December is my favourite month. I absolutely love Christmas and it’s my birthday this week so what’s not to love?!

I am currently sitting in my cosy flat with a little Christmas tree on the table, because there isn’t enough space for an actual tree, & there’s a box of Quality Street sitting open and being very, very tempting. I could easily sit in every night enjoying strawberry creams & drinking Baileys but I have a marathon to run next year and I don’t really want to start back at square one in January. My plan is to keep the miles ticking over until the New Year then I’ll get focused on a training plan but it’s pretty tough when it feels like -1 outside and it’s dark before 5pm. I’m sure most people experience the same dip in motivation over winter so here is my list of things to do/ways to keep both the running and Christmas spirit alive…

Headband, Unilite head torch and Buff – the essentials for a run home from work in the dark!

1. Embrace the drop in temperature and treat your self to some warm winter clothing. When I buy new running clothes, no matter what month, I always get a boost. Use this to your advantage and get some long sleeved tops, gloves and a buff etc. If I could wear my buff 24/7 I probably would. I wear it as a headband when running to keep my ears warm & to stop my hair blowing around my face when it’s windy. As well as clothing, equipment like head torches and hi-vis arm bands can come in pretty handy if you aren’t always running along lit up roads.

2. Prepare some good food. I am not very good at this and really need to find some new recipes instead of relying on pasta or cheese on toast. I did make a lovely spag bol last night alongside a big pot of soup to get me through the next couple of days AND I do have something planned for later in the week. I guess most blogs/magazines etc would say that a good filling meal will stop you from snacking on rubbish. That may be true but I also like to believe that eating something nutritious (plus doing some exercise) means I can also have chocolate. Enjoy the selection boxes, Christmas puddings and prosecco while you can. Just have some brussel sprouts too.

3. Sign up to a race. I encouraged the rest of UKRC Exeter to sign up to Run Up To Christmas, which means we are all trying to run as much as we can from Dec 1st-25th in aid of Mind, the mental health charity (http://runuptochristmas.com/). It’s only the 3rd and we are already clocking up the miles, and a little bit of competition never hurt anyone! We also took part in a Santa Run this morning, which is another great excuse to get moving!

4. Try to get some sunshine when you can. I am lucky to work somewhere with flexible hours and lots of showers so I can pop out for a lunchtime run. I will probably need to do this over the next couple of weeks as the mornings can be a struggle and my evenings will be spent in the Christmas Market. It’s all about balance, right?

5. Be inspired. On the nights when it is really pouring down or you just can’t face putting your trainers on why not pick up that running book you bought but haven’t got round to reading or watch a documentary on Netflix (Finding Traction or The Barkley Marathons are my top choices). Soon you will want to be out there. I can usually have a flick through Runner’s World and read something that makes me lace up and head out the door.

This probably hasn’t convinced anyone but I’m pretty sure we can keep up fitness whilst indulging on the sweet stuff over the festive period. I will be out with my running club, wearing my buff & thinking about all of the chocolate I will eat afterwards.

Enjoy the festivities,
Rach