How to stay in shape during the summer holiday

How to stay in shape during the summer holiday

Se Allan Zachariasen's profil
 Allan Zachariasen

Se Laura Nijhuis' profil
 Laura Nijhuis


To many people, the summer holiday means relaxation and enjoying life. Time for barbeques, sunbeds, and sangria – and there should definitely be room for that! However, it may actually be wise to stay in shape over the summer period if you do not want to start from scratch with the training once the weekday starts again. Therefore, we have asked the former top athlete Allan Zachariasen to give his advice on how you stay in shape and keep up the motivation during your summer holiday. Read here!



A lot of joggers will in periods be focused and train towards specific runs in the hope of setting a new personal record, or a ground-breaking distance like the first 10k or the first half marathon.

Systematically structured training is the best way to progress; however, it is also important and necessary with rest periods where the body can recover. 

To many people, the summer holiday is exactly this period of rest where you allow yourself to be more lenient about the training, as you will often find it challenging to even work out during the summer holiday. It is a time where few running clubs offer any training. Many people are on vacation and you are, therefore, left to your own devices when it comes to training. This can be especially challenging for the social runner, who enjoys the company. 

In some cases, it may even be necessary to completely abandon the training depending on where and how you take your summer break. But how much can you even neglect the training during the summer holiday before it starts affecting fitness?

One week of rest will have no physiological effect on the fitness but will instead ensure a proper recovery. Two weeks of rest will affect fitness, while three weeks of rest, according to scientific research, will almost halve your fitness. 

However, it does not require a lot to stay in shape. Two weekly runs in a calm tempo will keep the body working and should be manageable to most people. Consequently, it also means that you will find it easier to start up again after the holiday.

If you are a social runner, it will take a bit of extra willpower and discipline to continue the training on your own. Fortunately, there is a solution to this.



If the reason you are running is that you have to and not because you enjoy it, then you might find it harder to motivate yourself to go for a run during the summer break. Because now you finally have time to take care of yourself, sleep in, and enjoy how empty the diary is. 

But perhaps you should try to give the training another chance when you are on your summer holiday, as you will actually have the time and peace to find yourself as a runner.

In terms of motivation, you can try to experiment with different running routes and run scenic routes you have never run before. A morning run by the beach or in the city feels different.

To experiment with new types of training may also help you to raise the motivation, which means you will actually get to do some training. For instance, try stair running, hill running, and running off-road in the forest. There are loads of possibilities. If you are staying near the beach, you can try to run in the dunes and finish off with a dip in the ocean. Only your imagination sets the boundaries and it does not have to be boring.




Switching up the training and the surface will actually benefit your body and fitness while, at the same time, allow you to explore the summer landscape.  

If you are struggling with time or motivation, then even the shorter runs of 15-20 minutes will help you to maintain and boost your fitness. Every little helps – and it is important to remember that running should be a mental break and the feeling of doing something good for yourself. You do not necessarily have to run at a high pace or a long distance. Instead, set your own goals for how long you wish or have the time to run that particular day – this may make it more manageable and alleviates some of the pressure that comes with running at a high pace or running a distance in a particular time. If it is hot outside, you can find good tips on how to run in the summer heat here.



A lot of runners actually use the holiday to boost fitness. The extra time and, not least, the possibility of getting some more rest, allows for the ideal training conditions. However, this does not mean you have to increase the training load dramatically. You should still adhere to the supercompensation principle which says that the training load should only be increased with 3-5 percent every week. If you want to run the risk and are used to running regularly, you can, nevertheless, try to increase the training load significantly for one week.


There are many ways to boost training:

- The length of the long-distance run can be increased by up to 120 minutes

- One or two extra training sessions every week

- Try to do two shorter runs on the same day

- Super intense training is recommended. For instance, 8 x 20 sec. with a 10 sec. break. Tempo: all out. (It is a bad idea to plan other physical activities on this day!)

- Tempo runs for 4-5k where the pace should be high.


If you boost the training, it is important to be conscious of recovery. I have seen too many examples of increasing the training load while simultaneously walking souvenir walks for several hours. That is a bad combination! Remember to drink plenty of water, eat a varied diet, and get enough sleep – this way you will return to the bustling weekday fresh, rested, and, not least, in good shape!




Generally, it is much better to go for a run even if it is a short one. Remember, even if you would consider your run a short one, you have, at the very least, overtaken those who decided to sit at home on the couch. 




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