The fall season brings with it one of the most engaging and fun ways to get active during the holidays, the annual turkey trot! Turkey trots are a great way to get motivated to get active, work towards a personal fitness goal, find an enjoyable activity the whole family can participate in, and bring attention to charitable causes.
Before you begin an exercise or stretching routine, you should consult with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physical therapist. Take a look at some of the top tips to prepare for your next turkey trot!
One of the most important things you can do to effectively prepare for your upcoming turkey trot is to focus on proper nutrition. Eating a well-rounded and healthy diet is an essential step in making sure that you have the energy you need for those long training days and to properly recover each day.
Make sure you set aside some time in the weeks leading up to race day to give your body the proper nutrition it needs to fuel all of your training efforts as you progressively ramp up the length, intensity, and frequency of runs. Balanced diets play an important role in our body's ability to not only recover from injuries, but to help mitigate the risk for injuries over time with the right balance of micro and macronutrients.
There are a number of different turkey trot races each year with variable race distances. When trying to determine which turkey trot race to participate in, you might have the option of choosing from several. During the evaluation process to choose which race, you should strive to set attainable and realistic goals so you can not only enjoy the race, but give yourself enough time to prepare and train well in advance to ensure you have a successful run based on your fitness level and overall wellness.
If you've never run a turkey trot before, consider running in a shorter race that will let you dip your toes in a bit and give you a taste of what to expect for future runs. Consider participating in a turkey trot that has a shorter distance and fewer people. Turkey trots can be big events and you don't want the little things like stressing out where to register or where to start in the pack to affect your performance.
Set attainable and realistic goals that you can keep your eye on as you train and participate in the turkey trot. Attainable goals can include things like jogging the entire distance, finishing while keeping a steady pace, setting a new best time compared to your training times, etc. The race you select should match the goals you've outlined. After choosing a race distance that you want to succeed at, selecting a training plan is crucial to ensure you are prepared on race day. Select a training plan that matches your level of experience and is also reasonable for you to commit to while preparing.
One of the most effective tips you can take advantage of as you prepare for your next turkey trot is to always track your training progress. Tracking your training progress serves multiple purposes; two of the most important include helping you stick to a routine and providing that little extra bit of motivation when you look back to see how far you've come.
Training for a turkey trot can be difficult. Depending on where your journey begins, you might be a complete beginner looking to race for the first time or a seasoned vet looking to set a new personal record. Whatever your experience level may be, you should be tracking your training progress and include important details like the length, time duration, trail or path you ran on, the weather, and how you felt. On those days where you're lacking motivation or feel like you're taking a step back, feel free to pull out your progress notes and use them as that extra bit of motivation to get out there and get the day's training in.
Progress can also feel slow at times, which is why keeping detailed notes will give you an opportunity to look back and see how far you've come and motivate you to reach the goal of completing your upcoming turkey trot.
Another important step to take as you prepare for your upcoming turkey trot is to make sure that you practice and prepare like each day is race day. Ever heard of the phrase, practice like you play? The old adage rings true as you want to make sure that you're all set and prepared for when the big day comes. If you're training one way and then expect a different result on race day, you might be in for a bit of a surprise and fall short of your personal goals.
Make sure that you practice and prepare each day like it's race day to ensure that you're ready for when the real turkey trot begins. This doesn’t mean running at race speed, but does mean preparing by wearing similar clothes, eating a nutritious meal, and running at the same time of day. In addition to keeping yourself in the right mindset for race day, you'll ensure that your training regime is consistent and allow you to appropriately track your progress with the correct metrics.
On race day, the weather can be unpredictable. As you ramp up your training, consider running on days when the weather isn't perfect or sunny. Make sure you're prepared for whatever type of weather might pop up on turkey trot day which can include cold, warm, wet, dry, and windy conditions.
Most turkey trot events also begin early in the morning, so you should make sure that you're prepared for early morning runs. If you're a mid-day, afternoon, or evening runner, make sure that you add some morning jogs into your routine so you can be prepared for waking up a bit earlier to get to the event and start your jog as the sun rises throughout the day.
You've been hard at work in the months and weeks leading up to your turkey trot, make sure you take a look at these helpful tips for race day to make sure you're adequately prepared and set up for success!
Nutrition is not only important in the weeks leading up to your turkey trot, but the event itself. Make sure that you pack and eat a good pre-race snack and one that you can consume shortly afterward to replenish all of the lost nutrients you expended.
When you get to the race event, make sure that you spend a good chunk of time implementing a safe and effective pre-run warmup and stretching routine.
In most scenarios, you'll arrive at your turkey trot bright and early in the morning. You might even be half-asleep still. Take some time to warm up those muscles and get your body prepared for the task ahead by letting it ease in. A light warmup and stretching routine can also get you in the perfect mindset as you focus on breathing, relax those pre-race jitters, and begin to envision how your run is going to go.
As we mentioned earlier, you should be prepared to dress for the weather, whatever it may be. Consider wearing layers that are breathable, comfortable, and will allow you to shed them if you begin to heat up before or during the run. Select clothing that protects you from the elements and won't impact your running form or movement in any capacity.
Once the race gets started, your nerves are going to be quite high, especially if it's your first turkey trot. As you begin and progress through your run, make sure that you focus on pacing yourself. It's understandable to be off to a quicker start due to nerves, but try to gradually ease into your pace as the race progresses. Even though there are others you'll be running alongside, remember that you're only responsible for running your own race, so pick a pace you're comfortable with and stick to it.
Once your race is finished, don't forget to do a warm-down and some post-run stretches. You'll want to gently ease your body down from its peak activity level and one of the best ways to return to normalcy after spending so much energy in a turkey trot is to slowly warm down and implement post-run stretches. Once you're done, don't forget to consume that post-run snack we mentioned earlier to begin the recovery process and replenish those lost nutrients.
Running in an annual turkey trot is an awesome experience and you should make sure that during all the buildup and the actual event itself, you take a moment to enjoy it and have fun. You'll get an opportunity to run with like-minded individuals, bring awareness to charities sponsoring the event, and work towards excellent health and wellness goals. Have fun and enjoy the turkey trot!
Training for an upcoming turkey trot can be difficult, so make sure you get treated for those aches and pains when they arise. Our licensed and trained physical therapists are movement experts who can help you alleviate pain, reduce the likelihood of injury, and get you back into training shape based on your unique needs and goals.
Schedule an appointment at a nearby physical therapy clinic to see how our physical therapists can help you!