Running during the holidays can be just as sweet

The interesting timing of beginning a marathon training program the week of Christmas is a fact not lost on me. A couple others who’ve learned of my quest have given me quizzical looks, even asking aloud, “You do know it’s Christmas week, right? Pretty tough to fit in training, isn’t it?”

To which I say, absolutely. It’s definitely a challenge to find time for a run, particularly since my first week called for six days straight of training. BUT, I also ask, is there ever a perfect time to start a running program? Probably not. If anything, I looked forward to scheduling my runs – knowing that if ever there was a week I’d need the sanity-saving experience a run can bring, it would be one during which my three kids were off school and cookie-baking and food-preparing was aplenty. (The holiday food side of things…well, that’s a whole other story and likely worthy of another post sometime…)

But I’ll give you this: training six days in a row was tough – not so much because of the holidays but because…it’s a lot of running, and a lot of preparing to run. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that the goal behind six days was to assess my response to more training days and mileage per week (essentially going from 4-5 days of 20-25 miles total per week to 6 days of 31 miles total per week). In addition, I was focused on striving for optimal benefits with the least amount of work.

The week started out great: two 4-milers and two 6-milers the first four days. Then came Christmas day, which thankfully called for a recovery run of 3 miles. If you have kids, you know the morning is filled with opening presents, assembling said presents and then sprawling out on the couch in sheer exhaustion. We spent much of the day in our pjs.

By mid-afternoon, though, I was ready to get out on the road. Emma, my 10-year-old, has been asking me about running together, which we’ve done in the past. She knows I’ve started this training and has said she’d like to try running the shortest run of my week with me. So we strapped onto her shoes a pair of YakTrax, layered ourselves up for the low 20-degree weather, and headed out together.

My sweet girl worried about slowing me down and not being able to run the entire way, to which I replied by hugging her and telling her she needn’t worry about any of that at all. We ran/walked three miles through the neighborhood, and it was perfect. What more could you ask for, especially on Christmas day, than to have one-on-one time with someone you love while doing something you love?

Yesterday, Sunday, was supposed to be my long run of 8 miles. I managed 5, thanks to a late start to my day (we all slept in after a whole lotta eating, movie watching and PlayStation3 playing) as well as  family coming over for sledding later in the afternoon. At first I got down about not getting in 8 miles, but I reminded myself of getting out for a run for six days straight – I did it! I also kept in mind Lisa’s Principle #2 which I’ll be working on this coming week (and beyond, no doubt): Stay positive.

“Remember, when you have a good day, it’s no accident,” she says. “You can’t fake it; these days represent your true capacity as a runner. On the other hand, bad days happen to everyone, and they mean almost nothing (unless you have a lot of them, and then you need to analyze what’s going wrong.) Reward yourself mentally for your good days, and don’t obsess about the bad.”

This week’s goal: Assess family involvement in my goal.

This week’s mileage plan:

Today: Rest day!
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: 8 miles

I hope to share more in the next post about possibly running with an old college friend who is coming to town, as well as the experience of running on snowmobile trails – Lisa swears it’s a great experience when the trails are groomed. I’m curious to see how I do this week, as holiday schedules continue…staying optimistic!