So, how many holiday party invitations have you, er, declined this season?
How much has your training mileage declined since Thanksgiving?
Worst of all, have you caught your 'holiday season bug?'
My loving bride decided this morning to walk to her job, a distance which is a skosh over five kilometers from our house. I offered to drive her over on my way to the office; the dark, drippy and gloomy conditions topped with semi-attentive shoppers didn't make me feel good.
"I haven't done ANY exercise at all over the past two weeks," was her adamant response.
Under normal circumstances I would most likely mock and scoff. However, this has truly been a one-off year for the both of us. A year rivaling that of the 2014 Saints. Queen Elizabeth's 1992 is a better parallel, perhaps.
Her Majesty (a pretty nice girl, but she doesn't have a lot to say...) called it an 'annus horribilis.'
I consider running and aerobic activity to be a touchstone in a world gone horribly insane. My family knows this. With very few exceptions - work being the largest subset - my friends are runners, athletes, exercise and fitness enthusiasts or coaches.
So during those days "when darkness falls early," as Don Henley once sang, not much changes for me. I might take a day off here and there, or adjust the workout duration by a few minutes to make time for the grandkids (and their parental units), but when it comes to placing a social function over training, Nancy Reagan was right.
"Just Say No."
There's nothing wrong with taking a day here and there, however, when the friends (who are less devoted to your running and fitness than you are) start laying on the guilt trip...well, the pathway to the nether regions are paved by one-too-many indulgences granted. Show up late ("socially tardy") if you must, but don't surrender. Here's a couple of good reasons...
First, a calorie burned is a calorie that will NOT be stored as fat. There's nothing wrong with having that egg-nog, pumpkin pie, turkey and dressing. Unless you're a complete kill-joy an increased intake in calories is a given. But don't hit yourself with a double-whammy of "less burned" and "more taken in."
Not unless you want to have that dress waistline taken out.
Second, stretchy pants are over-rated. It's always easier to keep weight off than to take it off. Talking to myself here. After the last couple of years I'm starting to return back to the (slightly-slower) guy I used to be. It's nice to be able to walk with a minimal limp (car accident from very long ago) rather than a gait which made me look like someone ten (twenty!) years my senior. Enough said.
Third, the more time you spend out on the roads and trails in the fresh (albeit cold) air means there's less time spent around folks who've been making the social rounds; really it's a bit of an odds and probability thing - they're eating junk food and running themselves ragged at the mall (with a bunch of potentially sick people who feel compelled to shop with the sniffles) before they show up to the same party you're at. It's crazy sounding, but I think you get what I'm trying to say...
"Chin rule" notwithstanding, dealing with the common cold, or worse yet, the flu, is not conducive to good training.
I'm not recommending hermit-like behavior, or sociophobia - not unless you're already sociophobic, or socially-inept. There's a fine line between "necessary detraining" and mental recovery and actions which can, over the course of a month, undo years of good training.
In Memory of Ernest Lombard (17 Jan 1939-12 Dec 2014) Spouse, Father, Veteran, Preacher, Friend