Running in the Christmas Build-Up

Run with Ben running coaching - Christmas running - running through the forest in an elf hat

There’s always a lot going in the Christmas build-up – and often your regular routine, including running, can slip by the wayside. This is natural, but by being savvy you can get a head start on January by training how best you can, now.

Find your balance

December is a tricky time to balance training – it’s often best not to aim overly high! There tends to be more social meet-ups, more food temptation, colder and darker weather, and generally more distraction.


Embrace all of this, while aiming to keep things ticking over with your training.

Quick wins

Accept it may be hard to fit everything in and manage your expectations accordingly. Commit to doing a certain level of training – set yourself a minimum target, where anything extra is a bonus. This helps to ease any guilt from potential over-indulgence or skipped sessions during the Christmas fun!


Find your balance – don’t aim too high but equally don’t write off the whole month. If you can keep up your training then you’ll hit January with loads of momentum, rather than having to stop and think about any resolutions or how to move forward with your goals.


Don’t wait until New Year’s Day to set the plans in action – chip away at them now while enjoying everything else that you can and want to do during the month.


If you’re struggling to fit things in, or you’re simply lacking the motivation to train in the mornings or evenings, then introduce some creativity to help things keep moving. You could try a full or partial run-commute, or running at lunch when it’s lighter and perhaps a little warmer.

Get strong

Winter is the ideal time to work on your strength. You’ll really get tonnes of value from this when it comes to training in January.


Strength training is often neglected, but since it’s all done inside and can be pretty much done wherever you are, then winter is the time to be building that strength. You’ll find that you feel fitter and stronger come January, with your running efforts feeling easier.


Starting with two 30-minute strength sessions per week will give you a great foundation.

Spring marathon training

If you’ve got a Spring marathon on the horizon, make sure to get some miles in the bank before Christmas. Work on building your consistency, running a few times per week. It’s important not to begin a marathon training programme from a standing start.


By building this momentum now, and including cross training and strength and flexibility work, you’ll be ready to ramp things up in January as you build your mileage and intensity.

Some final small tips for your festive running:

  • Try not to be too smug if you’re managing to fit in all your training while everyone is over-indulging and keeping movement to a minimum…
  • Don’t expect to perform as well as you do at other times in the year, but if you happen to get a cheeky PB during December then revel in it!
  • If you’re suffering from the effects of extra drinks the night before, there’s often no better remedy than an easy morning or lunchtime run.
  • Check out a Christmas fun-run – there’s loads around, and many of them are in aid of fantastic local causes.
  • Have fun!

If you’re looking ahead to post-Christmas events, get in touch using the box below if you’re interested in some support for your training!


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