Navigating your training regimen during the festive season requires a thoughtful balance between maintaining fitness goals and enjoying holiday festivities. 

Whether you’re gearing up for a significant race or aiming to stay in shape, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you effectively manage your training during this joyful period.

Training Tips for Different Scenarios

For Those Qualifying for the Comrades Marathon in January: If you have a race in late January or early February, maintaining a consistent and disciplined training schedule is crucial:

  • Consistency: Stick to your training plan religiously to build endurance and maintain fitness levels.
  • Intensity: Keep workouts focused and purposeful to maximize training benefits.
  • Post-Qualification Rest: Plan a brief recovery period of 7 to 14 days after qualifying to rejuvenate your body and mind.

For Those Already Qualified: If you’ve already secured your spot in a race, focus on maintaining your fitness without peaking too soon:

  • Moderation: Avoid excessive training volume to prevent burnout and maintain enthusiasm for upcoming challenges.
  • Long Runs: Limit your longest runs to around 20 kilometers during the festive season to conserve energy for later training phases.
  • Strategic Build-Up: Save intense training sessions for January onwards to ensure you peak at the right time for your race.

Balancing Training and Holiday Activities

The festive season is synonymous with family gatherings, celebrations, and perhaps a few indulgences. To ensure your training doesn’t disrupt your holiday enjoyment:

  • Early Morning Runs: Complete your run early in the day to free up time for family activities and festivities.
  • Flexibility: Be adaptable with your training schedule. Incorporate shorter, high-intensity workouts if time is limited due to holiday commitments.

Managing Indulgence

With tempting treats and festive drinks aplenty, it’s important to maintain a balanced approach to nutrition and hydration:

  • Mindful Consumption: Enjoy holiday foods and beverages in moderation to avoid overindulgence and potential setbacks in your training.
  • Hydration: Stay well-hydrated, especially if you’re enjoying alcoholic beverages, to support recovery and overall well-being.

Additional Tips

  1. Rest and Recovery: Prioritize adequate sleep to facilitate recovery and optimize training adaptations.
  2. Stay Motivated: Set realistic goals and remind yourself of the rewards of consistent training to stay motivated throughout the holiday season.
  3. Stay Active: Incorporate non-running activities such as swimming, cycling, or hiking with family and friends to maintain overall fitness and enjoyment.

Approaching your training with mindfulness and strategic planning during the festive season can help you achieve your running goals while enjoying the spirit of the holidays. 

Embrace the joy of the holidays while staying committed to your training, and make the most of this special time to set yourself up for success in your running journey. Happy training and happy holidays!


With a passion for high performance sport – Lindsey Parry is one of South Africa’s most widely recognised coaches. Having led a team to the London, Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, the Gold Coast & Birmingham, and coached both triathletes and runners onto podiums of some of the world’s most illustrious races, Lindsey has a unique ability to understand what it takes to succeed at any level and thrives on coaching, motivating and inspiring others to do the same – whether it’s on the track, on stage or behind a mic.

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