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  • Writer's pictureJackie K

7 tips to eat well and run well this holiday season

Hey runner!

How is this holiday season going for you? I know 2020's holidays are likely a lot different than other years, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't be stressful. (If they're not - that's great! If they are, that's okay too.)

The holidays often bring celebration and cheer. They also bring lots of food, treats, and disruptions to your daily life - shopping and traveling can make eating healthy and keeping up with your running a little extra difficult.

But that doesn't mean it is impossible to keep up with your nutrition goals. You can fuel your body AND go for amazing runs this holiday season... all while enjoying some treats too.

Read on to find 7 tips runners can use to fuel better and run faster this holiday season.

☃️ don't throw your routine out the window

The holiday season, for most of us, is a few weeks long. There's lots of celebrations and get-togethers (well... usually there are! This year is a bit different!) with lots of foods and treats that you usually only get once a year.

That said, you shouldn't use that as an excuse to not follow your normal routine most of the time. (Notice how I didn't say all of the time!) What habits do you have that you find really helpful and keep you on track? Whatever they are, don't stop them! Keep up with the little things - eat breakfast, drink water, plan a post-run snack, meal plan your dinners, pack your lunch, etc.

☃️ stay hydrated

Just because the weather is colder doesn't mean your body needs water any less than it used to! Hydration is important no matter what the season is. Sure, your sweat rate is probably different when it is cold and dry outside rather than hot and humid, but you still need to replace the fluids that you do lose. And if you're running inside on a treadmill, you're probably still sweating plenty.

Bring water with you when you go anywhere. Don't forget about other ways to hydrate too - fruits and vegetables, soups, tea or coffee, and smoothies or juices can all help keep you hydrated.

☃️ eat when you're hungry

If you're physically hungry, you should eat some food! If you deny yourself food when you're hungry, you're going to get over-hungry. When this happens you're more likely to make choices you wouldn't make, eat more than you would eat, and eat faster than you normally would if you weren't so hungry.

Tune in to your body see if you're physically hungry. Are you thinking about food, do you have stomach pangs, are you a bit uncomfortable, are you pretty willing to eat most foods? Or did your hunger come on suddenly and you only want one thing? If it's the latter, you're having a craving; if it is the former, eat a meal or a snack!

☃️ use athlete plates to guide your meals

I wrote about this topic here. The athlete plates are a really handy visual tool that you can use to help guide what your meals should look like. They don't so much dictate what you can eat - those choices are up to you. But they do help guide you to make yourself a meal that has the proper amounts of each food group so that you fuel your next run AND recover from your most recent one.

I love that they're so adaptable and easy too! All you have to do is visualize how your meal fits on the plate and make adjustments to your portions accordingly. This is a top trick of mine to help keep you on track for your nutrition goals.

☃️ choose the foods you really enjoy

There's lots of good foods to eat around the holidays, especially ones that don't come around very often. I'm sure you have your favorites - I know I do! Even though there's so many "special" foods around doesn't mean you have to eat ALL of them. You get to decide which ones are really worth it.

So if you've been waiting all year for that creamy crab dip, then dig in. And if the sweet potato casserole is something you can leave behind, then do that.

☃️ eat with intention

What the heck does that mean??

Here I want you to choose foods purposefully and eat them mindfully. Remember how I said you should choose the foods you really enjoy? When you eat them, I want you to sit down and really enjoy those foods - taste them, smell them, savor them. Try to avoid distractions when you're eating them.

When you choose what you're going to eat, do so with purpose. Pick out foods that you know will help you meet your goals AND that you'll enjoy eating. These foods should fit into your athlete plate, should be foods you enjoy eating, and should make you feel good (and won't make you lethargic or give you a stomachache).

☃️ get enough sleep

I wrote just last week about how not getting enough sleep can hurt your running performance AND make it harder for you to meet your nutrition goals. Read all about it here. Basically, getting enough sleep makes life a whole lot easier - you'll run better AND you'll eat better AND you'll feel better. What's not to love?

So there you have it. What tips do YOU have for surviving the holiday season? Which are easy for you, and which are hard? This year I'm struggling with getting enough sleep... but my routine is not much different than usual since I'm not traveling anywhere!

And runner... if you're unsure how to make these tips work in YOUR life to meet YOUR goals, then I'm here for YOU. I work with runners like you to fuel their bodies better so that they can run faster and feel energized. To find out how I can help YOU, click to schedule your runner's nutrition strategy session!

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