THE QUESTION: I'm training to run in a marathon mid-January in Phoenix. My next long run is slated for Christmas Day but my family is threatening to hide my shoes. Will it completely derail my progress if I postpone my run?
THE ANSWER: Balancing family and training is tricky when preparing for any marathon, especially during the holiday season. The answer depends, in large part, on how diligent you've been about your training so far. You'll probably be okay if you have done all your prescribed runs (especially tempo and long runs). Missing your long run is more problematic if you have already skipped workouts and/or you were counting on Christmas Day to be your one and only 20-mile run. But you could postpone your long run until some time between Dec. 29 and 31. Make it a negative split run: Run your second half faster than the first half. Between Jan. 3 and 5, do a 12-mile run with at least 10 miles at race pace. Then start to taper your workouts.
Kathleen Trotter is a certified personal trainer.