During the holiday season it can be very difficult to find a "happy medium" with respect to eating, sleeping, and exercising. Many of us work so hard to stay in good shape that it's a shame to loose any fitness during the holiday season. After all, we know it's Christmas time, which for most means delicious food and drink. But our body doesn't know what time of year it is. Our body reacts to food, sleep, and exercise the same on December 25th and July 25th – precisely why most of us return to work in the New Year a few pounds heavier.
From an athletic standpoint, I looked forward to the holiday season as a time to sneak in nap or two and follow my training program as closely as possible – all the while trying not to indulge too much at the dinner table. Other than having to switch a few workouts around due to a limited pool schedule and some family commitments, I've done a fairly good job of this (so far). I've gotten as much or more sleep than I'm used to, but not necessarily at the same time (of day). And my eating schedule and diet have been much less structured than normal. Both of these factors have undoubtedly affected my ability to push myself during each workout. For example, I was scheduled to complete a 60 minute run workout on Christmas day of 5 times 5 minutes at 10k pace (with 3 minutes easy in between). The only time I could fit this in was at 8am after not getting to bed until 1am. I slept until 7am to get as much sleep as possible, but did not have time to eat a proper meal prior to my run. As a result, I did complete the run, but was only able to run my targeted speed for 1 of the 5 intervals. Initially, I was disappointed with my effort. However, after taking some time to consider the external factors that adversely affected my workout, this feeling of disappointment quickly left my system. Perhaps my biggest mistake regarding this workout (and others over the holidays) was unrealistic expectations.
I've enjoyed some time off with my family and friends for Christmas. However, as someone who loves routine, I’ll really looking forward to getting back into a regular schedule in the New Year! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015!