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Friday, December 28, 2012
Running 26.2: Fit training into your holiday schedule

By Rachel Cooperman

This week, I needed motivation to get out the door. With only seven weeks left to train, I can't afford to lose momentum. But the holidays certainly made it tough.

I had family commitments, so I couldn't go out for a run whenever I wanted. Instead of feeling guilty about my schedule and my life being imperfect, I used it to my advantage. I started my holiday break in the kitchen with my in-laws, as promised, and told them I needed to run at some point on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I used my time in the kitchen more efficiently and jumped from one task to the next.

When I needed to leave for a tempo run on Christmas Eve, they weren't surprised; as long as I promised to be back before dark, they were even supportive!

Here's how I made my runs happen over Christmas. Follow this advice to run while on a holiday, business trip or family vacation:

1. I declared that I was running: Once I presented this as fact (I didn't ask), my in-laws started discussing my run and encouraged me to get out the door before it was too late. Instead of taking time away from us, my run became a topic of conversation. I was thrilled to share my passion with them, and they seemed to understand me better.

2. I planned my meals.: Let's be honest, the holidays include a lot of food we wouldn't normally eat. They also require us to follow someone else's schedule. As I prepped appetizers on Christmas morning, I ate a real breakfast of fruit and cereal. Instead of snacking on foods that would surely upset my stomach on a run, I stuck to the basics. I saved the treats for later when I could enjoy them with the rest of the guests.

3. I accounted for my new surroundings: Since I wasn't at home, I didn't know my route. I chose a simple path and decided not to bring music. I needed to pay attention to where I was and the sounds around me. I also wasn't sure if my route would be hillier or harder than I wanted. To counteract that element of surprise, I brought my smartphone (in my pocket) and headset.

Before my run, I called my sister (insert your favorite training partner here), and we decided to hit the road at the same time. Though we were states apart, we could run. We actually had two short calls -- one when I needed her on a particular incline, and another when she needed to vent about the holidays. She was the motivation that got me through my workout.

I'll have more marathon training tools next Friday to help you get in gear for the New Year.