While the holiday season brings times of joy and celebration, it is often tainted with juggling holiday parties, kids events, family gatherings, and travel. While all fun activities, they can contribute to a stressful experience.
As athletes, we all know that there is only an infinite amount of stress the body can handle. Holiday stresses of staying up too late, eating tempting treats, and overall training fatigue can create a loss of training motivation or just plain not riding. Not fun, given exercise can aid in reducing stress. So, what is the balance during the holidays to reduce stress, maintain fitness, and still hit all the holiday parties and complete those endless shopping lists? Have a strategy! No different than approaching a race or ride with a strategy, it’s best to have some “go to” plans to navigate the holiday season.
Strategy 1: Eat well. The holidays offer irresistible food temptations adding extra pounds to our waste lines and robbing us of precious energy. Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, opt for nutritious snacks. Eating poorly during the holidays can affect mood and motivation towards training. Focus on good nutrition and choose your bike nutrition when you need it most- on the bike. Being mindful of your food choices can positively affect your energy levels and help maintain your ability to ride and perform better. You might enjoy reading our post Battle of the Bulge – How to Fight the End of Season Weight Gain for more ideas on developing a plan to keep you on track during your most tempting moments.
Strategy 2: Plan your time. Primarily, maintain focus and control. The flurry of holiday activities makes time precious. You may not have time for a lengthy ride, so make the most of the time you do have. Increase your focus. Focus on what you can control and let go of things beyond your control. What can you control? The intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts. You can also control the elements surrounding your training, as in, your bike parts, bike functioning, and being well prepared nutritionally to get the best out of your workouts. If you find yourself pulled from ride time to do last minute shopping, consider shopping online. Our post, Stress Free Holiday Shopping for Cyclists, offers tips to minimize stress and optimize gift giving.
Strategy 3: Relax: If you just can’t find the time or motivation to ride during the holiday season, at least feed your velo passion with pictures of new road bikes , new mountain bikes, and cool bike parts. It will feed your spirit and breathe life into next year’s bike season. In fact, the post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan, reminds us, “ It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.” And if you are still feeling a tad guilty, read more – 3 Cycling Strategies to Manage Stress During the Holidays
Surviving the holidays doesn’t take much but it does take a plan. Be flexible, mix it up, and enjoy! Happy Holidays from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com!