Holiday Wishes

The holidays are upon us, and I wanted to make sure to send a very special wish for peace this season to all of you.

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No matter what you believe in or what religion you practice, take the time to enjoy the season with your friends and family and remember what is important to you in life.

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If you happen to have been good this year, you may have a present or two under the tree.  The runner in us all hopes you get some new shoes, shorts or tech shirts.  Some new socks, a Garmin, maybe a race entry.

I hope the New Year brings you a shiny new PR!

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Happy Holidays from our house to yours, wherever you may be on the map.  See you on the road!

Drink Up! A Runner’s Guide to the Holiday Indulgence

As an athlete I am always mindful of hydration and what I put into my body.  I will be the first to admit that I am NOT the healthiest person to walk this Earth.  I do, however, try to watch what I eat for the most part, and also what I drink.  As the season of cheer is upon us, and more than likely us runner folk will be attending numerous holiday parties and family gatherings, I ask this question.

How will you “hydrate” this season?  Will you uncork a few bottles of bubbly?

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It’s true, champagne does have less calories than your regular old bottle of vino.  Plus, the added benefit of your average champagne glass being smaller than a wine glass means less of a pour (unless you drink several glasses, then this negates the positives).  They say that both wine and champagne have benefits increasing heart health.  Sure, that’s not new news, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it.  Champagne contains antioxidants that can lower bold pressure, too.

Maybe you are the type to reach into the fridge, and pull out and crack open a can of beer.  Hopefully only having a few, and not the whole six pack.

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Many runners believe that beer is a great form of hydration post race.  As long as you don’t drink and drive, beer does have benefits if consumed in safe quantities.  There are reports that brewskis can be heart smart.  Here’s an interesting tidbit.  I read recently that the compounds in hops (used to make beer) may slow the release of calcium in our bones, which for men can be a good thing when related to kidney stones.  I’ve never had a kidney stone, nor am I a beer drinker, so you have to test that theory on your own.  Beer also contains B Vitamins and Fiber.  Yeah for being regular!

Who doesn’t love a nice smooth glass of wine?  Are you a white, red or rose drinker?

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Wine has a ton of benefits, ask any housewife.  Lol….  She’ll tell you it has pleasant calming effects that makes putting up with the children a whole lot easier.  It may also make putting out a whole lot easier, too.  You’ll have to ask the husbands that question.  Maybe it doesn’t.  Seriously though, wine can reduce the risk of many health related issues from Type 2 Diabetes to Stroke and Colon Cancer.  Some say it also makes you smarter, longer.

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Step up to the bar, it’s time for a cocktail.  Is there a difference in clear versus darker alcohol?  Sure is.  As research has shown in wine consumption, alcohol can have positive impacts on heart health.  The key here, is to drink a responsible amount.  It can also have great impact either positive or negative on the brain depending on how much is consumed.  Again, be careful, as weight gain, and potential damage to liver function and the likelihood of higher blood pressure compounds as casual drinker turns into habitual drinker.  Some say that alcohol consumption leads to creativity.  Being uninhibited helps the creative juices flow, but too much can lead to pregnancy, STD’s or an overnight stay in a local jail cell.

Moderation folks, moderation….

Probably the best form of hydration for any runner out there is H2O.  Drink plenty of it!  Even when you don’t feel like you need it, because it’s colder outside, you do.  Develop a hydration plan and stick to it, even during the holidays.

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Coconut water, chocolate milk and electrolytes are your friends.  They won’t land you on the sofa either for saying something wrong to the spouse.  They are generally great for hydration both before and after a run.

Do you have a holiday hydration plan in place?  What will you be drinking to celebrate the season?

Unmotivated

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December does it to me every year.  I should remember this, so as each November comes to a close, I am ready.

Cold mornings, and evenings that turn dark so early are my worst enemies.  I always have good intentions, but find myself taking way too much time off during December.  Why is it so hard at this time of year to lace up my shoes and get out the door?  I guess it’s because I hate running when it’s 30 degrees outside.  I guess it’s because I hate having to run home from work, have no time to relax, and try to get out the door for a run before the temperatures plummet as the sun sets and gets dark.  It’s just easier to say, I’ll run tomorrow, or I’ll just add some extra miles on the weekend.  I say to myself, “I’m not lazy, I run marathons”.  The cold months do not help my training plan at all.

Isn’t it just easier to stay inside where its warm?  Write about running, instead of actually doing it?  Historically, December has been a rough month for me.  Extra tough work, more physical work during the holiday season.  Trying to focus, and do extra things during the holiday season.  Christmas tree, shopping for presents, cooking, get togethers.  All things that take up extra time during the month.  What I really need is to run more, but I find it nearly impossible to make myself do it.  Last year I took a few weeks off in December to rest, and only logged 13 miles for the entire month.  I think this year so far I’ve run less than 40.  That’s an improvement, but not by much.

What do you do to stay motivated to run, or get your exercise during December?  Do you find it tougher to train in the Winter, like I do?  I would love to hear any tips you might have for finding that training focus during the cold, dark months.  Please share.