Jeffery Chapman, a 2020 #IndyMini Ambassador from Indianapolis, shares how he runs through the holiday season.
What does distance running have in common with the holidays? Endurance.
Growing up, I always thought the holidays were a chaotic time of year. It was weeks – sometimes months – of planning: an endless list errands, impossible logistics to coordinate, and of course there is cleaning and shopping. In addition to that, there’s juggling work and social schedules to find compatible times before it all finally finishes with a single-day, grand finale. That sounds a lot like training for a half-marathon, right? Now, as I enter my mid-life years with a spouse and career, I realize that prepping for the holidays as a kid in my parent’s house was basically the equivalent of a 5k run before a full marathon – I was only getting a brief glimpse of what I would really be doing.
There’s no doubt about it, getting ready for the holidays is stressful and time consuming. Despite how important a perfect turkey for Thanksgiving may be, carving out the time for yourself is equally important. When I talk about running and why I do it, I almost always come back to the same motivating factor – I’m prioritizing my own physical and mental health. We can become so consumed with the “season of giving” that we forget to give a little back to ourselves.
Leading up to my multiple-destination holiday tour of visiting what feels like every suburb around the Chicagoland area, I make sure that I’ve seen my chosen family which consists of good friends, neighbors, and co-workers. One of the best parts of that is a lot of my friends have common interests. Nearly every Sunday I can be found running at Ft. Harrison State Park with a great group of people. That group of people is motivating and inspiring but more importantly they hold me accountable. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many Sundays I would have slept in until way-later-than-acceptable instead of getting some miles done. Having people hold me accountable means that I make sure I hit the pavement every weekend. If I’m training for a run while out of town, they know how many miles I should be running and will be waiting to hear what my pace was – this keeps me training.
While having running friends makes things easy, I also use exercise as a way to explore new places and workout trends. Since moving away from the Chicagoland area, there are literally hundreds of new places that have opened for exercise. I try to pick out a couple new places and give them a try; you never know when you’ll find your next hobby. By venturing out into new places I’ve been able to keep my running routine in check while also experiencing a new bouldering gym, Pilates gyms, boot-camp style classes, cycling clubs, and many more new trends.
In short, running during the holidays doesn’t have to be another added item on the to-do list. It can be the thing that you look forward to. It’s a chance to try something new and meet new people while also giving you the opportunity to get out of mom’s house for a couple of hours (if you’re like me and just need some alone time).
If all else fails, just tie your shoes and hit the pavement – you’ll be glad you did.