Turkey Trots have become a popular way for family and friends to get together and participate in a healthy activity before one of the more caloric holidays on the calendar. These events usually raise money for worthy causes during a time noted for giving and being thankful for the things we have. You have no doubt seen these events advertised or have friends that make it part of their yearly rituals. Maybe you were even thinking about getting involved yourself. What better way to burn some calories before you sit down and enjoy all that food! Before you sign up for that race though, make sure you are ready to participate with these helpful hints.
Know your limitations: Most Turkey Trots are 5Ks which is 3.1 miles, though some may be longer so know what you are signing up for and choose a distance that you think you can handle. If you don’t have time to train but want to participate, find a race that has a walking portion and save the 5K for next year when you are ready.
Train/Prepare: If you have decided that you want to run, there are some ways to get yourself ready physically. There are apps available for your phone that will plot out a training program to get you running 5K distances starting from a relatively sedentary lifestyle. This is an excellent idea if you haven’t run the mile since high school! By starting training early and utilizing steady progression, you limit the risk of joint injury. Also, find a friend to run with you. These events are meant to be social so having a friend come along will keep it fun and make you more accountable. As with any program, it is a good idea to have your physician clear you for participation in a running program.
Think about clothing: You definitely need a good pair of running shoes but you also need to be prepared for the weather. It could be mild or it could be wet and freezing. Make sure you dress in layers so that you can add and subtract clothing as your body temperature rises during the race and drops after you finish.
Warm up and stretch before and after the race: Make sure to get that blood pumping about 15-20 minutes before the race by walking or light jogging and then participate in some dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are active movements that stretch the muscles to their full range of motion such as hip circles, high knees or squats. You can look up a program specific for 5K runners or check with your physical therapist for ideas.
Have FUN!!! Remember why you are doing it and enjoy the company and the atmosphere. Good luck and happy running!
These PT Pro Tips are brought to you by our Racine Therapist, Ryan Schaul MPT, CIMT, CIDN.
Outside of work, Ryan enjoys hiking, travel, and SCUBA diving. Ryan is a certified PADI Divemaster and enjoys helping teach others to dive.