Athletics stars share their festive plans
Daley Thompson once said: “Train twice on Christmas Day. Your competitors may only train once…” But not all elite athletes share the two-time Olympic decathlon gold medallist’s view.
For marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge, December 25 offers a 20km run, while for Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi it’s a time for vacation.
Marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge
“Christmas is on a Wednesday this year so an easy day, I’ll just go for 20km.”
British hammer record-holder Nick Miller
“On Christmas Day I tend to try and hit different aspects of my all-round athletic abilities on this special day. In the morning I usually start with a short sprint to the tree, followed by vigorous shoulder raises to rip open gifts. The afternoon I find quite hard, however. After lathering my beard with gravy and brandy sauce I perform the hardest part of my yearly training – trying to do a Turkish get-up without spilling my bowl of chocolate wrappers to move from in front of the fire place to return to my hibernation chamber…
“But on a more serious note, I take Christmas to relax and spend time with family, as all my local facilities are closed so others can do the same.”
Scottish record-holder and world 5000m finalist Eilish McColgan
“I will be training this year but only because we fly out on a family holiday on the 27th so I need to take a few easy days.
“My mum is working over Christmas so this will be the first year I’m spending it in the UK for a while. I’ll get a session done in the morning on my treadmill before heading through to visit Michael’s (Rimmer, her boyfriend) family.”
Two-time world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm
“Yes I will be training on Christmas Day, I train every day. We always make a plan according to where I am.
“This year I will celebrate Christmas Day at the cabin where there is snow and it is icy. Therefore, I will do some core and strength work with my body as resistance.”
World 50km champion and world record-holder Aly Dixon
“Yes, I’ll be training on Christmas Day. This year myself and my dad will do Herrington parkrun (not actually together!). For me it will be about 10-12 miles in total. I always like running on Christmas Day as it fills the gap between opening presents and eating lunch!”
2019 British 200m No.1 Miguel Francis
“No I won’t be training on Christmas, we’ve got some time off.”
Multiple World Para Athletics sprint champion and world record-holder Sophie Hahn
“On Christmas morning we get up and open our stockings, usually still in our pyjamas. While Christmas lunch is cooking we take the dogs for a walk (we have got dressed at this point!) and then home for lunch. We open our main gifts after lunch and then collapse before playing silly games and trying to force down tea. All in all, usually good fun spent with family.”
Olympic pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi
“I will not be training on Christmas Day! We will be taking a little Christmas vacation, in fact.”
European indoor 800m silver medallist Jamie Webb
“I’ll be doing a nice easy long run early on Christmas Day, then back to spend the rest of the day with the family.”
British marathon champion Charlotte Purdue
“I have a 90min run in the morning. I’m in Australia so I’ll be running around here.”
World Para Athletics Championships T64 high jump gold medallist Jonathan Broom-Edwards
“I’m part of a family who think it’s fun to do a parkrun on Christmas morning! As of last year this is part of my regime for Christmas morning, as it was a milestone following my Achilles rupture to be able to run 5km.
“I normally schedule in an active recovery day on Christmas Day as spending quality time with family is really important to me. I’ll hit the grind again on Boxing Day.”
World long jump finalist Abigail Irozuru
“No training for me on Christmas Day. I will be enjoying it fully.”
World 1500m finalist Jake Wightman
“I’ll be running on Christmas morning. Important to still get training in, but not to let it dictate the day!”
Welsh half-marathon record-holder Charlotte Arter
“For the past few years I have always gone out for an early morning run on Christmas Day, but for the next few weeks Wednesdays are a high volume day, 70mins in the morning and 50mins in the afternoon.
“So as Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday it looks like I’ll be doing two runs… It’s a good job my family have always had Christmas dinner in the evening!”
World Para Athletics Championships T36 800m champion Paul Blake
“Training on Christmas Day will consist of expanding my stomach with a large breakfast followed by a long run in order to make room for the enormous meal I intend on eating with my family.”
British pole vault record-holder Holly Bradshaw
“Nope! Never do! Christmas Day is the one day of the year that’s reserved for family and I can switch off from pole vault.”
» Whether you will or won’t be training this Christmas Day, remember you can still read about it! Check out our dedicated performance section online here