"Jingle bells.... Caffeine gels.......Aero all the way"
With the holiday's just around the corner, I have been spending my last 12 days of Christmas seeking the knowledge of other athletes to find out what they get up to at this time of year in regards to training.
Here are some generous insights from some amazing athletes, who are looking forward to Rockin around the Christmas tree.
Nicole Ward (Pro Long Course Triathlete and Coach)
Ho Ho Ho!! Being a party girl, Christmas is the time to let my hair down, catch up with my beautiful family and friends (who hardly get to see me), and also the time to work on my dance moves!
Seriously though, I think it's really important for all athletes to take some down time from structured training over the Christmas period and mentally and physically refresh for the new year ahead. Enjoy the summer mornings with an ocean swim or a cruisy coffee ride with friends. Merry Xmas!
Dave Coard (AG athlete, Coach and PT)
Christmas for me is one day of the big days. Christmas Eve we have social club run, Boxing Day is our lake dip (in the UK winter) only swim shorts allowed! Then on 28th we are hosting a off-road Duathlon, muddy and fun.
Family join in helping to marshal and encourage people. Not forgetting to mention the famous Boxfit Xmas party, the one night we show how we can enjoy food, drink and music.
Hannah Donaldson (AG athlete, slightly obsessed with dogs)
December contains two big milestones in my year: 1. Christmas (a.k.a an excuse to play Mariah Carey’s Christmas album for 4 weeks straight) and 2. A triathlon training program that has not one fibre of festiveness in it. A sub-optimal combination survived by 5 simple tips:
- Set your alarm to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’. You will either jig your way out of bed and onto your bike or be forced to throw your phone out the window.
- Set aforementioned Mariah Carey alarm 30 mins earlier for rides.
- Mince pies as training nutrition. Enough said.
- Get creative with your sessions. Even the toughest of sessions can be turned festive. It’s surprisingly difficult to get an inflatable reindeer from one end of the pool to the other under the pressure of a relay situation.
- Family first! I’m so excited for my family to arrive from all over the world for Christmas this year and time with them beats any training session.
Joe Sprange (AG athlete, cycle sock snob)
I think Christmas is a time for a couple of things:
- Pack for the Energy Link training camp (it take me weeks)
- Have nightmare about 'oh fuck off hill' (Jindabyne)
Over Christmas and the holiday period I find that you have more time, once work has finished, particularly if you're and early morning triathlete, the roads are quieter, the weather is good.Things I do over the Christmas break:
- I do my long run on a trail or in the bush
- Ride on roads that would normally be too busy
- Start your long ride at 8am!!!
- Have an extra post ride coffee
- Spend time stretching or working on core stability, outside at a time you would normally be at work!
- Incorporate loved ones into your sessions (I love going to the beach to hang out with friends to tie it in with my open water swim session)
- Go on an adventure, a couple of boxing days ago me and a few tri buddies rode to Katomba, just for fun, you would never have time to do that during the year.
Sarah Haskins-Kortuem (U.S. Professional Triathlete and Olympian, TU Graduate)
Over the week of the Christmas season, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. Over the summer months, I miss many weekend parties due to the triathlon racing season, so Christmas is a great opportunity to unwind and relax. I change my training outlook to more of an exercise plan verses a training plan. I schedule in two to three hours of workouts per day, but keep everything flexible. I always take Christmas Day off swim, bike and run! This mental break recharges me for hard training to arrive the first of the year. Happy Holidays!"
Sian Davies (AG athlete, Welsh legend!)
'Christmas is a very exciting and busy time of year, with our training routines often being disrupted. I like to adapt my training to my surroundings - if I am heading to a Christmas BBQ at the beach, I'll pack my onsie, get there a bit earlier and do a swim set there. Or I would run around a park before a picnic, or ride the long way to a friends house etc. It's important to remember Christmas is a great time to catch up with those loved ones we have said 'no' to during the year because of training commitments, so we can't' be too hard on ourselves'
Dean Degan (AG athlete, rarely seen with a shirt on)
My usual pattern is to train once in the morning, unless I'm feeling flat or tired. Last year I met up with Ariel (Bacon) Young in Centennial park at 7am and we had smashed out a great session, including handing out pressies and were finished by 8.30am. I remember Bacon saying he followed an Unnamed Pro Triathlete on Twitter and he had posted that anyone that trained on Christmas Day was a loser, well I felt anything but a loser driving home with my rum balls, Bacon had made from the night before. I don't believe in backing up for a session in the afternoon as I'm usually starting my family rounds by lunch and you don't won't to be leaving the family function to head out to train... Especially if you have had a few beverages. Personally I couldn't think of a better way to start Christmas Day than meeting up with some friends for a swim, ride or run in the morning.
Laura Harris (AG athlete and pride of Port Macquarie)
To me Christmas is a time to catch up with family and friends. I alternate between Melbourne and Port Mac every year. This year I'll be heading to Melbourne. As far as training goes I will be packing the running shoes for the odd run along the Yarra or the Tan if I get a chance but not too concerned as I will be enjoying the final week of my break before training commences in the New Year. I will be spending Christmas in the city this year so no doubt Christmas Eve will be a big night out, followed by Christmas Day lunch and dinner with family and then heading to the Boxing Day test at the MCG. I generally put the feet up over the Christmas period and do some normal things most years!
Ottilie Quince (World and European Transplant Games Cycle Champion, rubbish tea maker)
This time of year my training focus is on volume, slow long miles out on the road when the weather holds out, with the fast legs and speed work on the rollers mid week. Broken up with core training and stretching to keep injury free. Since starting OQ Sports therapy www.ottiliequince.com (my own sports therapy business) back in August of this year I have had the freedom to only work 3 days a week, leaving plenty of time to fit in training and most importantly quality rest time. It's been a strange few months since winning (overall both the Time Trial & Road Race) the World Transplant champs in South Africa in August then having a malignant cancerous tumour removed off of my transplant (and only) kidney the week after I returned back to the UK. This has made me even more focused on my goals and given me a greater desire to win.
As for me, I'd like to say that I am the most dedicated trainer at Christmas, but for me it is one of the only times of the year that the majority of my friends and family are free to relax together (and this has been my training philosophy for many years at this time period). My training ideas for Christmas time:
- Don't take yourself too seriously, make sure you enjoy the right balance of training and life (aka partying).
- Don't make strict training plans that you feel you have to stick to, if you won't! (20 minute swims are great)
- Make training social, find a group to enjoy the time with.
- Vary your routine or training methods (I like to swim at the beach, instead of the pool, for 20 minutes).
- I'm VERY excited to be attending my 2nd Energy Link Training Camp in Jindabyne this holiday period, where it all kicks off for me again this period.
A HUGE thanks to all who contributed to this post. It's been, by far the most enjoyable blog to put together (as I did none of the work). So grab the holly and the ivy, some mistletoe and wine, becauseits beginning to look a lot like Christmas.