The Buffalo Turkey Trot is the oldest consecutively run footrace, in North America! Take a minute to think about how amazing that is. One of the coldest cities in America managed to put on this competitive, chilly, and costume filled race for the last 122 years, and you get to participate in it! Thousands of runners line up at the starting line hoping to put their best foot forward for an awesome race. Whether this is your first Turkey Trot or you’re a seasoned veteran, follow these three tips to ensure you have a successful race.
This is my first tip because it is the most important. If you are not an avid runner, don’t expect to show up on Thanksgiving morning and pound out an 8k (five mile) race without issue. Lack of training could lead you to the trainer’s table and stuck with a bag of ice during your Thanksgiving dinner. On the other hand, overtraining could put you in the same place. The key is to find the right middle ground.
For novice runners, I suggest starting with a run/walk method for training. For example, run for two minutes and walk for one minute for a total of thirty minutes. Stick with thirty minutes for the first week and slowly start increasing the duration of the running segments and decreasing the walking segments until you’re running for twenty consecutive minutes. Slowly build your time up from there. For new runners, a ten minute/mile pace is average. If you plan on running the full race, that is roughly fifty minutes of running.
I also recommend running every other day. This three to four times a week pattern will give your muscles enough time to recover while being consistent enough to increase your fitness.
Strengthen, Stretch, Warm Up!
Supplement your running with strengthening, stretching, and a proper warm-up and cool down. While beginning a running routine may be hard on your lungs and cardiovascular system, it will also put your muscles to the test. In the weeks to come I will detail which strengthening exercises are best suited for runners, what muscles to stretch (and when), along with a quick and effective warm-up routine.
Fuel and Hydrate Accordingly
Supplying your body with the fuel it needs to be successful is crucial and often overlooked. Make sure to eat something within an hour of completing your training runs as well as the race. This will help your muscles restore the breakdown they went through while running and prepares you for the next run. Drink water throughout the day during your training to ensure that your body is getting the necessary hydration it needs. Lastly, race morning you will want to avoid foods high in fat or protein as they can sit in your stomach, leading to cramps or gastrointestinal distress. A full stomach is not what you will want once you begin racing down Delaware Ave.
Check out the video below for a more in depth explaination of these tips!