Over the last few years I have opted to lace up my running trainers and head out into the cold for a run on Christmas Day. To non-runners (including most of my family) this may seem like a crazy act but it can prove to be one of the most enjoyable runs of the year. I decided to start running on the 25th of December for a number of reasons, the main reason being I normally have a Spring Marathon lined up. Another big reason to bank some miles and burn some calories is you can then enjoy the large roast dinner, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, chocolates, cheese and crackers without feeling too guilty.
One of the biggest perks of running on Christmas day is that a lot of people will still be inside, sitting in front the fire unwrapping presents or possibly still curled up in bed (depending on the amount of alcohol consumed on Christmas Eve). This means the roads/pavements will be quieter and your running route will include fewer obstacles. London feels like a ghost town, in a good way. Also, in complete contrast to the rest of the year some people say hello and wish you a happy Christmas. Whenever you encounter another runner there’s that little nod of appreciation as if to say “Yep you want to eat more food later too!”
My commitment for running on Christmas day has strengthened over the last couple of years due to taking part in Advent Running. Advent Running was thought up by James Poole and Claudia Schroegel, for a few years they took part in their own personal run streak from the 1st to the 25th of December and over the last three years have spread the word and got running friends and the community involved with special events. The aim of the streak is to get people to do 30 minutes of running or exercise every day, it’s a way of finding some time for you in what is a busy month and improving fitness going into the New Year. As I take part in the run streak I feel obliged to run for 30 minutes every day and more often than not once I’m out the door I’ll run for longer. It has made me realise there is always time in the day for a run or workout and it’s all about preparation and making the effort.
As a runner I am a pretty competitive person and this is another bonus of running on Christmas day. When I head out for my run I imagine a lot of the people I will be racing against in the New Year are taking the day off training and are overindulging. As it’s normally pretty cold on the 25th you need to be committed, wrap up warm and keep thinking how rewarding the hot shower will be when you get back. I find it so much easier to run on Christmas day when you have a plan; you need to know when you’re going to squeeze it in. The early birds will opt for jumping straight out of bed and others will nip out between present giving and lunch. Whatever you do stick to your plan, if you don’t the day will soon pass by and you’ll be less likely to get out the door when the drinks are flowing and Home Alone is on the telly.
When deciding on how far or fast to run have an aim. Due to the pavements being quieter in London I normally opt for a long scenic run along the river taking in some of the great landmarks. However if you are short on time why not put in a quick interval or fartlek session or head to a parkrun to enjoy a 5k. After all the harder/faster you run the better the Turkey will taste.
Enjoy your run and Happy Christmas everyone!
Written by: Steven Skinner, a #TeamIffley Ambassador.