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Train Now for Your Turkey Trot

Updated on October 15, 2009


Train Now for Your Turkey Trot


Turkey Trot, you say?  No it’s not a revitalized new dance craze on “Dancing with the Stars”.  It is a traditional cross-country style running race held in many communities across the United States.  The race is usually held on Thanksgiving Day.  The winner receives a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving dinner as part of their overall prize.  You have approximately six weeks to get ready.


Most races cover a distance from one mile (kids) to six miles (experienced runners).  The distance of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) is the most popular distance for the Turkey Trot.  Here is a five-week schedule to get you ready for your first Turkey Trot.


First the Basics

  • Make sure your doctor has cleared you as to your physical fitness to undertake any sporting activities.
  • Always stretch before and after you run.  This helps release the lactic acid that may build up in your muscles from strenuous physical activity.
  • For our purposes the running week begins each Monday.


Week One

On a daily basis, run / jog two miles to get used to running a longer distance.  Alternate your run between roads on one day and a park / trail on the following day.


Week Two

Increase your running distance to three miles. Again, alternate days between road running and park (grass) / trail runs.  Try to pick up the pace (tempo) of your runs.


Week Three

This is where we make our training interesting.  The previous two weeks we have laid down a nice running base.  Now we add a little pumpkin spice to our workouts.

  • MONDAY:   4-mile road run.
  • TUESDAY:  In a park or forest preserve scope out a nice loop and warm up one mile.  Run for 20 minutes on your loop deploying a fartlek run.  Fartlek is a Swedish term for “speed-play”.  Pick a nice point in your loop that you will speed up your run.  This could be between two trees as much of a distance as 200 yards.  Follow your 20-minute run with a nice easy one-mile cool down.
  • WEDNESDAY:  4-mile road run.
  • THURSDAY:  4 mile run in a park or on a trail.
  • FRIDAY:  1 mile warm up.  25 minute Fartlek. 1 mile cool down.
  • SATURDAY:  Nice easy 4 mile run.
  • SUNDAY:  Solid long slow distance of approximately 6 miles.


Week Four

  • MONDAY:  4-mile road run.
  • TUESDAY:  Fartlek in the Park 30 minutes. 1 mile warm up before workout and 1 mile cool down after.
  • WEDNESDAY:  4-mile up-tempo road run.
  • THURSDAY:  4 mile Park / Trail run.
  • FRIDAY:  Fartlek in the Park 30 minutes. Don’t forget warm-up and cool down.
  • SATURDAY:  Nice, easy relaxing 4 mile run.
  • SUNDAY:  Long slow distance of 6 miles.


Week Five

  • MONDAY:  4-mile up-tempo road run.
  • TUESDAY:  Fartlek in the Park for 35 minutes.  Warm-up and cool down.
  • WEDNESDAY:  4-mile road run.
  • THURSDAY:  4 mile park / trail run.
  • FRIDAY:  Fartlek in the Park for 30 minutes. Please warm-up and cool down.
  • SATURDAY:  Easy 4 mile road run.
  • SUNDAY:  Long slow distance of 6 miles.


Week Six—Thanksgiving Week

  • MONDAY:  Up-Tempo 4-mile road run.
  • TUESDAY:  Easy 4 mile park / trail run.
  • WEDNESDAY:  Nice 2 mile run on a track.  Sprint 4 X 100 yards.  1 mile cool down.
  • THURSDAY:  Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.  Good Luck.  Run Well. Do your best!!!


This Turkey Trot training schedule can help you prepare for your race.  Use as a guideline.  It can also assist you in building a base (provided you continue to run through the winter season) for the many road races that are run every weekend during the spring and summer months.


Best of luck to you!! Peace, Love and Run for Fun!!!

Enjoy your Running Surroundings


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