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Turkey Trots and Jingle Jogs; keep those holiday pounds at bay!

Holiday running
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One way to keep those extra holiday pounds at bay is to set a goal to run a holiday road race, such as a 5K or 10K. I've got a great guide to many of Atlanta's hottest holiday races and easy training tips to help you ease your way through any one of them.

Whether you're a beginner to running or want to increase your distance or just run faster, these races will challenge you and keep you moving through the holiday season and help you reach your holiday goals.

Thanksgiving Day:

* ATC Atlanta Half Marathon & Thanksgiving 5K, Atlanta, web site.
* Turkey Day 5K & Mile & Tot Trot, McDonough, 8:00 a.m.; 404-694-1939.
* MDJ Gobble Jog 10K/5K/1K/Tot Trot, Marietta, 8:00 a.m.; 678-218-4521 or web site.

Saturday, November 26:

Zooma Women's Half Marathon & 5K, Braselton (Chateau Elan),http://zoomarun.com/

Saturday, December 3:

* 2011 Jingle Bell Run/Walk, Stone Mountain, 10:00 a.m.; 678-237-4448 or web site.
* Faith Cline Elf Trot 5K, Kennesaw, 4:30 p.m.; 770-429-9733.
* The Arthrities Foundation Jingle Bell Run 5K, Stone Mountain, 9:00 a.m.; 678-237-4458.
* 15th Annual Jingle Bell Trail 5K/1Mi Race and Fun Run, Peachtree City, 9:00 a.m.; 770-631-3250 or web site.

Sunday, December 4:

* Season's Greetings Half Marathon & 5K, Stone Mountain, 7:30 a.m.; 770-576-0928 or web site.

Saturday, December 10:

* Jingle Jog 5K / Jr / Elf Run, Atlanta, 8:00 a.m.; 770-888-9481 or web site.
* Reindeer Rally 5K & 10 Mile Bike Ride, Ellijay, 6:00 p.m.; 706-273-0265.
* Sleighbells on the Square 5K/1K/Tot Trot, Marietta, 8:30 a.m.; 678-795-0115.

Saturday, December 17:

* Christmas 5K in Virginia Highland, 9:00 a.m.; http://www.rungeorgia.com/vahichristmas.html

* Peachtree Corner Christmas 5K & 10K, Atlanta, 8:00 a.m; http://www.georgiacup.com/run

Training Tips:

- Always back off any exercise or program when your feel any risk of injury or health.

- You'll gain the benefits of running by sticking to a long-term program.

- Never radically increase the amount of exercise, gradually get to your goal.

- Join a running group if you need guidance or motivation!

- Have fun and you'll stay with the program.

- Hydration is key, drink plenty of water before, after and during your training.

- If you're new to running, start slow with your runs so you'll stay strong until the end.

- It's recommended to cross train every other day with low-impact activities such as water aerobics, ski machines or biking.

Even with the best of plans laid out, there are going to be things that come up and try to stop your training. Don't let a bout of bad weather, a partner dropping out or an injury prevent you from moving forward. Keep your goal in mind and go for it!

To find a more complete list of races this holiday season, check out www.rungeorgia.com.

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