Get some fresh air and enjoy a fun, active outdoor activity with the whole family by signing up for a Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving . If training for a fun run sounds daunting, worry not.
Running a 5K is a highly attainable goal — whether you regularly train for marathons or are happier marathoning Netflix series. Most events are also accommodating to those who prefer to walk the distance, and they usually offer kid-friendly events, so even the littlest ones in your gang can participate.
Here are a few tips to help you train and make the most of your turkey-themed run, whether it's a yearly tradition or your very first attempt.
Preparing for Training
Choose a training plan to follow and jump right in. There are thousands of plans available online, but be sure to select a schedule that fits your current fitness level and lifestyle. Don't jump into a weekly routine that includes six runs if you're new to the sport. Start slow and never feel like you need to copy what someone else is doing.
Stock your closet with a few running essentials. You don't need much gear for running, but there are several key pieces of equipment you'll want to invest in:
Running shoes: Buy a good-quality pair of running shoes that are appropriate for your foot type and gait. There are three main types of shoes: neutral, stability, and motion control. Check out your local running store to obtain a gait assessment and verify your shoe size. Shoes vary in terms of their cushioning levels as well. What works for one runner, however, may not work for another. The number one rule? Find a comfortable shoe that fits correctly.
If you're a neutral runner: The Brooks Ghost 12 is a well-cushioned trainer ideal for beginner to intermediate runners.
If you're a pronator and need stability: The Asics GT-2000 6 is a lightweight stability shoe with a responsive midsole.
For those who require extra support: Consider the New Balance 1540v2, which delivers superior levels of motion control along with a comfortably cushioned midsole layer.
Solid layers: Weather is typically chilly in the late fall, so stay warm with technical clothing items that wick sweat and help keep you comfortable even in rainy weather. A water-resistant shell, like the Adidas Own The Run Jacket, is useful for wet conditions. Opt for an insulated jacket, like the Nike AeroLayer Hooded Running Jacket, for chilly runs. Layering allows you to peel off clothing should you overheat. Your base layer (the one closest to your skin) wicks away sweat so you're not left soaking wet after a hard effort.
Accessories for cold weather running:
A running vest, like the Columbia Morning Light III Omni, is ideal for those who create a lot of body heat and prefer to keep their arms exposed to cool air.
A pair of touchscreen-friendly TrailHeads Running Gloves to keep your fingers protected from chill. Opt for mitts if you have circulation issues or plan to run in extreme weather conditions.
A warm hat, like the SLS3 Beanie, protects your ears and keeps hair out of your face. Opt for a model with a ponytail hole if you have lots of hair and prefer keeping it tied back while running.
Comfortable tights with fleece lining are perfect for chilly fall mornings. We recommend the Under Armour ColdGear leggings, which feature an ultra-soft brushed interior and welded seams to eliminate chafing.
Windproof clothing items are a must if you live in an area with frequent blustery conditions. Remember to always take windchill into account when deciding how to dress for a run.
Tips for Staying Motivated
Whether your upcoming Turkey Trot is your first 5K or your hundredth, you may find times when your motivation dwindles.
Invest in electronics. Stay on track by investing in a Fitbit Alta HR fitness tracker that allows you to monitor your stats as you progress through training and track your runs using GPS.
Prioritize training. Use a calendar or running planner to schedule and cross off completed runs. You'll feel accomplished each time you add a checkmark.
Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks while you train. A bit of distraction is helpful on days when you struggle to get out of bed and into your running shoes. Use a phone armband along with waterproof wireless earbuds and turn off your brain while you pound the pavement. Remember to keep the sound level low enough to hear your surroundings!
Reward yourself. While intrinsic motivation is incredibly powerful, it's still not always easy to hit the road or treadmill. If you consistently complete your training for a month, make a promise to yourself that you'll buy yourself something nice — like a foot spa, which is a pampering experience and recovery tool all-in-one.
Rest days are key. Your body needs time to recover, especially between hard workouts. During those rest periods, your muscles repair themselves and grow stronger. Skipping rest days can lead to overtraining or injury.
How does one recover after a tough run? Use a foam roller or massage stick for kneading out tight, tired muscles. Don a pair of compression socks if your calves are feeling particularly stiff post-workout to improve circulation and encourage speedy recovery times.
Don't forget to stretch! Incorporate a short stretching routine and commit to doing it after each run. Fuel your body with the right nutrients to keep your engine running day after day. A balanced meal post-run should consist of a healthy combination of fat, protein, and carbs. Stay hydrated throughout the day — whether you plan to run or not. Even if you're a slight bit dehydrated, you'll feel it during training.
Remember, these events are for fun and aren't always timed. Focus on having a good time with your family. Why not take advantage of the festive atmosphere and dress up in a turkey-themed costume or hat? If you prefer to exhibit your enthusiasm for the holiday in a more understated way, consider a pair of Thanksgiving-themed athletic socks.
Enjoy the moment and encourage your whole family to join. Even those who aren't interested in running can walk or spectate the event. Cross the finish line with a smile on your face — your Thanksgiving feast awaits on the other side.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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