Posted on Nov 27

8 Things Runners Are Thankful For on Thanksgiving

By: Collin Gately for New Balance

8 Things Runners Are Thankful For on Thanksgiving

The days are shorter and a chill hangs over much of the country, but the year is winding down and the holiday season is upon us. Here are eight things runners are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Familiar Trails. Heading home for Thanksgiving is a time to head down memory lane, literally. Lacing up and running on some old and time worn courses can be a bonus when traveling back home for the holidays. Can you beat your high school time for two laps around the block? How much longer does it take you to conquer that 5K course? Was it 1 mile or 1.5 miles from the mailbox to your friend's house and back? Challenge yourself to see if you can hit some of your old times on familiar paths, or find new ones and build on those routes.

New Trails. Not making it home this year? Going to the in-laws? Maybe friend of a friend's Thanksgiving dinner? New locations mean new routes, roads, and paths to explore. Check a local map or running software to plan out a new route, or ask a local runner for some suggestions around the neighborhood. You'll have new scenery to look at, new challenges to meet and best of all, a new PR in the books no matter what.

Cold Weather and Shorter Days. In many parts of the world, winter means cold temperatures and shorter days. Now, those aren't two things that you might immediately think of as things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. But, here us out: In the spring and summer, runners and walkers are out in force taking advantage of the long days and warm weather. Come winter, it's a different story. Thanksgiving running – and winter running in general – is for the truly dedicated runner. No more avoiding large groups on small paths, or being chased down by packs unleashed pets, or a crowded sidewalk at 9:30 at night. So go off and enjoy your uninterrupted runs at your own pace at your own time. But, remember to always stay safe when running at night and may we suggest bundling up in the cold.

Leftovers. And More Leftovers. Need we say more? Runners can get hungry. Really hungry. Thanksgiving means leftover turkey, leftover sweet potatoes, and breads of all kinds that you can fuel your workouts with for days to come.

Fewer Emails. More Miles. Hopefully, you are getting some time on Thanksgiving to unwind and unplug with friends and loved ones. More people eating turkey, and less people in the office, means fewer e-mails in your inbox. That spells fewer reasons to avoid your run and fewer distractions while on the road. That means you can finally grab an uninterrupted long run or tempo workout without worrying about that meeting invitation that might have slipped into your a cell phone spam folder. These days are far and few between, so enjoy them while they last.

Turkey Trots. For thousands of runners across the country, turkey day is race day. Check your newspaper or local running stores (they often advertise local races) to see what your area has to offer in terms to Thanksgiving races. They are usually a festive atmosphere, are a great way to kick off your winter training plan, and burn off a little of that gravy all at the same time.

Giving Thanks and Giving Back. As runners we strive to be a giving, caring community. For every great achievement and PR we've had along the way, there has been someone in the community there to lend a helping hand when things got tough. That's why it is important to remember those among us who are less fortunate – particularly during the holidays. Check with local sources about charity events happening in the area that you can get your running group to join. Donating to a food kitchen, helping serving meals to the those in need, or donating to a clothing and toy drive can do world of good to help people who need a hand around the holidays.

23 Days. That is the number of days until the Winter Solstice, when the days finally start to get longer. That means that each day after Thanksgiving is a little brighter and a little longer, meaning more precious daylight and warmth to get in those runs. For the next 23 days, though, remember to stay safe when running at night and consider decking out in some bold nighttime running gear like the High Visibility Beacon Jacket.

Warrior PF-Flyers Dunham Cobb Hill Brine Aravon