Following a training plan leading up to the 2024 Los Angeles Marathon on March 17 can be a key element to successfully reaching your race-day goals. But the holiday season can throw a wrench into those plans, disrupting your normal weekly routine and making it hard to maintain consistency.
Here are eight tips to remain active, stay on track for race day and enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.
- Be realistic
The holiday season is a tough time to maintain a consistent running regimen. Holiday events, travel, family time and even late-year work deadlines can get in the way of your regularly scheduled runs. The first tip in approaching your training schedule is to be pragmatic about the time you realistically have for running. Everything on your schedule is important—including your running—but knowing your priorities for any given day will help you understand when you can find a window of time for running.
- Enjoy the season
As much as we all have race goals we’re trying to hit in March, enjoying the holiday season—especially time with family and friends—doesn’t have to be compromised. Will your running schedule get disrupted by festive parties and big family dinners? Yes, that’s probably pretty likely. But there’s no such thing as a perfect training buildup to a race, so allow yourself some flexibility and be as consistent as possible. Enjoy the season and don’t let the inevitable missed long run or skipped speed workout create unnecessary stress.
- Plan ahead
If you have travel or holiday events planned in the coming weeks, try to plan your training runs in advance—especially your long run for the week. They might not all work out the way you planned, but it will give you a leg up when it comes to maintaining consistency. If you can do a 45- to 90-minute long run during each peak holiday week—even if it’s not on your usual long run day—it will go a long way in maintaining your aerobic fitness through the holidays.
- Something is better than nothing
Remember: consistency is what’s most important in your training. The key to avoiding a fitness rut is to stay active and eliminate big gaps of not running by making time for short runs—even if it’s only 15 to 30 minutes on some days, if that’s all you can spare. Remember, the essence of Newton’s First Law of Motion—a body at rest will remain at rest, a body in motion tends to stay in motion.
- Invite family and friends
If you’re connecting with family and friends or traveling during the holiday season, consider asking others to join you for an easy run. It’s a great way to renew personal connections, have fun conversations and run in new or different locations while also getting your daily run in. Don’t worry if those runs are at a slower pace or shorter distance than you expected. Just enjoy the company and the moments.
- Seek out local events
Whether you’re traveling or at home during the holiday season, seek out fun holiday running events organized by running clubs, running stores and race organizations. There are a lot of holiday 5Ks around the country and around Los Angeles! Find one and join in!
- Make sure you’re following a training plan
The best way to keep training during the holidays is to make sure you have a long-term training plan to follow. We recommend training with the LA Road Runners, but there are several SoCal running stores and numerous local running clubs and coaches that offer training programs. Following a plan (and potentially working directly with a coach) will allow you to balance your training over the scope of several weeks and accommodate for altered workouts, missed runs or busy days spent traveling or celebrating the spirit of the season.