Getting through the holiday season while training for an Ironman can be a challenge.
It can feel like a constant battle between running, biking, swimming and healthy fueling, and binge eating, going to holiday parties and events and chilling with family.
The answer is moderation! Eat, drink and be merry — but not too merry. Celebrate, but don’t go nuts.
Here are a few tips to surviving the holidays:
Stay on track with your workouts, but give yourself some grace, too. Remember, you are building up fitness and endurance over time, and one or two missed workouts will not totally derail you.
Your time and presence with friends and family is more important than any single long run, ride or swim.
Be flexible. If your regular plan calls for long runs on Sunday, it is not a big deal to move that workout to a different day to accommodate time to celebrate.
Make good choices on food. Go ahead and indulge in some sweets and gravies, but don’t go overboard. It’s the same idea with alcohol — have a drink, but not six.
Load up on the veggies and proteins, and try to keep the bad carbs and sweets in smaller quantities.
Drink lots of water, and try to have some healthy snacks before the big meals or holiday parties. This will help you control your quantities of the “bad” stuff.
Focus on simply maintaining your fitness during the major holiday weeks. You can work harder to build and expand your fitness the rest of the time.
Your relatives will love to hear about your big goals, but again, only in moderation. It can be easy to be a bit obsessed with training when it is such a big focus in your life. But don’t forget to give equal attention to all the other things that make life great.
And just smile and nod when your uncle compares your Ironman to the Color Run he did a few years ago.
Get up early and get your workouts done before everyone else is awake. You can nap later and blame it on the turkey instead of your workout.
Get the family involved. Invite the kids to bike alongside you on your run or to join you at the pool.
In the big scheme of things, just keep it all in perspective.
This time of year is about friends and family and community. Do your best, but don’t stress if you miss a few training sessions or get a little off track on your diet.
Enjoy, and then get ready — because your training for Ironman Tulsa is about to kick into the next gear after the winter holidays!
— Jana Rugg is a three-time Ironman finisher and triathlete who has lived in Sand Springs for 25 years. Her tips column will appear here with each regular Ironman installment until the May event.