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Staying the Course Through the Holidays

Leadville_cross trainingBy Rebekah Mayer & Ryan Krol

Even though ultrarunners are among the most motivated types, the busy holiday season has been known to derail many a training plan. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your training this time of year.

Be Realistic:

  • Most runners don’t log 100% of their planned mileage during the holiday season. That’s perfectly ok. Many experienced coaches will say that if you can get 80 to 90% of the planned workouts in, you’ll be in great shape.
  • Shorten some workouts if you have to. A shorter workout is better than no workout, and it will help you to stay on track.


Plan Ahead:

  • Plan your training schedule accordingly. Whether you’re working with a 1:1 coach or have a generic plan, you’ll likely want to plan your highest-mileage weeks to NOT be in the middle of your busiest travel week.
  • Plan for your busiest week to be your recovery week for running, during which your planned mileage is lower than your average.
  • If you have to skip a run, skip the shorter, easy runs. Try to keep the hard workouts and long runs in your schedule for maximum benefit. You can move them around if you need to.
  • When moving workouts around, just remember not to plan a hard speed session the day before a long run.
  • If you’re traveling for the holidays, check in advance for local trail systems or, if needed, a gym at your destination. Bring plenty of cold-weather gear and layer up out on the trails.
  • Getting up for an early morning run might be the best way to squeeze in workouts on busy days (this is when headlamps come in handy!).
  • Hydrate well. If your holiday parties include more alcohol than you’re used to, plan for extra hydration as well. That could simply mean drinking more water, or having a tasty electrolyte beverage during the day. Make sure you enter long runs and hard workouts well hydrated for best performance and safety.


Make it Festive:

  • Plan some fun seasonal runs and invite a group to bring more enjoyment to your winter training.
  • Plan a night run on the trails where you’ll have views of holiday lights. It’s a fun way to run in the dark, and still enjoy the holiday scenery.
  • Sign up for some shorter holiday-themed races. Shorter races are a way to work on turnover and speed, which you’ll need during any trail race.
  • Embrace the season by streaming a holiday-themed channel for music during your training.


Cross Train:

  • Strength train now to avoid injury in the spring when you ramp up volume
  • Enjoy winter sports, like snowshoeing, skate skiing and cross-country skiing. All are great for targeting different muscle groups.
  • Cross training helps you mentally recover and miss running so you can come back ready to train hard after the holidays.


Happy Holidays!

Rebekah Mayer is the National Training Manager at Life Time Run and Ryan Krol is a Personal Trainer and Life Time Run Coordinator. Check out for more training tips, training programs and social runs at 60+ locations nationwide.

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