Turkey Trot or Turkey Leg?

Thanksgiving, the most popular day out of the year to… run?

That’s right folks, you read that correctly – Thanksgiving is the most popular day of the year to run because of a common race creatively called “The Turkey Trot”.

The yearly road race dates back to 1896 when a group of individuals at a local YMCA in Buffalo, New York ran eight miles to the finish line on Thanksgiving Day.1 The race, now held at numerous facilities across the United States on the infamous Thursday, has occurred every year since its inaugural run 126 years ago, thus, marking it the longest-held race (in terms of years) in North America.1

However, the trot isn’t only about burning calories so that you can enjoy more mashed potatoes and gravy later in the day guilt-free, it has also come to encompass the true meaning of Thanksgiving – to give thanks and give back. Runs across the country will often hold a race to raise money for a variety of charities from a local to a national level to promote the giving spirit.

So, in the spirit of giving… here are some tips I can give you for a successful trot:

  • Make sure to warm up! Get started with some basic mobility exercises like bodyweight squats, butt kicks, high knees, lunges, and a light walk/jog to start raising your heart rate and prepare for your race.
  • Run/Jog/Walk at a comfortable, yet challenging pace. The turkey will still be cooking while you are racing, you have time!
  • Include a cool down – the turkey should be close to being done cooking at this point, but still needs some time to rest before carving. Walk, drink some water, and stretch your hamstrings, calves, hips, and quadriceps to fill that gap of time.
  • Lastly, replenish your energy reserves. A healthy meal of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats should do the trick! Foods we recommend, but are not limited to, include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, corn, and dinner rolls.
    • If energy reserves remain low following a healthy meal – napping, spending quality time with family and friends and/or watching football are sure to help!

Below are six exercises to help make your trot successful!

All exercises should be performed without pain and in a slow and controlled manner to warm up and cool down your muscles. If any of the exercises, or running, causes any pain, our awesome team of physical therapists at Apex are here to help so you can run your next trot pain-free!

Whether your family is running miles around town or racing to the kitchen to get the all-coveted turkey leg this Thanksgiving, Thursday is sure to be filled with family, friends, good food and traditions!


Air Squats: 2 sets, 10 reps

Air Squats

Lunges: 2 sets, 10 reps each leg


RDLs: 2 sets, 10 reps    


Cool Down

Hamstring Stretch: hold 20-30 seconds. Perform 2 times each leg

Hamstring Stretch

Calf Stretch: hold 20-30 seconds. Perform 2 times each leg

Calf Stretch

Quadriceps Stretch: hold 20-30s. Perform 2 times each leg

Quadriceps Stretch

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