Keeping to Your Training During the Holidays


Are you training for one or more of the races at Walt Disney World this January? The Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland?  Or another January half or full marathon? Well, if you are, then, you’re going to be hitting some of your big training runs over the holidays. Getting your training in when the calendar is crammed full of fun holiday offerings can be difficult. Over this past weekend, I’ve thought that I should share how I’m planning on getting through this season of distractions.


First thing, you need to look at both your social and training calendars to find potential conflicts. As you look at the calendar, remember that training should be a high priority. So, if there is something on your social calendar you could skip this year, do so. If not, try to find a way of re-arranging your training calendar to fit the social demands. Here’s how it’s worked for me.

Rebel Challenge Training 1

Here’s what the training schedule for the Star Wars Rebel Challenge looks like from the weekend of the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend through the opening weekend of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.


Well, week 9 was the week of the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge. So, I didn’t run 4 miles on the weekend with a Magic Mile. Instead, I ran 19.3 miles for the challenge. I’m used to this kind of change. So, it was no big deal.

Week 10 went off exactly as planned. However, here is where I had to make some adjustments. In Week 12 (this week), I’m singing in the Disneyland Candlelight Processional and am playing trumpet in the orchestra for a Christmas musical at the church I grew up attending on Sunday evening. I have a dress rehearsal at 9am in Long Beach for that on Saturday. The rehearsal ends at around noon, giving me just enough time to grab lunch and head over to Disneyland for Candlelight. Our call time is 2pm and I’ll be at Disneyland the rest of the day. The call time on Sunday is like 3pm. With that, I won’t have the time to run 3 miles on Saturday and 11 on Sunday.

Another problem weekend for me is Week 14. Not only is that the opening weekend of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but my nieces and nephew, along with my brother in law are coming to town from Houston for Christmas. So, making a 4 mile run on Saturday AND a 12.5 mile run on Sunday would be difficult to fit in. What did I do?


I moved my 3 mile and 11 mile weekend to Week 11 and my 4 mile and 12.5 mile weekend to Week 13. I did this because, if I was going to have back to back weekends of back to back runs, Thanksgiving Weekend seemed like the best time to do so. That meant I would have three weekends in a row with back to back long runs. Since I calendared for it in advance, it worked out alright. Since I have one recovery week between running 3/11 miles back to back, putting the 4/12.5 miles on week 13 also works.

Rebel Challenge Training 2

Then, I’ll have two weekends in a row with 6 mile recovery weekend runs and be back on track with the rest of the training up until Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!


Advance planning was also important for the mid-week runs. If you notice that you have a holiday party or other festivities to get to on a normal run day/night, you’ll need to make alterations to get those mid-week runs completed.

The past few weeks, I’ve had to veer away from my normal Tuesday/Thursday run nights. Last week, I had the regional rehearsal for Candlelight on Tuesday night. So, I decided to run on Monday and Wednesday evenings instead of Tuesday and Thursday. Even though that meant I’d be running on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, it all turned out okay.

This week, I’ve got the dress rehearsal for Candlelight at Disneyland on Thursday night. So, I’ll be going from work to Disneyland and not getting home until around 1 or 1:30am Friday morning. So, again, I had to alter my mid-week runs. I opted for a second week of running on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday so I could have my mid-week runs on Monday and Wednesday evenings. I’ll be taking Friday off from work because I don’t want to go from a late night at Disneyland to work the next morning. It also gives me time to do the chores I need to do on Friday and get a gym workout in. Then, I’ll run on Sunday morning and get all 4 workouts for the week.

The rest of the holidays don’t have conflicts in the middle of the week. So, once I get by this week, I should be good. Also, when my brother in law and his kiddos come to town, they know that I’ll need to run twice during the week. So, I’ll sacrifice some time with them.


Another thing to take into account is dressing warmer. After all, December is a colder month than many of the other months in the year. Even in Southern California, this month can get cold (for us). So, adding layers to your running gear is a must for survival. Runners World Magazine has this fantastic article about running in the cold weather months. Here is the advice about how to dress for cold weather:

30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, says Arribas, “Stay inside.”

As a Southern Californian, I don’t have to worry too much about this. However, I love being able to wear the long sleeved running shirts this time of year! I also have a compression long sleeved shirt that I can wear underneath a short sleeved shirt if that’s what I choose to wear for the run.

Chirstmas Cookies

The last think I want to mention in this blog about keeping your training going strong during the holidays is that we need to keep the calorie consumption under control. Going overboard in this time of year when there is so much temptation to do so will lead to weight gain and sluggish performance in our training runs and time cross training. Sluggish performances often lead to a loss of motivation to get out and train. Likewise, consistent training and maintaining your focus during this month will help you keep your food consumption under control. Does that mean you can’t indulge a little bit? No. However, check out this article in Competitor Magazine about how to keep your diet under control.

If you have some holiday cookies at the office as your snack, then don’t eat your usual snack in addition to it. Substitute some fun holiday foods and meals in for your regular meals – but not in addition to your regular meals.

This is my favorite tip in the article. If you think about the extras you consume during the holidays like this, I think it could go a long ways to help you from completely gorging yourself on holiday treats.

Another great source of information about how you should be eating can be found in this Runners World Magazine article.


Keep your eyes on the prize and you’ll find yourself happy you did on race weekend. These medals won’t earn themselves. You still have to do work in early January. Don’t let December derail your goals.


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