December 24, 2015In TrainingBy Sean Lerwill8 Minutes

Come on! Who trains on Christmas day?!

Hands up anyone who has ever trained on Christmas day. And taking the kids to the park to play with a new bike or pair of football boots doesn’t count! Who has actually performed a proper training session on Christmas day?

Yes, I have. But we’ll come to that later.

There are events every year on Christmas day that could be construed or even utilised to train. Take Exmouth beach, for example. Exmouth being the nearest town to Lympstone where the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines is. Exmouth beach has a Christmas morning swim event every year. Hundreds of people meet up, strip off and go for a swim. Refreshing. Liberating. Fun. Perhaps not truly training, though; except for a few hardcore swimmers who may take 10-20mins before getting out. Most it’s a few minutes only.

I have trained on Christmas day. Probably a handful of times. I’m sure as a schoolboy/University student when either training for the Royal Marines or perhaps even in preparation for Cross Country season (I was a keen and good runner as a child), I went out for a brisk 20-30minute fast run while Christmas dinner was being prepared. Another two occasions spring to mind immediately: Christmas day when I was a young Royal Marines Troop commander in Northern Ireland. I am sure I utilised the gym. Another time I remember heading out on Christmas morning in Manchester before lunch, on a slow jog performing press-ups and other exercises along my way. I eventually found some scaffolding and proceeded to do a full pull-up routine. I really enjoyed it at the time. No-one was around except a few families riding new bikes or the like.

I am sure there will be some of you reading this thinking “what a loser, why of all days would you train on Christmas day?” I can see that. But at the time, I was either young and keen (for sport or my chosen career), away from home and in some ways using a day off for what I wanted to do on my Christmas day.

I don’t think I’ll be doing any training on Christmas day this year. I’m hoping to have a few drinks on Christmas Eve and a good relax on Christmas day. But who knows, I’ll be somewhere I haven’t been in a while and may feel like exploring. I find going for a run a great way to explore an area and on Christmas day it will be so quiet it could be a great day for it. Whatever I decide to do I’ll decide on the day. There will be no definites. Christmas day is a day for doing what makes you and your loved ones happy. If that’s playing games, so be it. If it’s going for a walk, so be it. If it’s a run, so be it.

The take home message here is don’t be ashamed of what you want to do. If you are training for the PRMC and you have a date in January and YOU want to train, train. Don’t let it affect anyone else by waking them, putting back Christmas Dinner or present opening if you can help it. But if you want to do it, do it. If you’re one of those people who only gets a few days off because you work in retail or the NHS or whatever it is, will be straight back to work on Boxing Day and going for a long run to help your marathon training is something you want to do, do it. Don’t be put off by others telling you it’s the one day you should rest. No. It’s the one day you should be allowed to be honest and do what you want to do. If they want to sit there, drink their bodyweight in alcohol and eat their bodyweight in cake, mince pies and chocolate; you’re not going to lecture them. And even if you did, they’d tell you that this of all days is allowed.

Whether you decide to perform a card circuit in your apartment before visiting family for a family Christmas, go for a run while the roads are quiet or try to perform a 10 down to 1 back up to 10 press-up session to even out the 9 pigs in a blanket you ate. Do it because you want to do it. Don’t worry what anyone else thinks. Let them worry about themselves and you worry about you and above all enjoy your Christmas Day, whatever it is you do or don’t end up doing.

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Christmas Day Training Ideas for those that do want to train:

  1. Perform interval sprints down your road dressed in an elf costume. If anyone passes you, yell (while running): “have you seen a fat man with a beard in a red suit?”
  2. Perform walking gecko press-ups down the pavement outside your house dressed as a reindeer – don’t forget to paint your nose red. Make sure you smile at kids looking out of windows.
  3. Perform a pullup ladder (10 down to 1 – and back up if you’re feeling strong) dressed as Spiderman. At least one kid will have asked Santa for something Spiderman. You may make their Christmas.
  4. Perform walking lunges with any member of your family under 5 on your shoulders – possibly dressed as a superhero or Santa. Your choice.
  5. If your family enjoy games and there isn’t anyone too old, try making a bet every time people read cracker jokes that they have to do so with a completely straight face. Anyone laughing while reading a joke or anyone laughing at a joke has to do a forfeit. Now ordinarily this might be alcohol based. I’m just saying that holding a plank while reciting all the words of Jingle Bells is just as fun.

Merry Christmas!