By Ambassador Matthew Carberry

Out of all the ridiculous phobias I suffer from, none afflict me more than the fear of the holiday season. The most wonderful time of the year? HAH! More like the most terrifying. I mean, how’s a runner supposed to train? Between the holiday parties, the marathon shopping, family get-togethers and the calories of the holiday feast, it’s a wonder any of us can even lift ourselves off the couch let alone keep up our training. The mere thought of convivial cacophony puts me into a full vertiginous panic! (deep breath)

Luckily, years of experience with holiday hi-jinks have taught me balance can be achieved during the holidays. Every runner feels the pressure at this time of year, but I’ve got a few simple tips that can help you survive the celebrations and keep you running on.

Plan Ahead
Seems simple doesn’t it? Well it is! Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle when it comes to the holidays. Is your company party going to go all night? Does Aunt Edna want you to wake up at 4 am for those sweet Black Friday deals? Figure out when you’re going to be free and pencil a run in. This includes where you’re running as well. Map the run out beforehand so you’re familiar with the territory and know about how long it’s going to take you to get done. That way, you know exactly how long you have before you have to take the kids to the mall.

Don’t Run so Far
It might be a tad difficult to consider, I mean you’re training for a marathon right now! However, the holidays are tough, and personally, I’d rather get a short run in than no run at all. Think of it this way, you’re really just looking to maintain yourself at this point, not drop a minute off of your fastest mile. Shorter runs also help you with that first piece of advice I gave you. You can run these a little faster, and be back home before Uncle Ted has time to lose the remote in the couch.

Cut Calories Where You Can, but don’t go crazy
Remember, this is the holidays. It’s supposed to be a time for fun and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with indulging a little bit. That being said, a fifth helping might be a tad past the line, so exercise common sense at the dinner table, but don’t be so afraid of that slice of pie.

Only Do What You Can
I cannot stress this enough. The holidays are a crazy time for everyone, so don’t think you have to do it all. Miss a day? Fine. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get out there tomorrow. Like I said, it’s all about balance, so don’t miss out on every opportunity to relax. Rest is just as important to training as running.

About the Author: Matthew Carberry

Matthew is a 27-year-old runner on a never ending quest for a healthier, happier life. Growing up in the Humble/Atascocita area, he was mostly inactive and overweight. It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that he found himself at a his most unhealthy and most unhappy state. Nervously, but intently, he began running and soon found himself completely enamored with running, not only for physical health, but for its cathartic properties as well. Since that point, he has lost nearly 40 pounds, completed his first half marathon, and faced and completed challenges he would never have dreamed he could.
Twitter – @matthewcarberry