We are about to enter what I like to call the high eating season. It commences around Halloween with all of those wonderful bite-sized candies and ends around Valentine’s Day when the last heart-shaped cardboard box makes its way to the bin. Of course the peak of high eating season is the Christmas Feast which, to my delight, actually exceeds the typical American Christmas dinner in scope, size and booziness. In fact, Christmas dinners in the UK are what allow me to forgive the country for its unfortunate lack of Thanksgiving.
It is only natural that we eat ourselves into food comas during these cold winter months. I firmly believe (aka I have not consulted any scientific sources) that we need to pile on a few extra pounds in the winter. It’s basic survival! When bears do it, it’s called hibernating, but when we do it it’s called “holiday weight gain.” Does that seem fair?
Well, unfortunately society doesn’t give us as much slack as it gives bears, so I will now join millions of others across the blogosphere with a typical “how to fight the holiday pounds” fitness guide. Fortunately, my advice is not dieting (OK, try to stop eating once it gets painful), but simply to stay active. One of the best ways to avoid the “Christmas 15″ is by signing up for a wintertime run.
Organised winter running events are great for two reasons. For one, the race-day atmosphere is really exhilarating and secondly, having to sign up in advance locks you into some sort of training schedule. Having a run marked on your calendar is a great motivation to stay in shape during the holiday season.
Here are some fun runs you can look forward to this winter:
Halloween Horror Run - Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire, 29 October
This 4-mile race is not for the faint of heart. The course takes runners through “haunted” hills and woods that are filled with ghosts, ghouls, monsters and more creatures of the night. The race also gives prizes for the best Halloween fancy dress.
Winter Warmer 5k & 10k – Edinburgh, 30 October
This scenic run around Edinburgh’s beautiful Holyrood Park is an ideal wintertime jaunt. The up close views of Arthur’s Seat and the Edinburgh skyline are wonderful distractions while you make your way to the finish line. You can choose to run the 5k or the 10k, depending on how ambitious you feel.
Reindeer Run – across the UK, 20 November – 4 December
Hosted by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, there are several 5k/10k Reindeer Runs across the UK, from Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland to Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside, England. This year’s participants also get a free race t-shirt!
Santa Run – Leicester , 4 December | Edinburgh, Nottingham, 11 December
Get in the Christmas spirit with a Santa Run, held in Edinburgh, Nottingham and Leicester. All participants dress as Santa, so you may want to train with a fake beard for best race-day results! There are many more similarly-themed Santa runs hosted in other cities as well (click here to find a Santa run near you).
Valentine’s Day Love Run – across the UK, 12 February
Hosted by the Action Duchenne charity to help fight Muscular Dystrophy, this 5k/10k run is literally and metaphorically good for your heart. If you’re looking to share a run with your valentine or simply want to give some love to a wonderful cause, then this is the race for you.
How will you stay active this winter? What motivates you to exercise despite the chilly weather? Share your thoughts below.