Runners need to carbo-load anyway right?

Bring on the mash potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and stuffing . . .

If there is one thing runners talk about almost as much as a running, it’s  FOOD! What to eat, when, and how much.  Mix that with the one holiday of the year that involves copious amounts of carbs, starches, sweets, and you may as well sign up for a marathon, or two. There’s a two ways to plan your meal day approach:

  1. Running to eat = pre meal turkey trot (usually a 5k). We’re all for it! Have fun!
  2. Eat to run = being mindful that what you put in your body is going to either help your running or hinder running the same or next day (psssst… do this one!) (Did the first? Eeeek: Marathon training plans go on sale Friday)

Here’s how to dish up a healthier thanksgiving meal once you’ve run- to-eat and so that you can eat-to-run:

  • Have a substantial breakfast and lunch so you’re not starving by dinner – there are three meals in a day, if you’re going to eat things on the not-so- healthier side, just do it one meal of the day

  • Water – drink it through the day and if alcoholic beverages are part of your meal, moderation and water never hurts

  • Turkey over ham, white over dark meat – it’s a leaner meat and protein is great for your muscle recovery

  • Everything in moderation – a small serving of your holiday favorites allows you to enjoy without depriving yourself

  • If you’re in charge of the cooking have some fresh veggie dishes. Things like cauliflower, green beans, squash, and beats are all festive and great alternatives

  • Not cooking? Offer to bring a healthier option dish

  • Enjoy the foods that are not available all the time (stuffing over Hawaiian roll), we don’t blame you for not turning down sweet aunt Betty’s pecan pie

  • Here’s an idea of what a healthy(ier) plate looks like:

  • image2* image: American Association of Diabetes Educators

Truth be told, running to negate calories after a marathon sized meal, is not really fun, nor that effective, but knowing what we are eating ahead of time, may make it a bit easier to prevent thanksgiving meal messing with your running. Like any meal, if food is fuel, you make look at your grade of gasoline a little differently while enjoying a nice holiday meal.


Here’s what you’ll have to do to burn off some of that  thanksgiving dinner:

  • An hour or running: burns about 460 Kcals or 1 piece of Aunty Betty’s Pecan Pie

  • Your 45 minute spin class: about 500 Kcals and your mash potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy

  • Football game with the family: 300 Kcals torched if you’re wide receiver or the running back

  • Walk around the neighborhood: sayonara stuffing

  • Marathon (aka 26.2 miles): negates your 2000kcals plus what you need for the day  …..speaking of that

Having a running goal has kept many gals who run going and on track during holiday months, Pick a winter or early spring race, and while the holidays roll in, you can build your base, not your waist.  You can start the Gals Who Run 5 week programs anytime, because while black Friday shopping may burn 67 calories in 30 minutes, a mile in your running shoes burns about a 100 and not a hole in your pocket. Already have your eye on the half or full marathon? Awesome. We take fueling for runs so seriously we dedicated a whole section of the Gals Guide to Running training guide to it. Here’s a peak of the information from basics to complex:



Happy turkey trotting, from our home to yours,



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