Fit these fast, festive runs into your routine and Santa and his reindeer won’t be the only thing soaring through the sky. It will be you zooming past in your Lycra!

Arguably, Christmas is the best time of the year. You get to scoff mince pies, frolic under the mistletoe and embrace the festive cheer in all its tinsel-clad glory. Yet with pressies to buy, cards to write and parties to go to, your running can fall by the wayside. Squeeze in a superfast workout with our six 30-minute runs (or less) to keep you flying this Christmas.

Festive fartlek

Keep the cold weather at bay and work up a sweat with a dose of fat-burning fartlek. Sprinkle your 30-minute run with bursts of speed. Start running at a relaxed pace and then add in 30 second sprints at 80 per cent effort. Try to fit 10 – 15 of these into your run, returning to an easier pace in between to recover.

The winter wind-up

Split your run into three parts. Imagine a big slab of Christmas cake, divided. Go at an easy pace for the first 10 minutes. Run the second section a bit faster – push it but not too hard. For the last 10 minutes put the burners on and imagine you’re running towards a ginormous tin of sparkling Quality Street.

Ho-ho hills

Hills are hard but you’ll be stronger for running them. Run one mile at a pace that you can maintain but that also feels like you’re pushing. Find a steep hill to conquer and get your stop watch ready. Run hard for 45 – 60 seconds up-hill, followed by a gentle 90 second run down to the bottom. Repeat eight times. Follow your sets by a one mile cool down at a nice, easy pace, then get back to dancing around the Christmas tree.

Five minutes of fast

Pop this simple speed session into your schedule and follow with a mince pie, naturally. Run at a relaxed pace for five minutes before running hard for five minutes. Alternate these two paces until your half an hour is up. Before you know it you’ll be back to embracing the Christmas fun.

Supercharged strides

Begin your usual easy run and find a flat fast stretch of path, road or track. Run as fast as you can for 80 to 100 metres, rest for two minutes to recover. Repeat five times, take a relaxed run home, put on your Santa hat and grab a glass of something festive!

Merry Christmas Kept Fit runners!