Editor’s Note: YR Blogger Keenan offers some tips on how to get yourself back into running after some time off. Hang on to this advice as it may come in handy after a long summer vacation.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are a trio of holidays that can distract even the most dedicated runners from their training routines. The cold weather, delicious food, and family gatherings make it awfully tempting to just relax by the fire all day and catch up with loved ones.
However, falling off schedule during the holiday season is a slippery slope. It only takes 10 days for your body to begin losing noticeable amounts of strength, coordination, and speed. And beyond that, taking just two weeks off from exercise makes it so much harder to get yourself back into training.
Whether you're a committed runner or a newcomer, here are four tips that will help you hit the ground running in 2017 — literally!
Create a schedule. To stay consistent and make exercise an essential part of your life, create a schedule for working out and taking breaks. List all the dates and times when running can (and will) be your top priority. Personally, I like to create weekly training timelines. I'm a busy kid who goes to school, plays multiple sports, and volunteers in my local community. My schedule is always changing, so making a weekly training agenda allows me to be flexible and make sure I find time to run.
Start your day right. A runner's performance is affected by training and eating habits, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People who eat breakfast are more likley to be physically active in the morning than those who don't. And no matter how old you are, breakfast can help your memory, attention, creativity, and ability to think and speak clearly. I try to start the day with a nice protein shake with lots of berries in it. For a bigger breakfast, I add some eggs and toast.
Work with an expert. A good training team or coach will hold you accountable and keep you motivated. I'm part of a team called Breakaway Training, and my teammates and coaches help me stay on track even during the busiest (and coldest) seasons. When school was out for two weeks for Christmas, for example, the Breakaway Training team still met for several training sessions.
Get out and race. Sign up for races to make it official. With a race to run in a few months, your competitive nature will kick in, and you'll have no choice but to start training so you can finish strong. So far, I've run about 63 races in my short lifetime — and I love tracking my progress and seeing how much faster I've become over the years.
The holiday season is always full of fun races for people of all skill levels — everything from 5Ks to 10Ks to marathons. Start doing a little research to find one to run next winter!
The holiday season is a time to relax and catch up with family members, but that doesn't mean you have to stop running altogether. Don't wait for the snow to melt before you start training again because all your hard work and progress will melt away with it!
Even during the holidays, don't break your commitment to stay happy, fit, and fast.
Kenan Pala is a guitarist, triathlete, trumpeter, traveler, poet, and martial arts enthusiast. At 12 years old, he's juggling his education and his passions for music, entrepreneurship, and staying active. He enjoys going on business trips with his mother and exploring historic cities. Triathletes, as well as his entrepreneurial parents, inspire Kenan.