Your Day by Day Guide to Training for a Turkey Trot

Autumn RunWe have all experienced that overwhelming sense of dread once the holidays are upon us. Presents to purchase, trips to pack for, and family meals to orchestrate, all lend to stressful times beginning in early November. Take some time for yourself heading into the holiday chaos.

Plan for a Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot and be thankful for your healthy body.

Start Your Holiday Healthy

I love a great race on a holiday morning. There is nothing more positive than starting the day by doing something really great for your health. Turkey Trots around the nation have become a favourite pastime, both as a bonding experience with family in town visiting, and serving as damage control before the day’s ultimate gorge. What does it take to walk or run a Turkey Trot?

Turkey Trots are Tangible

Most Turkey Trots are 5K races, or 3.1 miles. This is an excellent distance for new runners and walkers, as it is manageable and doesn’t require a huge investment of your time before the holiday havoc begins. If you can already comfortably walk or run a mile and a half, you are well on your way to completing a Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving. If you have little experience running, or lack a sufficient training base, you can still walk your way to the finish line. Injury prevention is paramount, so of course, always train within your athletic ability.

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If you can find four days to run or walk, you can train for a Turkey Trot in as little as five weeks. A sample training plan for a beginner might look something like this:

Week One:

  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: walk/run 1.5 miles
  • Wednesday: cross-train
  • Thursday: walk/run 1.5 miles
  • Friday: cross-train or rest
  • Saturday: walk/run 1.75 miles
  • Sunday: walk/run 1.5 miles

Week Two:

  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: walk/run 2 miles
  • Wednesday: cross-train
  • Thursday: walk/run 1.75 miles
  • Friday: cross-train or rest
  • Saturday: walk/run 2 miles
  • Sunday: walk/run 1.75 miles

Week Three:

  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: walk/run 2.25 miles
  • Wednesday: cross-train or rest
  • Thursday: walk/run 2 miles
  • Friday: cross-train
  • Saturday: walk/run 2.5 miles
  • Sunday: walk/run 1.75 miles

Week Four:

  • Monday: rest
  • Tuesday: walk/run 2.25 miles
  • Wednesday: cross-train
  • Thursday: walk/run 2.5 miles
  • Friday: cross-train or rest
  • Saturday: walk/run 3 miles
  • Sunday: walk/run 2.25 miles

Race Week

  • Monday: cross-train or rest
  • Tuesday: walk/run 2.5 miles
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving Turkey Trot!

Ideally, your cross-training days are spent in the gym, swimming, or cycling. Listen to your body, but try to alternate activities on cross-training days to call on different muscle groups and give your legs a reprieve.

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 If you are more advanced, perhaps you want to focus on running faster for your race. In this case, use Tuesday as your “speed day” (except for race week), and run intervals, such as 400 or 800 metre repeats, with quick leg turnover. Speed begets speed, so plan your mileage accordingly and be sure you are adequately rested going into the shortened race week. Most races fall on the weekend, but with the Thanksgiving holiday falling on a Thursday, plan your week wisely and don’t forget to hydrate.