So, you've decided, after one piece of pecan pie too many, that this holiday season is finally it - you are going to start your journey as a runner. It has been lingering on your mind for awhile and after watching all of those friends and co-workers show off their swag on "Medal Mondays" you have an idea to help you get started - A Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. If you were going to jump into the jogging / running game, this seems like a fun, almost comedic way to begin the journey. After all, you are looking for fun not fear in order to have the confidence to begin. Bird costumes at the starting line, bragging rights at the Thanksgiving Day table doesn't sound intimidating, it actually does sound kind of fun.
As a seasoned connoisseur of Thanksgiving dinners and an esteemed fan of taking it easy, this decision is definitely uncharted territory. Many others were in the same boat (or running shoes) as you are now—not long ago. Here's the doubly comforting news: If they can do it, you can do it. It is possible to have your turkey and eat it too!
Why take the Plunge? Running is not just an exercise. It is a journey towards a healthier and more energetic lifestyle. Integrating running (even a modest amount) into your weekly routine can help with cardiovascular health, burn calories, strengthen your muscles and enhance your mental focus and perseverance.
Now, let's get one thing straight from the get-go: embarking on a Turkey Trot does not mean you must abandon your Turkey Day traditions any more than running means you have grown wings. Yes, you can still enjoy that second helping of mashed potatoes as if you were preparing for hibernation. The goal is to join something fun and community oriented and if you keep at it......start a habit. Turkey Trots are fun, festive and can foster a sense of accomplishment and belonging - all of which can provide you with plenty of motivation to continue your new running habit.
The beauty of beginning your running journey at a local Turkey Trot is the intimidation factor - there is none. There are usually a variety of distances to choose from depending on where you run and plenty of runners are decked out in Turkey themed costumes. Don't believe it? Google Turkey Trot attire and you'll see the myriad of accessories, costumes and turkey related gear available to you. Remember, it's a Turkey Trot, not a Turkey Sprint. Your goal is simply to finish the race with a sense of accomplishment before you gobble down your Thanksgiving Day Meal.
How to prepare for trotting a few miles:
Get yourself fitted for the correct pair of walking/jogging shoes along with a pair of tech socks. We recommend stopping in a Super Runners Shop location if you are in the NYC area. We may be bias but believe we are one of the best in outfitting you for the proper running gear!
Get a mental game going. You have to want to do it. Baby steps, don’t rush! Start off with brisk walking and gradually insert short periods of jogging. Sometimes it helps to play a game with yourself - "I'm going to jog to the big tree up ahead and then I can walk again." Repeat.
Begin to increase the jogging intervals and lower your walking times. Give yourself positive self talk the entire way. Running requires a strong mental game. The more focused and positive you are - the greater your physical results will be.
The proper nutrition and hydration will make you feel better when you are running. Everything in moderation. The better your gut and body feel, the better you will feel running. The key to it all is balance. You don't have to have restrictions nor is it wise to put no thought about what goes into your body to fuel it. Staying properly hydrated is also very important. These factors can dictate how much energy you have.
Enjoy the feeling of camaraderie and the excitement that emanates from the crowd on the day. Better yet, the overwhelming sense of accomplishment will make that Thanksgiving meal taste even more tantalizing - and remember, even if you’re more tortoise than hare, your participation in the Turkey Trot earns the bragging rights at the dinner table!
In the end, the Turkey Trot is just as much about being thankful for the ability to move and be part of a community as it is about reaching that finish line. Because, isn't that what Thanksgiving and running are all about?