How could the best day of the year get even better? With a post-run kick of endorphins, of course! With so much responsibility on your shoulders on Christmas Day, from cooking for the in-laws, to playing Santa, many of us feel guilty about stealing 30 minutes to ourselves on the big day. However, after a busy few weeks getting everything prepared, grabbing that little bit of ‘me time’ is the perfect way to help you enjoy the day, and perhaps restore a little sanity, away from a house full of screaming children. Here’s why it’s a great idea:
1.Indulge in your favourite festive grub guilt free
Many of us treat Christmas Day as a guilt-free card to consuming just about everything in sight. In fact, according to a study from Treated.com, the average Brit consumes 3,289 calories on Christmas Day – that’s 1,289 calories more than the recommend daily intake for women. At WR, we’re certainly not judging – you’ve trained hard all year, so why not treat yourself? However, after an extra few miles on Christmas morning, you’ll certainly feel better about tucking into the turkey! WR’s Contributing Editor, Lisa Jackson, agrees. “I instituted a Christmas Day running tradition with my husband a few years ago and it’s the highlight of our day, as we feel virtuous before we embark on a day of over-indulgence.” For some gut-busting sessions, check out these Christmas calorie burners by Fitness Editor Anne-Marie Lategan.
2. Pass over the cooking duties
Planning a tactical 10K mid-morning is the perfect way to share out some of the Christmas lunch cooking responsibilities with your other half. Get organised the day before with everything that needs doing and write it down. Then, when you dash out for an hour, there’s no reason it can’t or shouldn’t get done. Warning: schedule this in days in advance to save any arguments on Christmas Day! If you’re looking for some cooking inspiration, check out our round-up of the best runner-friendly ingredients to include in your Christmas lunch.
3. Burn off stream
Let’s face it; a house full of screaming children and argumentative in-laws is enough to test anyone’s patience. Getting out for a run on Christmas morning is the perfect way to clear your head before the big days kicks off – particularly if you’re hosting! And if things get too much late afternoon, what better way to de-stress and make room for the cheese and biscuits? You’ll be much more pleasant afterwards, trust us. With three daughters, WR’s Consultant Editor, Tina Chantrey, is certainly of this opinion. “I gave up drinking on Christmas Eve years ago, just so I could run on Christmas Day morning. It’s a tiny bit more ‘me time’, alone on the deserted streets, before the craziness of Christmas in our house with three daughters.”
4. Boost energy levels
With such a build up to the big day – food shopping, planning and present wrapping, it’s no wonder we feel like collapsing by the time December 25th rolls round. A number of studies, including a study by the University of Georgia in 2008, have shown that regular exercise can, in fact, boost energy levels. Energise first thing with a speedy 5K to get rid of that post-lunch slump, and don’t slack on your training in the days before. Worried about how you’re going to fit in all of your training with so much going on over the festive period? Find out how to give your training plan a festive makeover here.
5. Be an angel
We can all feel a little selfish taking time out of the day to run on Christmas Day. But why not treat it as the perfect opportunity to do a good deed? Offer to take the dog out for a neighbour, or take the kids for a spin on their new bikes. If you’re planning a Christmas Day parkrun, be sure to thank the volunteers that you might forget to thank on your average Saturday, and remember to give a wave, smile or “hello” to those runners you so often see on your regular route, for an extra feel-good factor. And if you can’t find a dog, child, or runner to help with the guilt-purging, just remember, you’re only asking for 30 minutes!