Out There: Turkey Trots, the Perfect Family Distraction

Susan Lacke offers some tips for "runners" who sign up for a Turkey Trot at the last minute.

Susan Lacke offers some tips for “runners” who sign up for a Turkey Trot at the last minute.

Thanksgiving is the best. Obviously, gluttony factors greatly into this greatness, but that isn’t the only thing. Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family—more importantly, it’s a time for alcohol with friends and family. How else are we supposed to tolerate each other for a four-day weekend?

When alcohol comes into play, people start to get a little braggy. “It can’t be that hard!” my kinfolks drunkenly claim about my running and triathlon racing. “I bet I could do one tomorrow!”

Luckily, Thanksgiving weekend provides ample opportunity for such a wager. As the biggest running holiday of the year, races are everywhere on Thanksgiving morning. You can’t throw a Jell-O mold without hitting a Turkey Trot. Every year, the order of events is the same. If you’re coming to my house this year, be thankful for what to expect:

Succumb To Peer Pressure

A Turkey Trot tomorrow, you say? How hard could it be? After all, you once ran a six-minute mile in high school.

Drink A Beer To Toast Your New Athletic Endeavor

Heck, drink four! Instagram a picture of your empties: #carboloading.

Set A Reasonable Goal

Remind your family of your six-minute mile in high school. Based on that, you expect to finish your 5K in 18 minutes. Say 19, just in case it takes you a while to get into “the zone.”

RELATED: The Runner’s Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Don Your Stretchy Pants On Race Morning

They’re not just for dinner anymore.

Do A Quad Stretch As Your Warm-Up

It’s cool. You see it on the cover of running magazines all the time.

Be Confident

It can compensate for any lack of training. That invincible feeling you have in the first 100 meters? Go with that.

Close Gaps

You will not be passed by a 12-year-old. Do you hear me? You will not.

Check In

Between gasps, ask a fellow runner how far you’ve run. Keep a straight face when she tells you there’s still two and a half miles to go.

Save Face

Slow down to point dramatically at your timepiece—”Can you believe this?!?”—until you catch your breath. Or “tie your shoe.” Or “stretch” a “cramping muscle.” Ignore the 12-year-old laughing at you as she blazes by.


Never slow down at an aid station. Between heaving breaths, gulp down two cups of Gatorade, and throw a third over your head like a champ. A sticky, lime-scented champ.

RELATED: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Turkey Trots

Stay Strong

Resist the urge to die, duck out to the car and/or murder the person who suckered you into racing. Didn’t she know you were under the influence when you agreed to this?

Hang On To Delusions Of Grandeur

You will totally run the third mile in six minutes. Totally. The “second wind” is real, and it is coming.

Sprint Like Hell

OK, so you walked the third mile. But when you see the finish line, you better haul it. Make sure to gloat when you pass people in the finishing chute. Perhaps perform a crotch-chop for emphasis of your bad-ass-ery.


Running burns, like, a thousand calories a minute. You pretty much have free license to eat anything you want, up to and including an entire pie. In fact, for the next six weeks, you should remind people between bites of Christmas cookies: “I just ran a race. Yup, gotta fuel my raging metabolism.”

Buy New Stretchy Pants.

Your old ones don’t fit anymore, and you need a new pair for your next race anyway. It’s your New Year’s Resolution. You’re totally going to run six-minute miles at that half marathon.


About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she is a featured contributor to Triathlete and Women’s Running magazines. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with four animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, a pinscher and a freakishly tall triathlete named Neil. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke