How to get ahead in your training for next season

Give yourself the gift of performance enhancement by grabbing some mates in the week between Christmas and New Year and hitting those quieter roads…

People running in winter. Warm sport clothing. Couple in front. People in back. Healty lifestyle in the city.

If you’re feeling a little fatigued with all the festive celebrations, spare a thought for Santa Claus who, together with his team of elves and reindeer, will be delivering presents to around 700 million children worldwide in just one night!


Delivering to 1,398 houses per minute Santa has c.715 µs in which to decelerate his sleight, land, slide down the chimney, deliver presents under the tree and return up the chimney.

Covering a total distance of 110 million miles (around the distance from the earth to the sun) requiring a speed of 3.5 million miles per hour, Santa (and his reindeer) will have truly earned a rest.

A unique opportunity to get ahead

For the rest of us, rather than sitting back and taking it easy, we have a unique opportunity in the week between Christmas and New Year to increase our training volume, reversing at least some of the negative impacts of festive over-indulgence and prehabilitate ahead of the New Year celebrations and the start of the 2023 training plan.

And don’t let the omnipresent inclement weather diminish your enthusiasm, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment!

That said, if it’s dangerous due to snow and ice, bring your sessions indoors and focus on those aspects of training (inc. technical and tactical) that you can undertake safely and effectively. It may 
be that concentrating on a single 
discipline offers the best way to make 
the most of this period.

Supported by enhanced recovery

As an elite athlete in my younger years (I can still just about remember them!) I remember ‘Christmas Hell Week’ with great fondness. For me, it was a chance to focus on swimming with three sessions per day and a target of 50,000m, plus land training over the five days between Christmas and New Year.

While this training load may appear excessive, it was supported by an enhanced recovery thanks to less demand on time from work, family and friends during this unique period.

While the majority of you may still not be able to avoid family over this time, hopefully you won’t have work to consider. So with the quieter roads, and the ability to cycle and run during daylight hours, this makes this the ideal opportunity to increase 
training volume.

Escape with others!

‘Christmas Hell Week’, if you still want to call it that, is also an opportunity to train with others who, like you, will hopefully have improved availability and are maybe desperate to escape!

Group sessions are a fabulous way to enhance training, see other humans other than your own family for a while, and offer the opportunity to strengthen the bonds between team members in preparation for the 2023 season.

So while it’s very attractive to think that you can take it easy once Christmas is done and dusted – and don’t get me wrong, I do hope you have taken some time to relax and enjoy the festivities! – my suggestion would be the opposite.

The gift of performance enhancement 

Greater availability of time for training and recovery combined with the opportunity for group training makes ‘Christmas Hell Week’ the ideal opportunity to give yourself the gift of performance enhancement – a particularly valuable gift when you think about your competitors who are sitting back with their feet up, munching on another mince pie!

Christmas Hell Week could be your most productive week of training this year, kick-starting a successful 2023 season and a truly Happy New Year!


Top image credit: Getty Images