The Runners’ Guide to Christmas

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Ah, the festive season – a time for family, food and, err…running?

We admit it: running might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think about Christmas, but it’s important not to let your running routine completely slide over the festive period – otherwise you’ll find it seriously tough going to pick things up again in the New Year.

So how can runners make the most of this magical time without completely losing the running plot? Well, with three very simple tips, that’s how. Read our runners’ guide to Christmas for the lowdown…

Bring on Christmas dinner – the healthy version, that is

It might surprise you to learn that a traditional Christmas dinner isn’t as indulgent as you might think – and, with a few little tweaks, can actually count as great fuel for running.

Tucking into turkey or nut roast? Both are a great source of protein and are packed with vitamins, too. Getting the cranberry sauce out of the fridge? Cranberries contain zero fat and reduce inflammation, so go ahead – or, even better, avoid the added sugar and make your own. Go heavy on the veg and lighter on the not-so-healthy trimmings – so limit the roasties and the pigs in blankets and you’re heading into healthy Christmas dinner territory.

Then there’s alcohol. Many of us enjoy a tipple or two over Christmas, but watching your alcohol intake and perhaps even trying out a few healthy booze-free alternatives – who knew a super-healthy turmeric latte tasted so much like the coffeeshop gingerbread versions? – will mean you avoid the hangover and feel more inclined to head out for a run.

Get creative with your Christmas list

Been a good boy or girl this year? Then you definitely deserve some running-inspired treats. Finding sweets like jelly babies instead of chocolates in your stocking means you can tuck them into your pocket ahead of a long run for an energy boost just when you need it. Or ask Santa for some Epsom salts – perfect for pouring into a hot bath and easing those aching muscles.

And if you’ve really impressed Father Christmas this year, consider asking for some bigger running-related gifts to keep you motivated to train. How about a medal hanger, a high vis top or head torch for wintry runs or even a GPS watch – what better way to motivate you than some snazzy new technology?

Mix up your running routine

There’s no doubt about it: Christmas brings a change to rhythms and routines, and that includes running routines. The only way around it? Plan – even if it means heading out for unusually early or late runs, using your lunchtimes or making running plans with others to keep you accountable. You could even enter a festive running event or a virtual running event – a quick Google will throw up races near you, and having something in the diary is a great way to encourage you to keep up with your training.

Merry Christmas, one and all – and happy running!

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