Training tips for the festive season

28 November 2014

Words: Hannele Steyn


When it comes to remaining focused and dedicated to your training during the festive season, most people’s will power will be tested to the max. With invites to Christmas parties you have to attend, and tables laden with gammon, turkey and lamb, along with rich Christmas cake and puddings, and champagne to toast the year that was and New Year in, it’s so easy to get sucked in and your training takes a back seat.

However, if you can stick to your training programme and use the festive season to get in some good base training, it will carry you through to next year’s season. Even though your tan might not look as good as someone who has been lying on the beach, it will be well worth all the sacrifices you made.

Here are some tips to help you get through the festivities.

Planning and goal setting

If you have had a long season, then take a few days break and use this time to do some planning and goal setting for 2015. When setting these goals, make sure you spread the bigger goals (bigger races) throughout the year, with some smaller goals (smaller races) in-between. This will keep you motivated and in racing shape.

When planning your training blocks, break them up into the different phases of endurance, strength, speed and interval training.

Don't forget to include some tapering-down time before your races. If you plan well and follow the programme, which should include all the different phases, you will get to the race prepared and not wondering if it will be a lucky or unlucky race day.

Looking after 'you'

This is the hot season, so besides the planning and training, you need to look after the machine you are going to need for these races - your body.

Hydrate well, put on enough sunblock on and eat and sleep well. If you do take part in the celebrations and end up going to bed in the ‘early’ hours of the morning, rather take the day off - just don’t make a habit of it ☺. You do not want to break down, you want to build up. Remember, you are building a strong, lean, mean, racing machine.

Make it fun

Sometimes it’s really difficult to train while everyone else is having a good time and spending their holiday swimming in the ocean, lying on the beach or site seeing. Again, remind yourself what you want to achieve and how badly you want to achieve it.

Anyway, just because you are training doesn’t mean that you can’t make it fun. So wherever you go on holiday, look for interesting cycling or running paths and take a break to fill up your bottles at the different farm stalls or quaint little shops en route. Another option is to find other crazy people who are also training and do it together. You might even end up making new and long-term friends.

Hydrate well.

Don't forget the sunblock.

Train early in the morning so you can be back by the time everyone wakes up.

Take some time out and enjoy the festive season with your family, friends and loves ones.

On the road

Leave before sunset so that you can be back by the time your family or mates are waking up. You might feel tired, but you’ll have more energy than they have and you would have witnessed the most beautiful sunrises.

There’s nothing worse than having to drink warm energy drinks on a hot day while training, so mix your bottles the night before and freeze it overnight. You can also make your own ice tea with rooibos espresso, lemon and honey and freeze this as well – it’s wonderfully refreshing and thirst quenching after a hard training session.

When the temperatures continue to soar, pour cold water over your head to cool down your core at the stops. You could also treat yourself to a nice but ‘not so naughty’ snack, like an ice-cold fruit sucker.

Be traffic wise and wear bright colours.

Use a light on the front and back of your bike. The cost of a battery for your bicycle light is far cheaper than your life. Make sure they are decent lights and keep them on, even after the sun has come up.

You deserve it

You deserve a break as well, so take some time out - from 24 December until 2 January – and enjoy this special time with your family, friends and loves ones.

Lastly, I want to wish you all an amazing and blessed festive season and a very Happy New Year.

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Welcome to the 28 November 2014 issue of DO IT NOW Magazine.