How to Stay Motivated to Exercise this Holiday Season

Here we are again heading into the holidays when some people expect to pack on a few pounds before they start all over again on January 1st, but it doesn't have to be that way. We can enjoy the holidays by embracing moderation while continuing to workout and make healthful choices most of the time. If you stay active this holiday season you'll come out on the other side happier and healthier! 

This time of year can be crazy, busy, wonderful and stressful all at the same time, but there is no reason we can't maintain our healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods and regular exercise help reduce stress and make us feel our best. Enjoying the family meals and dessert can bring us joy too. We can enjoy the best of both worlds. One way to fully enjoy the holidays is to find ways to stay active. Here are a few ideas on how to stay motivated to exercise this holiday season. 


I love the idea of Track Friday instead of Black Friday. I always say that my favorite holiday is Black Friday, when I don't have to get out of my PJs all day and avoid retail establishments at all costs. I know some people enjoy the experience and the thrill of the hunt, but the crowds and chaos can be too much for me. I'd rather stay home and shop on Amazon (I don't even have to put on pants).

Track Friday is a great alternative to Black Friday. As they say on their site, "Shouldn't we be giving instead of just getting?" 

So this year on Track Friday, Join the movement by running or walking anywhere on Track Friday, or run with others by finding or starting a meetup. Start your own personal fundraising campaign, or support a campaign for a cause that you care for. Follow along on social media @trackfriday on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #TrackFriday when you post! Learn more at

On the day after Thanksgiving, let’s turn Black Friday into Track Friday, a day focused on charity, community, and health.

This one may be worth putting on pants for. See you at the track. 


Runner's World sponsors a Holiday Run Streak every year. The goals is to run at least one mile everyday between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. It's a great way to stay motivated to lace up those shoes. The average person can probably run a mile between 7-13 minutes. Can you find 7-13 minutes everyday this holiday season? It helps establish a healthy habit during the holidays and even if you don't have time to put in a full workout, you know you at least completed one mile. Here are my tips for a successful run streak.

1. Tell your friends and family your commitment to complete the challenge. If you tell people about your plans, you may feel a bigger obligation to follow through. Tell me if you're doing it in the comments! Who knows you may motivate someone to take on a healthy challenge.

2. If possible, find a streaking partner. Hubby and I did it together in the past. Don't feel discouraged if you are going at it alone, it just shows your dedication. Besides, there is a whole online community completing this challenge, you can find your support online. Use #RWrunstreak to connect with the thousands of other runners completing the streak.

3. Having access to a treadmill is helpful on cold or extremely cold temperatures, but then again, hubby and I did a mile or two in the rain on our streak! Be prepared to bundle up! No treadmill necessary.

4. Listen to your body! If you are injured or sick, no streak is as important as making sure you are healthy and taking care of yourself. Be reasonable and take a real rest day if you need it.

5. Although this is technically against the Runner's World rules of the streak, It is OK to walk your mile for the day. The Runner's World streak police aren't going to pop up from behind the bushes and tell you to pick up the pace. A mile is a mile and sometimes your body needs the rest. Your challenge. Your body. Your rules!

6. I found that getting the run done early in the day was the easiest way to stay consistent. Sometimes it just means getting up a few minutes earlier. 

7. As the streak goes on you'll find it becomes a habit and you will really want to squeeze in your mile by any means possible. Stay with it, after a couple of weeks it will become second nature.

8. Join the other holiday streakers on Twitter with the hashtag #RWrunstreak. Post about your daily mile on TwitterFacebook or Instagram and read about other runners completing the challenge. There is nothing like thousands of like-minded people in an online community to remind you that you are not alone!

9. Use the challenge to motivate yourself to stay active throughout the holidays, but if you miss a day it's no reason to quit, just pick back up where you left off. Again I may be stretching the official rules, but in the end I'd rather say I ran 37 out of 39 days than say I ran for 13 days but then had to quit. 

10. Have fun with it! 

Commit to a run streak this holiday season to build healthy habits and stay motivated this holiday season. WIll you run it with me? 


Santa Run Texas

Santa Run Texas

An entertaining way to gather up your family or friends for a healthy holiday activity is to participate in a holiday fun run! Whether it's a Thanksgiving day turkey trot, a jingle bell run or a new year resolution run, signing up for a holiday-themed run can be a reminder that exercise is a fun activity for the whole family. Forget about your PR goals, let your stresses go for the day and just enjoy the run. These runs are often also charity fundraisers so you can do good for your community while burning some holiday calories. Break out your turkey costume or santa hat and prepare for the some of the most enjoyable races of the year. I'll be running a turkey trot here in Fort Worth. This Santa Run Texas in Plano looks like another fun holiday-themed event for my local DFW friends. When you sign up for the Santa Run Texas you can get a santa costume with your registration! How fun is that? Sign up and train for a race to stay motivated this holiday season. 


I'd venture to say that most major cities and even a lot of small cities host some sort of community holiday runs. But If you live somewhere that doesn't have a community event, I have the perfect solution for your holiday run needs.

If you are motivated by race bling (aka finisher medals) The rock 'n' roll marathon series is hosting a virtual run series called Winter Runningland. Run on the streets in your neighborhood, stay warm on the treadmill or meet up with friends at the track to earn finisher medals in this virtual run series. There are three virtual runs from now until the end of December and if you complete all three, you get a 4th bonus medal. You can run all three races for $99. It would make a pretty thoughtful gift for a runner that you love (hint hint friends and family).

A virtual run series is a great way to stay motivated to run through the holidays!

Nov 18 – Dec 04 / $29.99 - Winter Hat Medal

Dec 05 – 18 / $29.99 - Running Shoe Medal

This is my favorite one, so cute.

Dec 19 – 31 / $29.99 - Earmuffs medal

I am a member of the Rock 'n' Roll marathon rock 'n' blog team but all opinions are my own and I am not paid or required to post about this event, nor do I receive any payment or commission if you sign up. Just looks like a super fun way to stay motivated throughout the holiday season and add some new race medals to your collection. 



The Great Pumpkin Workout

The Great Pumpkin Workout

Check out my pumpkin workout for a holiday-themed strength circuit that can be done in under 30 minutes. Do the pumpkin workout before you make your Thanksgiving pies. No pumpkin? You can replace it with any weight or medicine ball. (But what fun would that be?) Pumpkins not your thing?

12 Days of Christmas Song Workout

12 Days of Christmas Song Workout

I also have a 12 Days of Christmas song workout that will prove to be both fun and challenging! You know the song..."On the twelfth day of Christmas my trainer sent to me..." 

My workout archive has a ton of bodyweight workouts if you need a few minutes of sweat therapy to destress. 

Did you get any ideas to stay motivated to exercise this holiday season? Will you join me in any of these fun activities? Any other ideas? How do you plan to stay active? Let me know in the comments. 

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Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.