Running Holiday Races: Tips To Dashing Through The Race And To The Family

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There are many holiday-themed races, so pick and choose the most important or fun ones and time it to be able to still spend time with family. Running Holiday Races: Tips To Dashing Through The Race And To The Family

There are two types of people in the world: those who sleep in on holidays and those who get up an run. In fact, racing on holidays is a very popular thing to do in the running world. And these runners are able to dash through that 5k and make it home to be dressed and ready to go without missing a beat. Non-runners might not only question runner’s sanity to chose to run on a “day off,” but they also criticize those who do thinking they aren’t prioritizing family. But runners can both do what they love and be with those they love. Think about racing on the holidays as having your cake and eating it too. And there are tips on how to do so.

From turkey trot to a run on New Year’s Eve, there are specific holiday-themed races held for just about every occasion. But it can be overwhelming for even more seasoned runners to decide which races to participate in and which ones to sit out. There are some that are held early in the morning so that there is enough time to host the family over on the holiday. There are somewhere racers go all out in terms of costume. Think tutus and holiday colors. No matter which way you slice it, holiday races are lots of fun.

Running a holiday race is a healthy way to start the day. It serves as a positive and fit way to approach the holidays, especially ones that revolve around eating a lot and enjoying drinks. Many take the justification approach by committing to waking up early to run to then be able to enjoy a nice big meal without any guilt.

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash.

Pick And Choose Your Adventure

There are many, many holiday races. Plan your race schedule in advance, not only to properly train but also make sure it fits within that day’s timeline of events. That means it might be a great idea to run that turkey trot 5k that starts at 10 a.m. when needing to cook the bird for the family.

The good news is most holiday races are 5k and 10k distances, and even 1 milers. There are also many that are family-friendly where kids are encouraged to walk or there are short dashes for the little ones. This allows the entire family to come out and doing something together where the runner doesn’t need to choose between the two.

There are also various different types of holiday races when it comes to its size and organization. There might be a dozen turkey trots within a few neighborhoods or city. Some are smaller scale, put together by local running clubs and without all the frills. These are focused on just getting out there and starting the day off with a good run. Others are large-scale which attract many races, some who take it seriously and others doing it just for fun. These include Christmas runs near the holidays where racers dress in Santa suits. These are basically the runner’s take on the Santa bar crawls. These are fun (and might even include drinks after to continue with cheer) and usually, take place for the holiday so that Christmas can still be enjoyed at home.

Some might need to pick and choose their races. It might be easier to run a Christmas-themed event since it doesn’t fall on December 25. Other holidays like Valentine’s Day might be easier to plan around as well. There are some who run on New Year’s Eve, whereas others prefer to ring in the New Year with their family at a party. Balance social and family life with running these races so that everyone is happy.

Tips To Choosing A Race:
  • Do research beforehand to see race dates, times and location. Travel far might be out of the question.
  • Consider avoiding crowds or embracing them.
  • Dress accordingly, especially for those who live in cold climates.
  • Allot enough time to get home and ready for family festivities. If it’s cutting it close, opt instead for a run around the neighborhood.
  • Cut it short. Choose for the 5k instead of longer distances.

Dress The Part

Photo: Brian Bracher | Pixabay

Racing a holiday-themed event means being festive an celebrating in a fun and healthy way. So get into the spirit and dress the part. Some go over the top and embrace being bold. Others might just do a holiday shirt or wear the colors of whatever holiday the race is for. Just make sure to dress appropriately for the weather. This means those warm socks for a winter run and those lightweight, moisture-wicking shorts for the Fourth of July.

Have fun with the style, but make sure it is functional. Some run these races in full on costume. This can be too hot or irritating for some. Just like runners know not to wear anything new on race day, have a practice fun in the outfit beforehand.

Make It A Vacation

Take the vacation days from work surrounding a holiday and make it a runcation. There are some states that are known for their holiday races like Chicago’s Rudolph Ramble and the kids’ Donner Dash or the scavenger-hon race in New York called the Amazing New York Race – Holiday Edition. This can then include a trip to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center or shopping at Macy’s.

Opt to do a runDisney race around Halloween like the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend that takes place usually the first weekend in November. After the race enjoys the sunny weather and theme parks.

Be Social

Since these events put an emphasis on the fun they are made to be enjoyed with other runners. Recruit runner or other athletic friends to join. Go for a fun and lighthearted approach instead of striving for the PR. Encourage family members or even non-runner family and friends to take part. Even it is for the post-race hot chocolate or pretty holiday medal. Spread the joy among personal circles by inviting them to participate.

This might even mean skipping a fun run and instead hit the neighborhood with cousins staying at grandmas house. Or better yet, make it a holiday treat and sign them up to race, too!

Dash Towards Goals And Away From Weight Gain

Running through the holidays is a great way to stay on track to meeting fitness goals and printing the dreaded holiday weight gain. Racing means frequently running to be ready for race day and eating healthy. It also means not staying up all night drinking at holiday parties and instead of getting a good night’s sleep. It means getting in a good workout so that healthier decisions are made throughout the day.

Just remember that running a 5k doesn’t mean now the racer can eat all on the dessert table. Treat yourself since it is well deserved, but don’t undo all the hard work.

For those who love to race, finding a holiday-themed event is a perfect way to celebrate any occasion.


  1. Susan Paul, Running Tips for the Holidays, Running Website
  2. Jane Reynolds, The Top 5 Destinations for Holiday-Themed Races, Fitness Website
  3. Susan Paul, 9 Great Ways to Keep Running Strong Through the Holidays, Running Website