5 ways to start the year on the “right” foot

Harness holiday recovery to accel into 2023

We always have a countdown for the break from work and regular commitments between Christmas and New Year. It’s a time to get together with friends and loved ones, eat lots of yummy food and forget what day of the week it is.

The holidays are always a special time for Cody and I and our families. We’ve both lived away from home since leaving for university and now live on the other side of the country. So, Christmas is a time when everyone comes home and spends time together. I find that the end of the year is when our families carry out many annual traditions tied to connecting, celebrating and indulging (all of which involve lots of food!). The short couple of weeks we spend in Ontario are often equal parts relaxing and exhausting – trying to meet up with as many family members and friends as possible – which often causes a bit of a “hangover effect” when we return to our home away from home in BC.

Since we’ve travelled extensively for the holiday season for a couple years now, I’ve picked up a few actionable ways to kick the holiday hangover and swiftly get back into training mode.

  1. Do not fret over an imperfect training schedule.

As athletes, we’re switched on, diligent and wholly committed to our training plans, which makes us successful but can also make the holidays especially difficult. It’s okay if you needed to back off training for a week or two for holiday festivities and to spend time with family. It is okay if you had to adjust workouts around training facility access and weather. It is okay to indulge and enjoy the treats of the holiday season. If your training was disrupted due to the holidays, chances are, you did not lose much, if any, fitness. When you do return to regular training this week, you’ll fondly look back on memories made and feel rejuvenated for the next training block.

Kate standing in the middle of a snow storm in snow shoes.

     2. Fill the fridge with feel-good foods

Being home for the holidays often offers a welcomed break from meal preparation and cooking, but it also means we might not have the same selection or choice of foods at meals that we’re used to. In my parent’s household, meat and carbs are the centre piece of each meal, with less emphasis on greens. I find this to be a bit of an adjustment as I’m a gal who loves her colourful kitchen sink salads, with all the veggies. It’s always nice to be treated to comfort foods, but it’s also refreshing to get back to your regular go-to meals. So, when you return to your principal residence after the holidays, hit up your local grocery store and buy all the foods that make you feel GOOD!

opened fridge full of fruits and vegetables

   3. Reset sleep schedule

This statement may be controversial, but it is time to get back on that sleep schedule train. If you’re like me, you thrive on routine and your sleep depends on it. When we head home for the holidays, we often overcommit to plans, the night doesn’t start until the time we’d normally be in bed, and then we sleep in but don’t feel overly rested. Again, it is okay and health to deviate from routine from time to time and enjoy activities outside of sport! When you return to you own bed, as hard as it may be, get back into your bedtime routine, reintegrate good sleep hygiene and set that morning alarm to get back on track.

alarm clock with time set for 6:32am

     4. Take that new gear out for a spin

All the presents have been opened and someone who knows you well got you a new piece of essential running gear! If motivation is faltering, it’s still snowing and temperatures are plunging, there are few things more exciting than testing out new clothes. Throw it on and get out the door.

Kate kneeling, tying shoe while looking at camera

     5. Crack open that new planner!

As an adult, there’s just something unexplainable about getting a new planner for the upcoming year. Opening it up to fresh, clean pages and putting pen to paper with important dates, birthdays, anniversaries and races. I’m excited to try out my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley.  As we wrap up the year past and look forward to the year ahead, it’s a good time to reflect on what worked well, maybe what didn’t and areas you would like to improve on. It’s also exciting and motivating to think about and set goals for the year ahead! While athlete’s seasons don’t often follow a typical calendar year, it’s still a good practice to set weekly, monthly and/or yearly process-based goals and write them in your planner.

Forget the new year, new me narrative and focus on being the very best version of yourself, as you are right now.

What are some of your go-to kick-starters for the year?  



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Oats and Grit are two fundamental ingredients that fuel endurance athletes in high performance sport.

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