The good news – ‘tis the season to be jolly – which means, turkey feasts, puddings and drinks. The bad news – the season of plenty.
Relax, you’re a runner and your everyday eating and exercise habits will pull you through the weeks’ excesses. The key of course to eating and drinking without guilt is to recover and bounce back from the indulgencies. So, here are a few tips on how to survive the calorific season.
SPLURGE NUMBER ONE – THE CHRISTMAS DINNER
Turkey with gravy, stuffing, roast potatoes, bread sauce, vegetables, Christmas pudding with brandy butter, glasses of wine.
Hit the road for a long slow run. You really did get intimate with the gravy boat yesterday. On the bright side, your body is perfectly primed for a workout that can burn off a chunk of yesterday’s meal.
With all the potatoes and stuffing, Christmas is a big carbo load. Glycogen stores that fuel your muscles are full to capacity. Also, your feast contained a good amount of protein, essential for rebuilding muscles that break down during a long run. Go slowly, enjoy the scenery and keep moving for as long as you are able. It’s time on feet. Reward : about 800 calories burned and a clear conscience.
SPLURGE NUMBER TWO – THE DESSERT
Slice of gateau and Christmas cake, homemade chocolate fudge, couple of mince pies and a piece of pecan pie.
Get speedy. As far as your muscles are concerned, vanilla-swirl fudge is a decent carbo load. Unlike your turkey feast, the dessert binge doesn’t give your body much else in the way of nutrients. So, do some intervals to burn off those sweets in a hurry. Knock out six to eight 30 second repeats at about 90% of your top speed with two minute recovery jogs in between and bookend the speedwork with two mile jogs. The payoff : in less than an hour, you’ll burn about 700 calories.
SPLURGE NUMBER THREE – THE COCKTAIL PARTY
2 glasses of eggnog, 2 glasses of champagne, 2 handfuls of mixed nuts, 6 crackers topped with cheese, 3 mini broccoli quiches.
Give your body a break. Fact : you overindulged and consumed many hundreds of calories that need to be burned off. Fiction : after that round of drinks, you’re due for a major workout the next morning. Just relax, give yourself an easy day, then hit the ground after that. Post party go for a low key hour of something that feels kind to your body, such as walking, swimming or yoga. Crank up the intensity a day later. Do an interval workout – two mile warmup, five two minute intervals at a medium/hard effort, with one minute recovery jog in between, then a two mile cool-down. That will be 700 calories thank you.
SPLURGE NUMBER FOUR – THE BUFFET DINNER
Roast beef, ham, bread roll and butter, pasta with sauce and vegetables, side salad with dressing, ice cream sundae with vanilla ice cream, hot-fudge sauce and whipped cream, glass of champagne.
Last night’s feast provided the perfect energy for speedwork, endurance and even muscle repair. Maximise that fuel supply with a tempo run, for few workouts are more efficient than the tempo run because it treads the line between aerobic and anaerobic. You are trying to reach that balance at your body’s lactate threshold. Do a four mile tempo run at about 80% effort bookended by two mile jogs. That’ll do nicely thank you – about 1000 calories.
ONE FINAL TIP
Take a running start before the splurges – burn a few hundred calories – start the day with a 5 miler.