Athlete’s survival guide to the holiday season
Ah the holiday season – a chance to take a well earned break from work and eat/drink to excess – but for the triathlete it is time of angst! This angst is borne out of the classic inner battle between the “mini devil” on one shoulder telling us to be as decadent as the next person and the “mini angel” on the other shoulder warning of how much fitness we will lose if we stop training for a second!
The good news is that it is not that black and white – so to help you rid yourself of any internal dilemmas – I give you the smartendurance solutions guide to surviving the holiday season!
Do keep (light) training: For my squad I typically treat the holiday weeks as additional recovery weeks – where we have light sessions to keep the body ticking over and extra days off to allow people participate in the festivities with family/friends.
Don’t overestimate the impact of some dedicated time off: A key thing to note is you will not lose months of fitness from taking a few days off over the holidays – so do relax and hide the swimming trunks/bike/runners for a few days and just enjoy the down time.
Do eat/drink and be merry: As part of your downtime, relax on your diet restrictions! We are typically very disciplined for 90% of the year – just enjoy some guilt free freedom – any extra calories consumed will be shifted in January! Besides you do not want to be that awkward person at the table making others feel guilty as you insist on eating broccoli for desert.
Do commit to a festive race/challenge: For motivation purposes – try to find a festive running race like a Turkey trot/Stephens day 5km race, which ties you down to a certain time/place and go for it. You will feel great (and somewhat smug) when you return home with a new race medal ready for lunch!
No races around – no problem – create your own holiday themed challenge with friends – the 12 climbs of Christmas, an advent calendar swim set etc!
Do have an end date in mind: To keep your inner triathlete sane – have a firm date in mind when the fun stops and the structured training resumes. This will be probably dictated by the end of vacation time, pool opening times but having the date in mind will keep the guilt pangs at bay when you know it is only a short time in a long season.
Plan/visualize/goal map: As it is unusual for us to not be running from work/family to the next training session – use the time off to look ahead to next season and map out/plan some goals/milestones along the way and what you need to achieve them. So come the end of the holidays – you should be physically refreshed, mentally charged up, clear on the plan and chomping at the bit to get training!
Happy holidays folks!!!
Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his greatest source of satisfaction came from his 15 years of endurance racing including numerous IRONMAN finishes and world championship qualifications
Realising this fact, Steven abandoned his cubicle and moved into full time coaching. Steven is now Ironman U, ITU and Training Peaks level 2 certified and in 2017, was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year.
Browse his pre-built training plans by clicking here or if you have triathlon queries you can contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org