Outside of New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving has to be one of the most popular road race dates in North America. It seems you can’t go more than three towns without finding at least a 5k event to help you burn off some of the holiday calories. Many of these events also accept donations of canned goods to support local food pantries — you should definitely check that out.
As you prepare for the week however, you have this pesky training plan with set goals and targets…and someone slapped a holiday in the middle of the week built around eating. And so your friends got together and thought a race would be a good idea as well. In an effort to make sure you don’t ruin the whole holiday experience with your Type A approach to fitness, here are some tips on how to make sure the race can work in your favor.
#1 – Replace Your Weekly Intervals with the Race
If you are in a pretty well-laid out training plan then you might not have the flexibility to simply add a race. One easy way to do it is to replace any mid-week intervals with the event itself. This will encourage you to run harder, but it will also ensure that you don’t cross the starting line with your legs full of lactic acid.
#2 – Rest Early, Run Strong
Regardless of the race distace, I suggest you take the day before off…or at the very least, make it a lighter day. One of the main reasons to run on Thanksgiving is to offset the food you’ll be taking in; but you also want to run well. Give yourself a short, 24-hour taper to make sure that you’ll be ready to give it your best effort. Besides, if you rest the day before you won’t be as tired after the race. This way you can get back into your regular training program for the remainder of the week.
#3 – Have Fun…it’s a Holiday Run
Go out there and rip it up for sure, but don’t be that stressed out guy who’s leaving home three hours before the race to recon the course and get in a 45 minute warm up with high kicks. You know, the guy outside the high school auditorium complaining that all he gets for this race is a turkey t-shirt. It’s a holiday. There’s a lot more going on today in the world outside of YOU doing a race. Enjoy it. Run hard, but be thankful.
#4 – Travel Smart
For many of us, Thanksgiving involves hitting the road. Whether you are in the car or the air, the one thing we all have in common with travel is STRESS. Stress around traffic, delays, the unforseen, deadlines, etc. Stress that leads us to eat poorly, not hydrate and miss critical sleep. The kind of stress that has us finally reaching home after a long weekend only to find out on Monday morning that we are sick. Yeah, we don’t want that. Try to plan ahead to arrive early, with plenty of good food and fluids. If you are the preventative type, consider packing some of those traveling vitamin potions so you fight off the bad stuff.
Good luck with your running!
If you have the time, please post a picture or a story to our Facebook page…we’d love to hear about it! Whatever you do, don’t be a Turkey!