How to train for a Turkey Trot


Whether you want to walk, jog or run a Turkey Trot this year, it’s important to train, so you’re ready for the day of the 5K.

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Turkey Trot training

Get some fresh air and enjoy a fun, active outdoor activity with the whole family by signing up for a Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving. If training for a fun run sounds daunting, worry not. 

Running a 5K is a highly attainable goal — whether you regularly train for marathons or are happier marathoning Netflix series. Most events are also accommodating to those who prefer to walk the distance, and they usually offer kid-friendly events, so even the littlest ones in your gang can participate. 

Here are a few tips to help you train and make the most of your turkey-themed run, whether it’s a yearly tradition or your very first attempt. 

Preparing for Turkey Trot training

Choose a training plan to follow and jump right in. There are thousands of plans available online, but be sure to select a schedule that fits your current fitness level and lifestyle. Don’t jump into a weekly routine that includes six runs if you’re new to the sport. Start slow and never feel like you need to copy what someone else is doing. 

Stock your closet with a few running essentials. You don’t need much gear for running, but there are several key pieces of equipment you’ll want to invest in:

Running shoes

Buy a good-quality pair of running shoes that are appropriate for your foot type and gait. There are three main types of shoes: neutral, stability, and motion control. Check out your local running store to obtain a gait assessment and verify your shoe size. Shoes vary in terms of their cushioning levels as well. What works for one runner, however, may not work for another. The number one rule? Find a comfortable shoe that fits correctly. 

Brooks running shoes for Turkey Trot

  • If you’re a neutral runner: The Brooks Ghost 12 is a well-cushioned trainer ideal for beginner to intermediate runners.
  • If you’re a pronator and need stability: The Asics GT-2000 6 is a lightweight stability shoe with a responsive midsole. 

  • For those who require extra support: Consider the New Balance 1540v2, which delivers superior levels of motion control along with a comfortably cushioned midsole layer. 


Hidden Comfort No Show Running Socks

These prevent blisters and keep your feet warm. Balega’s popular Hidden Comfort No Show Running Socks are cushioned yet lightweight and available in a variety of fun colors. Slip your feet into a pair of thorlos Max Cushioning Running Socks if you prefer a highly padded experience. 

Solid layers

base layer

Weather is typically chilly in the late fall, so stay warm with technical clothing items that wick sweat and help keep you comfortable even in rainy weather. A water-resistant shell, like the Adidas Own The Run Jacket, is useful for wet conditions. Layering allows you to peel off clothing should you overheat. Your base layer (the one closest to your skin) wicks away sweat so you’re not left soaking wet after a hard effort. 

Accessories for cold weather running


Columbia Morning Light III Omni

A running vest, like the Columbia Morning Light III Omni, is ideal for those who create a lot of body heat and prefer to keep their arms exposed to cool air. 


TrailHeads Running Gloves

A pair of touchscreen-friendly TrailHeads Running Gloves to keep your fingers protected from chill. Opt for mitts if you have circulation issues or plan to run in extreme weather conditions.


SLS3 Beanie

A warm hat, like the SLS3 Beanie, protects your ears and keeps hair out of your face. Opt for a model with a ponytail hole if you have lots of hair and prefer keeping it tied back while running. 


Under Armour ColdGear leggings

Comfortable tights with fleece lining are perfect for chilly fall mornings. We recommend the Under Armour ColdGear leggings, which feature an ultra-soft brushed interior and welded seams to eliminate chafing. 


Windproof clothing items

Windproof clothing items are a must if you live in an area with frequent blustery conditions. Remember to always take windchill into account when deciding how to dress for a run. 

Tips for staying motivated 

Whether your upcoming Turkey Trot is your first 5K or your hundredth, you may find times when your motivation dwindles. 

Invest in electronics

Fitbit Alta HR fitness tracker

Stay on track by investing in a Fitbit Alta HR fitness tracker that allows you to monitor your stats as you progress through training and track your runs using GPS.

Prioritize training

running planner

Use a calendar or running planner to schedule and cross off completed runs. You’ll feel accomplished each time you add a checkmark. 

Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks while you train

waterproof wireless earbuds

A bit of distraction is helpful on days when you struggle to get out of bed and into your running shoes. Use a phone armband along with waterproof wireless earbuds and turn off your brain while you pound the pavement. Remember to keep the sound level low enough to hear your surroundings! 

Reward yourself

foot spa

While intrinsic motivation is incredibly powerful, it’s still not always easy to hit the road or treadmill. If you consistently complete your training for a month, make a promise to yourself that you’ll buy yourself something nice — like a foot spa, which is a pampering experience and recovery tool all-in-one. 

The importance of recovery 

Rest days are key

Your body needs time to recover, especially between hard workouts. During those rest periods, your muscles repair themselves and grow stronger. Skipping rest days can lead to overtraining or injury. 

How does one recover after a tough run?

massage stick

Use a foam roller or massage stick for kneading out tight, tired muscles. Don a pair of compression socks if your calves are feeling particularly stiff post-workout to improve circulation and encourage speedy recovery times. 

Don’t forget to stretch!


Incorporate a short stretching routine and commit to doing it after each run. Fuel your body with the right nutrients to keep your engine running day after day. A balanced meal post-run should consist of a healthy combination of fat, protein, and carbs. Stay hydrated throughout the day — whether you plan to run or not. Even if you’re a slight bit dehydrated, you’ll feel it during training. 

Event day

turkey-themed costume

Remember, these events are for fun and aren’t always timed. Focus on having a good time with your family. Why not take advantage of the festive atmosphere and dress up in a turkey-themed costume or hat? If you prefer to exhibit your enthusiasm for the holiday in a more understated way, consider a pair of Thanksgiving-themed athletic socks.

Enjoy the moment and encourage your whole family to join. Even those who aren’t interested in running can walk or spectate the event. Cross the finish line with a smile on your face — your Thanksgiving feast awaits on the other side.


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Steph Coelho writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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