With a week between Christmas and NY, why not do something fun and give your adventure-loving-soul something to feast on before the year is out. Here are my favourite 7 low-cost adventures and challenges anyone could try. I love everything about Christmas, any excuse to indulge in the festive spirit and I’m all over it. This year I’ve been making Christmas cookies, wearing Christmas jumpers, buying silly Christmas hats and listening to Christmas songs.
I really don’t need much of an excuse to be honest, I think it’s the American heritage in me coming out! At least that’s what Charley blames it on. “That’s so American…” he says when I’m trying to get him to partake in the latest Christmas tradition, but I love getting in the spirit!
This Christmas, I’m excited to add a healthy dose of adventure and fitness challenges into the mix of normal traditions. I wanted to share with you my favourite ones in case you need a little nudge or inspiration to get some fresh air in those lungs and burn off a few calories over the holidays.
Without further ado:
1. Go for a long walk and bivvy out
I recently read in Trail magazine about the idea of walking from one end of a valley to the next, bivvying over night and retracing your steps the next day. I love that idea. Head out on a long walk, it doesn’t have to be a valley, you could follow a river path or climb a mountain. Sleep once the sun goes down and let the first rays of dawn wake you in nature.
Go with friends or family, take someone who’s never been on an adventure before and help them experience what you love. You’ll need a sleeping bag, camping stove, food, bivvy bag or tent, warm clothing and your adventurous spirit. If you don’t fancy the camping you can always stay in a local B&B.
*Whiskey highly recommended.
2. Sleep on a hill
I absolutely love bivvying out and I don’t do it nearly as much as I should. Climb a hill, sleep there and wake up over looking the view with the sunrise, a mug of warm tea and the smell of bacon cooking. It feels like having a private kingdom all to yourself. Like you are the King of your castle!
The day light hours are short which means you’ll probably get to the top of the hill in the dark. Felt a bit strange the first time I slept on a hill but I remember waking up every hour looking at the ceiling of stars and waiting excitedly for morning to arrive. It’s almost like waiting for Christmas to come! Almost…
*Whiskey also highly recommended
3. Brave the cold with an icy dip
If you want a seriously exhilarating experience, grab your swimmers, goggles and hat and head to your nearest lido, lake or the sea for an icy dip. It’s the type of cold that literally takes your breath away, you go from zero to hero in that one jump. You might not last long in the water if you want to keep your fingers and toes, (I’m really selling it here!) but feelings of courage and “I can’t believe I just did that” are 100% guaranteed, or your money back of course. Whatever you consume straight after will feel like the best ever hot chocolate/coffee/beer/cake/bacon sarnie…
Many swimming clubs partake in a Christmas or New Years Day dip, so you don’t need to brave it alone, I’ve always found swimmers to be a friendly bunch and I’m sure they’d welcome you.
4. Be active everyday
Do something everyday. Whether walking, running, cycling or working out in the gym is our thing, challenge yourself to treat your body and mind to being active every day. I have a bit of an issue in that I like to push myself and this can have an adverse effect on my training, meaning that I feel every session has to be big and leave me feeling ruined for me to feel it was a good session. I know this isn’t right and I’ve been working on changing this. I’ve been focusing on being active every day and on quality rather than volume.
I still have my long runs and heavy strength sessions, but I’ve been loving the effect of being active consistently and throwing more chilled activities into the mix like walking. Just 30 minutes in the morning is enough to have a hugely positive effect on the way I feel and how I go about my day.
5. Rapha Festive 500
This one’s for all you cyclists out there. The Rapha Festive 500 hails cyclists the world over and challenges us to cycle 500kms between Christmas and NY. Run by Rapha and with no prize on offer other than the pride of having completed this amazing challenge and sticking to something that can actually be quite hard especially if out cycling on your own. It’s a fair few miles to get in!
I love watching the pictures, stories and videos unfold on the website, the lengths people go to and the adventures they have is remarkable and I find it really inspiring.
6. 500 Rep Challenge
One of the workouts I’ve been doing is the 500 rep challenge and it’s a really easy, accessible and free way to fit an awesome workout into my day and burn off the mince pies. The challenge is to complete a 500 rep workout 5 times between Christmas and New Year. In completing it you’ll do a whopping 2500 reps and burn plenty of calories.
500 rep workout: (there are many variations on this)
7. Festive 50
Charley and I have been loving our running recently and as I won’t have my bike this Christmas, I was looking for another festive challenge we could do and Charley had suggested we run a Festive 50 miles between Christmas Eve and New Year.
He’s already claimed Christmas Day as a day off, dedicated purely to festivities and indulging, leaving us with 6 days to complete 50 miles. We’ll be sharing our progress on Twitter using #Festive50, join us if you fancy it!
Let me know what adventures and challenges you get up to on social media but most importantly, have an amazing Christmas and give yourself the break you deserve.