Struggling to train during the silly season? I find it harder. A mixture of increased demands on time, renovations, social stuff, kids not at school and all the miscellaneous extras Christmas brings makes it harder to fit it in running. Here’s my plans for the Christmas training block.
The Christmas training block takes me over 4 weeks from a week before Christmas through to the end of the second week of January. It is a time for friends, family, food, drink, mess, cleaning, packing, camping, holidays, food, drink, friends and family.
How does running fit?
Running is used to enhance my life. It helps make what is great even better. It helps me deal better with the not so great parts too. Running makes it easier to relax. I feel better generally and it is easier to be present in all moments when I get in regular running.
On the flip side I have the tendency to go too far. Running can be a great escape. But I have taken it too far in the past. I still chase big goals in running. Finding the balance between all aspects is often a challenge.
To make sure I get my running done I need to focus on my non-running commitments. It sounds counterintuitive. Procrastinating on the other areas in life means they will take more time. Which means they encroach on the running.
There’s no such thing as multitasking only task-switching. For me the most efficient way to get something done is to focus only on that. I’ll use this as good practice to improve my mindfulness skills.
Working hard on the necessities will give me more freedom for the fun stuff. Family, friends and running. I’ll block time to getting the tasks completed. This will create both the physical and mental freedom to start the following day with a training session.
Timeframes on the runs will be tight. Most runs will be an hour or less. The key sessions maybe a little longer plus a weekly long run of up to about 2 hours. Compared to the last few years these timeframes are short. Yet I know I will get more out of them.
Get More Out Of A Run
Being intentional is becoming a cliche, but it applies here. Knowing what I want to get out of a run and what it takes to achieve that is of paramount importance. By defining these two elements simplifies the run. It doesn’t make it easy.
All that is left is to go out and do what I need to achieve the run goal.
Boundaries To Stay Accountable
This creates boundaries that help keep the mind on track. No room to wander. No space to slack off for some extra recovery between repeats. No chance you get back those moments of dropping the pace.
Challenging is the fact the planned paces are faster than I typically have run over the last couple of years. The last 4 weeks have proven I can run those paces. Now I need to push them out and hold them for longer, more often and consistently. That is the hard part.
Running 7 Days A Week
Switching to a 7 day week for this training cycle has me feel somewhat like a normal person. Of course I’ll never quite get there.
The base plan for a training week will be:
- VO2 Intervals 4-5 x 3min with 3min recovery
- Regeneration / Easy 40-60min
- Long Run 20-23km
- Regeneration / Easy 40-60min
- Easy Run 40-60min
- Anaerobic Threshold Intervals 4 x 2-3km with 5min recovery
- Regeneration 30-50min
Total kilometres I don’t care about. They are only a byproduct of getting in the required work.
Skipping the occasional regeneration is definitely not a problem if it’s for a good reason. Christmas Day will be a good reason. That day is for the kids.