For some, the tradition of going for a ride or run on New Years Day is a fundamental part of the holiday season, but for others, the thought of training through the festive (and cold) weeks at the end of December brings dread. How much should an athlete train during the holidays?
Off work? Get outside!
If your work schedule drops off this time of year, it might be a great excuse to get outside more and increase your volume. While the family sits around digesting the readily-available Christmas candy, you’ll be a nicer person and enjoy their company more if you’ve already done a workout. Get out early while everyone is still enjoying their morning coffee, and you’ll be back in time to join the celebrations. On December 25th, the roads are often empty early in the morning, making you feel like you’re the only person alive as you enjoy a chilly run or cruise on the bike paths.
Need a break? enjoy the rest!
For some, the idea of increasing volume during the holidays is the best thing ever—but for most people, a short break this time of year can be hugely beneficial summer. If your race season is still many months away, taking time away from the normal structure of your training routine can feel indulgent, and be just the mental break you need. If you’re traveling to visit family this holiday season, leaving the bike at home can take away the stress involved with putting your bike on the plane, or figuring out where to ride somewhere new.
In the northern hemisphere, the cold weather and lack of daylight mean you’ll need to bring all your winter layers and a good amount of lighting to get through an outdoor ride. Ask yourself whether the time on your bike is worth the stress, and if you do manage to get out on your bike, will the quality be worth it? Sometimes taking a break when you know the quality of workouts will diminish means your motivation will bounce right back, and the training after the holidays will be worth even more.
What should you do?
Talk to your coach! This is a great time to regroup with your coach anyway to discuss the last few weeks of training. Be honest with yourself and your coach about what time you have available over the holidays, and what your family dynamic will allow in terms of training. The best training is that which fits with your normal routine and that of the people around you—making the right choice this time of year can supercharge your training (or rest) during the holidays, and give you a boost through January, too!