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For DC area folks looking for a speedy race, check out this annual Thanksgiving Day Race, currently in its 16th year. (Photo credit Turkey Trot for Hunger)

Thanksgiving Day races worth waking up early

When you think Thanksgiving, you probably think elastic pants, stuffing yourself with stuffing and taste testing all the desserts, inevitably followed by a food coma. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday! As great as that might sound, there’s a way to make it even better--throwing in some fitness first! Don’t laugh at the suggestion, many DC area folks opt to start their Thanksgiving with a good sweat before getting ready to chow down.

There are a bunch of local Thanksgiving races, one likely near you, making an easy choice to sign up. Don’t believe us? Here are a few reasons to consider starting your Thanksgiving day with a run:

  • Get your Steps In Before Your Meal: By waking up early for a Turkey day race, you’ll easily hit your 10,000 steps (and maybe more). Skip your morning run and there’s a good chance you’ll be on the couch watching football or taking minimal steps in the kitchen. Wake up early and eliminate the possibility of other things popping up that keep you from getting in some good movement for the day.
  • Take Advantage of an Extended Calorie Burn: Thanks to EPOC (or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), if you workout hard in the morning, your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate even hours after the workout is over. Bring on that second piece of pie!
  • Combat Stress: Holidays are stressful, especially if you have a house full of family to entertain. Get some me time by joining a morning race. Take the time to clear your head and focus on yourself, even if it is only for an hour out of your day.
  • Another Way to Give Thanks: Whatever fitness level you’re at, complete a race and be thankful for what your body can do. Also, these races all have a charity component and offer a good way to give back as you start your day.

Now that we’ve convinced you to run, here are local races to check out:

Bethesda Turkey Chase--Chevy Chase YMCA: This Maryland race has distances for a variety of levels, including a 10k, a 2-miler, a 1k challenge and a 50 meter trot for kids under 8. This year marks the 35th annual running of the Turkey Chase charity run, supporting the Rotary Foundation Rotary and YMCA.

Turkey Trot for Hunger: For DC area folks looking for a speedy race, check out this annual Thanksgiving Day Race, currently in its 16th year. There are two options for the 5k race: timed for the competitive folks and untimed for the more leisurely crew, both traveling along a flat course. Proceeds from the race will benefit thousands of homeless adults and families, providing food, clothing and health care.

Alexandria Turkey Trot: Join the 42nd annual Alexandria Turkey Trot and try to beat the two course records set just last year (23:09 and 26:51). This 5-miler race kicks off at 9 a.m. and will be sure to get your heart pumping as you race this flat and fast course. Give back by bringing two nonperishable food items on race day to support ALIVE!, a nonprofit organization serving Alexandria’s community in need.

More Thanksgiving Day Race Options:

Too busy on Thanksgiving? Here's a pre-holiday option on November 18th, MCM’s Turkey Trot: Join the 10k traveling along the fall foliage lined roadways of Marine Corps Base Quantico. Spend some time at the finish festival at the petting zoo and see if you won a prize like a frozen turkey or a pumpkin pie. If you’re leaving your holiday prep to the last minute, run this race fast and get your Thanksgiving day key ingredients taken care of!