Don’t let your running languish over the holidays; instead, THRIVE during the holidays
Last month, I wrote about the importance of self-compassion for creating a running practice that meshes seamlessly with your life, your energy, your busy schedule and whatever else may come up.
In the past few weeks and during last month’s Moab Mindful Running Retreat, it became even more apparent just how important this concept of self-compassion is, especially during the time of year that most of us aren’t training for a race, tend to run less, gain weight and get too busy with other things to make exercise a high priority.
And yet, runners have a really tough time practicing self compassion.
That’s because you’re probably exceedingly good at pushing yourself harder and harder to accomplish more, be more productive and prove what they’re capable of. Does that sound like you?
You’re also a big dreamer who thrives on setting and striving for the next goal. You take immense pride in your ability to overcome obstacles and get it done.
The problem is the energetic price you pay for your efforts. And at no other time of year is this more apparent than during the holidays.
This is a magical time of year, filled with special events, celebrations, family visits, travel and treats. But it’s also extremely disruptive to any kind of exercise and self-care routine.
Unfortunately, the price you pay for letting fitness and self-care slide this time of year is way too high.
I bet that for you, running is how you “burn off the crazy” or, in other words, manage your stress. And what other time of year is more stressful than the holidays?!
So what do you do?
Well, I know what doesn’t work, which is leaving things to chance. Saying to yourself, “Maybe I’ll ‘slip out’ for a run when I have a chance …” rarely works. You deserve more than that.
Why?If you can’t show up for yourself, then you can't show up for the people who depend on you. Click To Tweet
When you’re depleted, tired, stressed or at your wit’s end, how can you possibly give your time and energy and brilliance to others? You can’t.
Despite the fact that you have a longer to-do list than ever, compressed work deadlines, kids out of school, parties and dinners to organize, family visiting or upcoming travel, your self-care (including running) is more critical than ever.
Maintaining fitness, preventing winter weight gain and managing your stress with running is possible through mindfulness.
Here are some of the ways mindful running does this:
Run Guilt Free
Running mindfully means running doesn’t conflict with your other obligations. It doesn’t stir up feelings of guilt or frustration at having to choose between getting a few more things checked off the to-do list, or being at home to feed your kids breakfast.
Make running your non-negotiable, a regular practice that doesn’t only occur if the right conditions allow, but rather, happens because it is as essential to your well being as food and water.
Imagine always knowing just how much, how fast and how often you need to run to maintain your fitness right now. It’s possible! Even when you’re not training for a race, your running should have a purpose, even if it’s simply to maintain base fitness and general health upon which to build race fitness later.
Now, I’m not talking about following a scheduled training plan 365 days a year (yikes!). Rather, running mindfully involves acting as your own coach, constantly checking in and noticing how running makes you feel (energized or tired?) so you know when you’re in your running “sweet spot” or overdoing it.
Have More Energy
You can only build fitness upon a foundation of health.
If you’re in any way depleted, tired, or overly stressed, your body is unable to make the physiological adaptations needed to get fitter. Running mindfully means always getting adequate recovery and rest.
This involves going beyond the basics of “go to bed earlier!” and creating concrete habits essential to your ability to be energized and alert all day long.
Expect the Unexpected
I don’t know what stresses runners out more than disruptions to their carefully crafted training plan or routine. Unfortunately, sh*t happens! The mindful approach is to embrace these disruptions and have a plan for getting things back on track.
This is especially important in during the holidays, when usual routines go out the window because you have so many more demands on your time and energy.
But it doesn’t need to mean losing fitness or giving up on your goals.
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