February 6 2018
After spending 18 months training for goal races, one runner decided to explore the off-season–and was pleasantly surprised by the
To some, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are an excuse to let loose and live the social life of parties and general busyness. For me, it is a time of running gratitude, fun runs and holiday lights. Though maintaining a routine can be challenging during this time of year, there are fun ways to keep running a part of your schedule and to bring those you love into the world of running.
Thanksgiving tends to be the designated kickoff for the family fun run, thanks to turkey trots taking place all over the country and a large number of Christmas fun runs. These 5K opportunities are a great way to include friends and family in your love of running. Anyone can do a 5K–it has a genuine way of bringing people together. From walking to racing, I have seen all kinds of people take part in the holiday 5K fun run at all different paces.
I started running an annual turkey trot three years ago after recovering from an injury. I got my brother to join me as my support and encouragement, and it has been a tradition for us ever since. This year, my brother is joining me on my mission to break 30 minutes in our local turkey trot, and it is bound to be a good time.
Last year, I started talking about an ugly sweater run to my friends before Halloween. Though they are traditionally people who do not run or think about anything Christmas-related until the day after Thanksgiving, I was able to convince more than 10 people to do the run with me. Though I am sure their decision to sign up was largely about the opportunity to wear the best ugly sweater, I like to think it was ultimately my argument that running is the best thing ever that convinced them to participate. We all donned our ugly sweaters, traveled together to the race and split up into walker and runner groups. We had a great time smack talking about who would be the fastest or have the most fun. We celebrated our finish by drinking warm coffee and taking several fun pictures. I would highly encourage you to talk with your friends about doing a fun run; it could be the highlight of your holiday season!
With the days getting shorter and the sun setting well before 5 p.m., it can be hard to get your runs in when it’s pitch black outside. The one thing that encourages me to get out the door in December is the promise of holiday lights! Looking at light displays is at the top of my list of favorite holiday traditions. Not only will I drive around for hours looking at the lights–I now go out and run when it’s dark just so I can get a better look at my neighbors’ lights. You would be surprised at the amount of detail you miss when you simply drive past a beautifully lit house. When you run by, you get to take in the colors, decorations and sometimes even the holiday songs playing. If you find yourself not wanting to go for a run during the next few weeks in the dark, just remember that you get the best seat in the house to some amazing light displays, simply by running.
I hope the final six weeks of 2017 are filled with family, friends and good runs. May you be encouraged to bring your family into the world of running and explore your neighborhood while it is beautifully lit for the season.