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Training On Christmas Day: Do The Pros Do It?

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Christmas is a time for presents, eating and general merriment. But what if you’re a professional triathlete? Can you afford to take the time off ‘work’?

To find out, we thought we’d chat to some of the best pros and age groupers in the business and find out:

Craig Alexander, 2009 Ironman World Champion: I might sneak a run in if the kids are asleep or if I get up before they do, but I won’t kill myself on it. I’ve found as I’ve gotten older I don’t need to train as much – I’ve learned how to train the right way.

Julie Dibens, 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Champion and XTERRA World Champion: Yes, I will do some training but it will be tailored back. For the past few years (while i was in Bath) on Christmas Eve I used to do 12 hills….1 each of the 12 days of Christmas!

One year we even went to the extent of getting Santa hats and beards to wear during them – but it was too cold and icy that we ended up doing it on the turbo.

On Christmas day I try to get out and do a long run in the am, before there is too much family action going on around the house.

Philip Graves, Winner Ironman UK 2009: On Xmas day last year I did a 3hr ride and short run. This year I don’t know, I’m on a training camp in spain with the BTF until the 23rd and off to South Africa on the 28th. Last year I did a 3hr ride and short run and will prob do the same this year, really. Getting out sets a good precedent for the year ahead!

Jodie Swallow, 2009 ITU Long Distance World Champion: I love Xmas day. Every year quite early I go on a long run in the beautiful forest opposite my parents house on my own. My big sister Joanna, my mum and my dad (hesitantly!) go for a long bike ride together and so we all are hungry and done by midday…we don’t eat anything till about five because mum has been riding and so xmas day in our house, unlike most others, is actually a day of starvation!

This year is a little different as I’m single and puppy-less 🙁 I will miss walking Baxter…maybe I’ll do another run instead 😉

Russell Cox, Top Age Grouper:
Traditionally I’ve done some kind of training on Christmas Day. Usually I’ll get a run in before most people are up. I like to get some form of exercise done before the eating starts! My first Christmas away in Australia I did more. I started the day with a three hour ride along the beaches of the Gold Coast and Tweed Valley. Once a big Christmas lunch had finally digested I finished the day with a run along the beaches. It’s less about quality training sessions, more about fun and trying to burn off the Christmas dinner!

Not sure what I’ll be doing this Christmas, I’ll get something done for sure though.

Rachel Joyce, Sixth at 2009 Ironman World Championships: I really love the festive period and to me Christmas is about spending a few days with my family up in Yorkshire. Catching up with family and friends does make it more challenging to get my training in but now my family would think there was something wrong if I didn’t turn up with my bike and trainers.

I usually go for a long run on Christmas morning to get my appetite up for lunch, and then do a long bike ride on Boxing Day. I also incorporate my training into my social schedule – biking to my friends’ houses for a cuppa (okay, and a mince pie!) and chat!

Pete Jacobs, Eighth at 2009 Ironman World Championships: Ha Ha I definitely don’t train on Christmas day! I spend the morning at my brother’s place on the beach with my family. I have lunch with Jaimie’s family and then I’m so full of food I just laze around, maybe at the beach.