Get Ready for Turkey Trot

woman finishing a race

With Thanksgiving coming up next month, many of you are likely signing up for Turkey Trot races Thursday morning before the big meal. While you may feel like you need to stock up on new running shoes or a fancy athletic watch, the best thing you can do ahead of race day is to start running.

Research has shown that the majority of running injuries come from people doing too much too soon, which can mean running a few miles after not having run recently. It doesn’t matter what shoes you wear or how hard you warm up if you haven’t trained beforehand, and with a month until the big day, now is the perfect time to start.

Find a couch to 5k program online if you haven’t run in a while and make sure you stick with it. A run/walk program that gradually increases in intensity and has you running about 3-4 times per week is a great way to start if you haven’t run regularly lately.

Once you have a training plan, you can dive into other details. One important factor is the weather. While Thanksgiving temperatures can dip pretty low in the morning, it’s important not to overheat. A good rule of thumb for running is to dress for weather 10-20 degrees warmer than it is outside. So, if it’s 45 degrees on race day, you want to be able to take off your sweatshirt for when you start to feel like it’s in the 60s.

Another important tip is to pace yourself. If you’re used to running alone or with a friend, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement on race day and start off too fast. Try not to feel pressured to stick with anyone else or hit a certain time. This can be a great way to crash and burn, so even if you’re feeling amped up at the start, remember to go a little slower than you want to for the first few minutes. Pacing yourself will allow you to actually finish the race.

And remember to be kind to yourself. Run with family or friends and use it as a fun way to blow off steam during the holiday season, rather than thinking of it as punishment for all the eating you’re about to do. Get in the holiday spirit by focusing on being grateful for what your body can do. Running or even walking for a few miles is no easy feat.

Happy Thanksgiving!