Stay Fit Over Christmas

20 December 2017 - Cape Town Cycle TourCycling Tips

Ho, ho, hum

It is so tempting. That second (third) helping of pud, the lie-in, the whole catch-up-in-January feeling that dangles over your head the whole festive break.

Reality check; you can catch up in January, but it is hard work to do so. And with a slight attitude adjustment, you shouldn’t need to. The first step is to commit – publicly – to maintaining a training regime while you are on holiday. Strava makes this easy with the annual Rapha Festive 500, where the goal is to cover 500km in eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but you needn’t aim that high. An hour each day will do the trick. Sounds simple, but it is actually quite challenging by day six. Gentle rides, exploring your temporary surroundings, will do the trick – intervals and structure can wait for the New Year. Be the holiday. Rope in some buddies (a WhatsApp group works wonders) to make sure the peer pressure is there, and get up before the family wakes. Returning to a snoring household, exercise banked, is a wonderful feeling.

Ramping that up a level; why not use the break from regime to get the whole family riding? Make an adventure of it, with everyone exploring new territory, they will not notice the time or distance you sneak in navigating them to milkshakes on the other side of town.

Now we have you out there every day, let’s talk food and drink. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, so be jolly. If you are going to worry about the calories and the weight you might gain over a period this short, you probably need a break from calorie counting anyway. Have that extra slice of melktert, and a real beer. The reality is that, unless you really go big, you will gain no measurable weight, especially if you are riding every day, and you will be able to shed it in the first weeks of January anyway once proper training commences.

Occasionally, we aren’t allowed to take our bikes on holiday with us. As depressing as that is, where one door shuts a new one opens: this is your gap to get into that core stuff everyone has been talking about. A fortnight of off-bike exercise could actually make you a better cyclist by the time you get back. Sit-ups, lunges, stretches, trail runs – this is the opportunity to get into the habit of cross-training, something we seem unwilling to do in the riding season.

A little bit of everything – good and bad – will have you welcoming in the New Year happy and healthy.

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