While taking a break from your running routine to indulge in big holiday dinners and ‘spirited’ holiday parties may seem like a good idea at first, any runner knows that after about a week or two of skipping your training, you really start to feel it. Circumventing the excuses not to run that seem to pop up around every corner during the holidays will play a critical role in keeping you on track and feeling good.

Check out these 5 ways to stay motivated and keep up with your running over the holidays:

Maintain your sleep schedule

Between holiday travel and late nights celebrating the season with friends, your sleep schedule is bound to take a hit. One of the biggest reasons runners ditch their regular workouts during the holidays, however, is due to a seeming lack of time and energy. Nothing zaps your energy quite like a poor night’s sleep so if you’re looking to avoid the lethargy and brain fog that keeps you from your runs, stick with a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible.

Sign up for a race

Working toward a goal will always help drive your will to run. Why not sign up for a winter or early springtime race? Losing critical training time during the holidays won’t really be an option with a race on the horizon and you’ll get a headstart on your New Year’s resolutions too! The holiday season is also ripe with charity races that raise money for important causes and nonprofits. Turn your running habit into a way to benefit others – check out charity races near your at Active.com/charitable.

Make a contingency plan

If you are all gung-ho about your runs for the coming week and a sudden winter storm sidelines your schedule, have a contingency plan in place that keeps you moving. Too cold or snowy out to run? Break out the resistance bands and dumbbells for a short strength-training session in your house. Hit the pool at your holiday travel hotel and swim laps. Stream a yoga tutorial video in your own living room and work on your flexibility. A backup plan could be the difference between you getting a workout in and you crashing on the couch with another piece of pie.

Pack for running

If the holidays take you far from home, don’t let an overstuffed suitcase be your excuse for skipping runs. Prioritize packing your running clothes and shoes as well as other items you use on a run like an insulated water pack or orthotic knee braces (see: https://www.vivehealth.com/blogs/resources/best-knee-brace-support).  When you have your gear with you, you’ll be less likely to let it go unused.

Run with others

It’s harder to call it quits when it’s not just you to whom you are accountable. Set running goals with a group of friends or fellow runners and keep each other updated on your progress whether you are together or far apart. A group text message or facebook chat will allow you all to share your running accomplishments over the holidays as well as give each other support and motivation to keep up with your training.

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