Christmas, and a large red can be close to 300 calories (that’s 30 minutes running), so watch what you're drinking!
Also watch out for festive coffees with lashings of cream, syrups and sprinkle-ey sparkles. They might be delicious but they contain horrendous amounts of sugar fat and calories. Save them to be an occasional treat, rather than your go-to coffee shop drink.
Whilst we’re on the subject of sprinkles and sparkles, it’s so easy at this time of year to load up your shopping basket with festive foods and over packaged tempting treats.
Don’t get caught up in the carnage and get carried away with chocolate!
There really is no reason to panic buy for ‘the big day’. It’s one meal folks, a Sunday roast on a Monday. No big deal! Don’t get dominated by the supermarket demons before the big day.
Stick to a plan and it’ll be delicious
That way you won’t be over burdening the bin men with uneaten sprouts and more rotten food than you ever needed! If you feel compelled to buy, donate it (in anticipation of it being eventually trashed) to a food bank for people who could really do with food support.
And on the big day itself practise mindful eating
Slow down and savour your food and drink. If you’re going to indulge in something, then make sure you really enjoy it.
Finally, the days may be colder but getting out for a short run every now and then (whilst the in-laws and out-laws are napping is good time).
Or take the whole family out for a long walk in the fresh air, it can be a great way to refresh and recharge and antidote to the stress of '4-walls-syndrome'
Spending hours and hours in front of the telly with a tin of quality street and bucket of Baileys might sound great, but it won’t do much for your fitness and general wellbeing. So get out there, get some fresh air and recharge … so you’ll be ready to run come the new year.
Hope that’s given you some seasonal food for thought.
Helen, The Cheesecake Runner x
PS If you or a friend is running a marathon next spring and stuck for a Christmas gift, why not give the gift of training! Get Marathon Get Ready Game Plan, my marathon training plan plus bags of training goodies. The perfect gift for a new marathon runner this year.
Click HERE to buy now.