Depending on where you are in your annual cycle of training (periodization); depending on your priorities and goals; depending on your personal commitments and family obligations; depending on your profession, the climate, and just about anything you can think of (or excuse), your fitness or sports training plan may be blown out of the water during extended weeks of holiday celebrations.
However, look at some of the elements of the season that directly link to the subject.
HANUKKAH. The word literally means rededication. Though the eight days of celebration in the Jewish tradition relate to the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt, an athlete might ponder the general concept of rededication as applied to his or her training goals, motivation or even values.
ADVENT. The word literally means coming. In the Christian tradition the Advent season is a time of waiting, preparation and patience. Aha. Once again there are significant associations to be made. Whether one’s exercise and healthy lifestyle lead to fitness or performance, preparation and patience are integral parts of the whole.
HOLIDAYS. A long time ago, (maybe as early as 1659), someone wisely remarked: “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” A more modern translation might be “all work with no recovery/rest makes Jack or Jill both bored and boring!” A blatant symptom of overtraining is declining performance. So, look ahead and give yourself permission to take that break.
CELEBRATE! “Celebrate good times, come on!… Let’s celebrate, it’s all right.”
OK, only some of us of a certain age start singing the song when we think the word celebration, but the message is ageless – “it’s all right.” Why do we need permission to stop what we’re so earnestly doing and take some time off? Maybe this is one of the most important seasonal connections for an athlete or fitness enthusiast to make – it’s OK to be spontaneous, to have fun, to play, to relax, to read a book, eat a cookie or test a new microbrew. Just don’t celebrate beyond the appointed time – usually January 1st.
New Year’s RESOLUTIONS? Forget it. Rather than setting up for failure with extraordinary aspirations of goodness, why not pull out the 2018 calendar, research the events you’d like to do, write them down, and work backwards. Note when you should begin to ramp up your training or exercise in order to compete or complete your goals and send off NOW any entry forms, hotel reservations, etc. that you might need to do.
BOTTOM LINE. Holidays can play havoc with one’s fitness, performance, health and self-respect. Run amok, overindulgence, under-activity, inappropriate ingestion, too much/too little of anything has an adverse affect on well-being. Better to enjoy, have fun, honor the season for personal reasons, value time spent with family, friends and loved ones, pause to savor the moment – rather than sabotage present gains. Seek balance in all of its facets – and shine.
As 2017 closes, I wish you days to cherish with loved ones, hours to regenerate and moments to hold in your heart.