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I’m off work for the next two weeks.  Perfect opportunity to focus on training.  But not always.  The holidays, and winter in general, is also a standard time for weight gain.  Work gets busier and with the stress comes fat.  I did miss a couple of days this past week because I couldn’t get away from work.  Usually though I make the most out of vacations.  I ran throughout Thanksgiving in Spokane with my daughter and brother-in-law.

In Texas for Christmas, I’ll be staying first at my mom’s house in Round Rock and then at my father-in-law’s house in Northwest Hills, Austin.  I have a nice route in Round Rock along a trail that follows Harry Man’s Road in Brushy Creek.  I can make an hour run out of that.  It’s nostalgic too because I used to run down this road in high school for cross country workouts.

In Austin, I’ll run down to the track at Murchison Junior High School.  Assuming it’s warm enough, I aim to launch my 2011 speed work with some quarter mile intervals.  My muscles need to relearn how to run fast.  No more seniors surging past me at the finish line next year.  I won’t need speed for my first planned event – which is the Austin Marathon in February – but I hope to show improvement in my 10Ks.  I’ll find one or two before the Bolder Boulder to get a good qualifying time.  I started too far back in the pack last May and found it frustrating to pass so many other runners.  I can tell you the secret to a good run in the Bolder Boulder – run slow the first mile.  It’s down hill, then miles two and three slope upwards and people die off.  It takes discipline to run slow that first mile with the race excitement and given it is downhill, but that’s the trick to running strong on that course.

I hope you have good winter running weather over the holidays.  Ski, snowshoe or run.  Weights indoors.  Take advantage if you have time off and use the holidays to launch your winter training regimen.  Merry Christmas!