Take Care of the “January You”

“Take care of your January You”


In Sunday’s Events email, I mentioned the impact that thinking about January had on me. Training during the holiday season requires a strong constitution. Turning down Saturday night staff parties, mid-week school performances, spontaneous drinks nights with that old friend in from out of town? Then the in-laws roll in, school lets out. Without blinking, December’s training can vanish entirely with an “I’ll pick it back up in the New Year” attitude.


Not training at all in this last month of the year has consequences for the spring though. Spending January and February making up the lost miles never works. Instead of famine then feast, this year try a more moderate approach proposed by ATRC super-friend  Jason Koop. He outlined a winter months training approach in the December/January issue of Ultrarunning, including a couple of timely tips:


1. Cut back on the mileage. Instead of not running at all, run less than usual. Dial back your average training volume by 10% for the month of December. The shorter distance and less time—but still on the same training schedule—helps keep good habits in place for when January comes back around. Watch that this doesn’t slide to more than 40% less in any given week though.


2. Try something new. Ride your bike for that errand. Do some laps during their swim lessons. Hit the Mosaic family-friendly run with your kids. Use your buddy’s Peloton when they’re out of town. Go try out your best friend’s gym. Costume up (elf, Claus, Elsa, whoever) for a weeknight trail run with new friends. Doing something is better than doing nothing, and doing something fun is the best.


3. Assess your 2019 training plan. What worked? What didn’t? Did you feel prepared for your races? Do you need a coach, a training buddy, some nutrition support? Do you have nagging injuries? This is the time to be truly honest about your 2019 plan and whether it was the right plan for you last year. What might need to change for 2020?

December Training Plan

For an athlete used to running ultra distances, here are Jason’s recommendations for what a December training calendar might look like:

  • Run five days per week, cross-train one day per week
  • Log 9-10 hours per week total of running and cross training volume
  • Keep all your activities at rate of perceived exertion of 5 (out of 10)
  • Review your training plan from 2019

Come on by to grab a copy of the Ultrarunning issue featuring Jason’s full winter plan. Jason Koop is the Director of Coaching for Carmichael Training Systems. and author of the breakthrough work, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning.


Journal exercise: Future You

My best advice for dealing with the winter crunch is to take a minute to yourself with a journal & your planner (maybe while sitting on ATRC’s squishy couch surrounded by inspirational running posters?).

Note what’s important to you for the holiday season. How does Future You want to remember December 2019? What will Future You be grateful Present You did? Then plan ahead for December—no winging it—and schedule those activities.


Future You thanks you in advance

January You’s longer training sessions will be crimped by some gnarly blisters if you tackle them in a brand new pair of trail shoes. Future You will be grateful if you plan ahead! Come on by the store to grab your favorites and break them in this month.

If a new watch is on your wish list, Garmin is extending our promo so we have access to 10 (!) more Fenix 5’s at only $299! This is an amazing watch that is currently $200 off.

If you need to send your running buddy or significant other a major hint, here is the link:

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