Merry Christmas ULUR readers
What’s under your Christmas tree?
I’ve just become the proud owner of the Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Set hydration pack. Can’t wait for it to arrive on Santa’s sleigh – expect to hear plenty more about that!
Isn’t she gorgeous? And so roomy – apparently you could fit a small dog in the back pouch.
I don’t have a small dog but I may have to get one.
I’m also stocking up on these light and breezy tanks by Under Armour, because it has been super hot already and they’re the next best thing to wearing nothing at all.
Hot or not, I have been getting out there lately. But I usually try to take a short break of 2-3 weeks around the end of my marathon/ultra-running season which, for this chick from downunder, coincides with the start of spring.
I’m mentally tired of the discipline needed to get through those big races, and my body is tired too, even if it isn’t actively complaining. So I take that break then start back with another few weeks of running only if I feel like it. This has the benefit of giving me a mental break (which I find I really need more than the physical) but stops me losing too much fitness.
After that I concentrate on building a nice consistent base, strengthening my body and putting better food into it.
Unfortunately, gone are the days of being able to execute any sort of worthwhile run while I’m hungover, but I can still do my easy stuff the day after a few social bevvies. So if a little too much booze is still passing my lips, that’s okay, I just make sure to cut it out once the mileage starts to ramp up.
How well I wish wine and running went together for me. Ahh, the good old days…
(source: Leite’s Culinaria)
Once I properly start up again – easing into it of course! – I use this time to put any new habits into place and re-commit to eating healthily and working out.
A sort of pre-New Year’s Resolution. But it’s not always easy prising myself off the couch, resetting my bedtime back to 9pm and getting up super early to workout. In fact, it usually takes me a few weeks of trial and error to really get back into the groove. But there are some tricks that work for me, maybe they’ll work for you too.
Top 5 tips for getting back into training after a break:
1. Develop consistency – to start with I will do lots of small runs of 4-5k, or less if you need. It’s regularity, not distance we’re looking for here. And I do that every day for a couple of weeks. I find that a running streak is very effective for re-establishing old habits.
2. Diversify – try new sports, get back into old ones. I swim, do yoga and jump around like an idiot in the living room to one of my Ballet workout DVD’s. Anything to squeeze a little extra workout in around those small runs, and balance the strength my body is redeveloping.
Me and the sis after a nice swim workout.
No, I don’t know how she does laps in that bikini either!
3. Get high – Find big hills and power hike up them, then run back down as fast or as slow as you like. These replace my long runs for the first month or so and are great for building up your legs and glutes without the all-out pounding of a long run.
Glasgow Track, Mt Dandenong: Powerhiking is a well-kept secret weapon in the ultra running world. I guarantee you that within two weeks of your first hill hike you will feel twice as strong on your next mountain trek.
4. Commit – find that next big race. Not your A goal for next year, but something challenging, or different, or just a beautiful spot you’ve always wanted to run in.
I’m getting a little excited by the Warburton Trail Fest – that 50k-er is calling my name!
5. Bribery – last year’s summer running gear is usually looking pretty worn and faded by now, so if I’m eyeing off a pretty top or new pair of shorts, I work out what I want to achieve between now and shopping day, and away I go. Santa can be very helpful in this regard. Personal mini bribes of chocolate and desserts are also acceptable!
And don’t forget, you have plenty of time. Aim high, but don’t sweat it if you don’t kick every goal in your first or second week.
Figure out where you want to be, and by when, and make a few gentle attempts to get there. After a month of this I usually find I am more than ready to jump back into a challenging routine, with the added bonus that both my body and mind are ready for it by then too.
The best bit about all this?
Well for a start, re-establishing your regular running habits and healthy eating (the occasional fun size snickers notwithstanding) during November will mean that you’re looking and feeling your absolute best for all those festive social occasions over December and January.
In addition to that I’ve found setting a challenging but not too over the top goal for early in the new year curbs my natural tendency to party a little TOO hard over Christmas.
Thirdly, it means that come New Year’s day, you don’t need to make any resolutions. Your running fitness will already be peaking. It is incredibly motivating and empowering to realise you are already well prepared for a goal when others are just starting out. It makes you feel like you can achieve so much more!
Most importantly, your body will be healthy, happy and, ready for some hard training, with less chance of injury.
Hope your holiday season is full of great food, drink, friends, family and running!