How to Train for the Turkey Trot 5K

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This Thanksgiving, the Portage County Can Coalition will be hosting a 5K Turkey Trot to anyone and everyone who would like to walk, run, spring or skip for a great cause. If you have never ran or walked five kilometers, the Stevens Point Area Turkey Trot is a great place to start!

Professor Tom Wetter, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point professor and director of the Health and Human Performance Lab, shares tips and tricks he recommends when preparing to take part in a 5K, or a walk or run of any length.

Before doing any running, Wetter outlines three tips to help you prepare mentally:

1)     Identify your goal

2)     Create a plan

3)     Find a support network

Wetter said that it is important to “identify your goal and especially why that goal is important to you.” Once you set your goal, then the distance becomes something attainable— instead of just a thought in your head. It makes the event more personal and pushes you to take your training more seriously. Once you set that goal, it’s time to create a plan to move from goal to action.  Deciding when you are going to work out and how you will overcome situations such as cold weather or rain will help keep you motivated no matter what the circumstance. In addition, “Many people find that having a partner to train with is very useful for social support,” Wetter said.

Once you’re ready to begin training, keep these three tips in mind:

1)     Stay consistent with training

2)     Gradually increase your distance

3)     Take your time and enjoy the run

 With the right training, it is possible to run or walk a 5K by Thanksgiving. The first tip is staying consistent in your training; is important to keep your body in the habit of exercising and gaining endurance.  This way, your body will not be shocked when you exert more physical strength than normal. Over time, it is smart to gradually increase your distance or your speed towards your goal. Slow, steady improvements are the best way to ensure that you do not hurt yourself while training. Finally, remember to enjoy your exercise by bringing a friend along, listening to music or just enjoying nature. The Turkey Trot is not a timed run, so you don’t need to worry about setting a new record! By following these tips and tricks, you should be ready to tackle the Turkey Trot by Thanksgiving!

For a more detailed training plan, Wetter recommends using the Hal Higdon training plan, available online: http://www.halhigdon.com/training/50936/5K-Walk-Training-Program.