Post Turkey Trot 2008. Photo by: Diana Gramenos
If you haven't participated before, this should be the year you commit to running in the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.
There are many reasons to run from creating memories with your family and friends to boosting your metabolism before that huge Thanksgiving dinner, but no matter why you decide to do it, the best part of taking part in the 10K Turkey Trot is the great feeling you have when crossing the finish line. It might be runner's high or maybe it's a sense of camaraderie running alongside so many others but in the hours following the race you'll feel like a million bucks.
Well, it goes without saying that you'll feel like a million if your body was up for the task. Jumping into a 10k race without training might leave you feeling sore. So, with just over a month before the big day, now is the time to start training.
Training for a 10K doesn't have to be hard-core but if you're aren't accustomed to cardio activity then checking with your doctor to make sure your body is up for the challenge should be your first order of business. Also, if you're a smoker, now is a good time to think about putting a hold on the bad habit, at least until after the race. If you're not ready to nix it completely make goals of cutting down while training for the Turkey Trot is a good start.
Once the above is taken care of you're ready to start training for the Turkey Trot. First, assess you're current level of aerobic health. How far or how long can you run for currently? It's important to assess your current capabilities in order to set up training parameters that will best help you achieve your goals. The assessment can be done by running on a treadmill, outdoor track or on the street. Wherever you decide to run the most important thing is to be able to calculate your distance. During the first assessment time isn't important unless you know you can run between five and ten miles without additional training. After running jot down the date, the distance you ran, the time if you kept it and any notes you would like to take on how you are feeling physically.
A 10K is approximately 6.2 miles.
Training works best when designed around specific needs and levels of physical fitness. Although these classifications are vague for the purposes of this blog we'll divide fitness levels into three different groups.
Group A: Beginners — If you workout less than one day a week, have a mostly sedentary lifestyle or are unable to run more than a mile during the pre-training assessment.
Group B: Intermediate — If you work out a couple times a week, if your job requires you to move around a lot or use muscular strength and if you were able to run one in a half to four miles during the assessment.
Group C: Advanced — If you work out three or more times a week and/ or were able to run five or more miles during the assessment.
Group A: Your workout schedule will vary slightly based on how you're feeling after your assessment. The most important thing at this point is to get your body use to the idea of aerobic activity. For the first week we'll be taking it a little slow, because of the slow pace only one day is being allocated for rest. You can mix the order to your liking but try to include all of the following:
Day 1: Walk one to three miles at a swift pace.
Day 2: Run 1/4 a mile as fast as you can. Keep time. Walk 1/2 mile directly afterward.
Day 3: Walk one to three miles at a swift pace.
Day 4: Run 1 /2 a mile at as slow of a pace as you need to to complete. Walk 1/2 mile directly afterward.
Day 5: Walk one to three miles at a swift pace. Perform squats to help improve leg muscle. Click here for instructions on how to perform a squat.
Day 6: Run one mile as slow as needed to complete. Walk 1/2 mile directly afterward.
Note: If the above seems too difficult cutting it down slightly is okay, but it is important to keep attempting to increase your aerobic capacity. If the above is too easy, scroll down to Group B or add distance to the above.
Group B: Your goals are most likely centered on being able to increase you endurance to complete the six miles and to do so in a timely manner. The following should be included in your first week of training. On days of rest it is important to take a walk if possible to keep your muscles from tightening up. The two rest days are best when split up.
Day 1: Squats. Run two miles. Walk one mile as swiftly as possible.
Day 2: Run one mile as fast as possible. Keep time. Walk two miles.
Day 3: Squats. Run three miles. Walk to cool down.
Day 4: Alternative cardio activity (Dancing, elliptical, etc.). Keep heart rate elevated for 30 to 40 minutes.
Day 5: Run one and a half miles in 15 minutes (or less). Experts say a healthy woman can run 10-minute miles and that is the goal here. If you go over, it's okay but try to stay under 18 minutes if possible. In time, you will be able to complete the mile and a half in 15 minutes.
Follow at your discretion, but try to implement the following into your normal workout routine.
Day 1: Run five miles.
Day 2: Run one mile as fast as you can. Keep time.
Day 3: Work on leg and back musculature.
Day 4: Run five miles.
Day 5: Run one mile as fast as you can. Keep time. Try to beat your original time by at least one second.
Week two workout routines will be posted shortly. Please email with any questions, comments or concerns. In addition to writing these generic blogs on training for the Turkey Trot, I am interested in getting a group together for weekly running sessions leading up to the Turkey Trot. If anyone is interested in participating in the group run or starting their own group email for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org