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Published November 29, 2010, 12:00 AM

Wagner: Holiday feasting can erase all your training

It’s one of the most dangerous times of the year. After working hard to get into shape, developing fitness and breaking through personal barriers, runners have it tough.

It’s one of the most dangerous times of the year. After working hard to get into shape, developing fitness and breaking through personal barriers, runners have it tough.

The temps have dipped below zero while snow and ice have replaced secure footing.

But the real danger we face lies inside the confines and comfort of our homes and offices. It’s the holiday season, bringing with it feasts shared with family and friends, homemade treats by the plateful and plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Five weeks of feasting and celebrating can erase some or all of the hard work from the previous 47 weeks and require a lot of extra work just to get back to where we were before the holidays arrived on the calendar.

That’s why we need a smart, realistic game plan for the holidays.

In its simplest terms, weight gain comes down to eating more calories than we burn off.

Over the course of weeks or months, an imbalance leads to increases and decreases in weight.

Keeping body weight in check this time of year doesn’t mean ramping up the mileage. It means adhering to the moderation principle.

Following a few guidelines can give you the flexibility to enjoy the holidays and not seeing your running pay the price once the New Year begins.

Consider these tips when enjoying the spirit of the season:

- Make exercise a priority: Get to the gym or head out for a run regularly, go for a walk or slip on the cross country skis. If you don’t have your usual block of time, try exercising more often but for shorter amounts of duration to offset time constraints.

- Plan for meals: Eat breakfast every day. If you’re going to a holiday party and know you have a tendency to overindulge, eat a snack in advance, drink a glass or two of water before eating and make sure to include some healthy choices on your plate.

- Alcohol calories add up quickly. Enjoy yourself, but like the food on your plate, moderation is the key.

-Write down your exercise and workout goals for 2011 and put the list somewhere you’ll see it every day. A successful year of running in 2011 starts with preparation and commitment to your goals now.


Forum News Director Steve Wagner writes a running blog, which can be found online at runningspud.areavoices.com. He can be reached via email at swagner@forumcomm.com.

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