How About Turning Off The TV, And Get Active Before That Big Holiday Meal!

Something that you may not be aware of but this time of year, Thanksgiving I mean, is a runners glory days, when we can pick and choose from a wide variety of events, since at this time of year the most running events are being held.

Most of them have the nomenclature of being called a “Turkey Trot Run”.  And yes there is actually a definition of why these events are called “Turkey Trots”.  According to Wikipedia, and who doesn’t trust Wikipedia?  A turkey trot is a fun run or footrace, usually of the long-distance variety, that is held on or around Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Traditionally, turkey trots are held because Americans anticipate indulgent Thanksgiving feasts and run in turkey trots to burn off calories before the big meal.

After all, the sport of running is increasingly social, so it’s no surprise Thanksgiving turkey trots are on the rise with the holiday being centered around family and friends,” said Rich Harshbarger, Running USA CEO. The Thanksgiving holiday has become such a popular running day, it seems as if nearly every community has their own turkey trot, which only strengthens the community and family focus of the day, plus it’s a lot of fun!

So why are so many people flocking (see the pun?) to participate in a Turkey Trot event around their areas?  It’s really simple. Most of us, love the holiday fare that is enjoyed around so many American holiday tables. And the new mindset, especially among those who enjoy running is to do some damage to our bodies prior to taking that second helping of mashed potatoes and gravy.

After all, it’s been calculated that indulging in that favorite holiday meal can have a person consuming anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 calories at that one meal. Naturally, that’s including the pre-sit down eating. Like sampling the cookies, nut and pumpkin rolls and washing everything down with your favorite beverage. Most of which are pretty high in calories.

So doing a run before you sit down can help prepare you and make you feel better at chowing down on all those carb-loaded foods and sugars.  Now, there are all types of Turkey Trot runs. Most of these events are geared to raising monies for various local charities. So besides helping you make that room for your holiday meal, you can actually help a good cause get the funds they need to continue their services based on their organization’s needs.  These races can range, mile wise, anywhere from 3K all the way up to a 26.2 mile marathon, however, most of them usually max out at about 8 miles. Just enough time and distance to work up that appetite and still leave you in good shape to sit down for that meal, while not having you feel like you want to eat whole turkey with the trimmings if you ran a marathon.

Now one of the attention getting fun things to do when you run these races is dress up!  For example the oldest Turkey Trot held in the United States is the Buffalo Turkey Trot run.  Since 1896 runners have competed in the cross country race that has become today’s Turkey Trot. The race attracts serious runners, amateurs, and team competitors alike. The Turkey Trot is an 8k footrace which begins on Delaware Avenue, and continues into downtown Buffalo, NY. The racers participating in this long standing fun-run dress up in holiday related outfits, from wearing a turkey suit, to dressing up as a pilgrim and running off towards the finish line.

For those of us that love to run, or maybe for someone who is thinking about using this holiday themed event to get themselves started, there is a motivation undercurrent to help you keep your interest up during these holiday times while getting you ready for the Spring Season of running.

It’s something called the “Run Streak” started by “Runners World” it breaks down to running at least one mile per day, every day, starting on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23) and ending on New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1). That’s 40 consecutive days of running. So it’s a great way to continue what you started on or about the Thanksgiving holiday.  And you know even though this post has a fun theme to it. Running for me is a commitment that I take seriously. That being said, I keep track of my progress and strive to push myself just a bit more every couple of weeks. This mindset works well with building up my endurance and not falling into a running rut.  To keep track I like my Garmin Forerunner 235, It’s a great running companion and if I choose sometimes to try out a new trail, just to break up my regular running routines, this tracker has a great GPS built into it, along with a wrist based heart rate monitor. So you can see this one portable device provides me with all the info I need to keep a close watch (pun again) over my progress and keep me reaching for just a little bit more.

Bottom line, take advantage of the large amount of Thanksgiving running opportunities that are now going on, and go ahead and pick your favorite holiday theme running event. Then go ahead and have some fun with other like-minded people, maybe running out there in their own version of a turkey suit! And after you’ve crossed that finish line, then you can go ahead and join together with your family and friends and sit yourself down to that holiday meal.

I can probably guarantee that after having some fun and running that race you won’t feel so bad about taking that slice of pumpkin or my favorite, pecan pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!! A few days in advance, Gobble, Gobble!