The Turkey Burner: A Fun Thanksgiving-Themed Running Workout

Welcome to the latest edition of “Workout Wednesday’ when each week I share a new running or strength training for runners workout!

This week, in honor of the upcoming US Thanksgiving holiday, I am excited to share with you the Turkey Burner running interval workout!

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One of my least favorite parts of the holidays are those memes that pop up around Halloween and Thanksgiving that tell you how many burpees you need to do to burn off your holiday sins. Yuck.

Exercise because it makes your body feel good. Eat because you’re hungry and it tastes good. You don’t have to pay penance for your holiday indulgences with extreme exercise. Exercise is not punishment. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle most of the time, you’ll have plenty of room for indulgences and holiday celebrations. You don’t have to burn off your turkey and sides. Enjoy the turkey and all that goes with it, then exercise to feel good.

This is a fun holiday-themed running workout. Get it done on the treadmill, street, or track. Recruit some friends and family for holiday-themed fun! The great thing about this workout is it that the speeds are based on perceived effort, not pace so you can get a group together, and everyone can run at their own ability.

A pace that feels comfortable for you may be hard for your Uncle Joe. Your 18-year old track-star niece may blow you away on the road. If everyone runs by how they feel, no one will be left out of the fun. I urge you never to attempt to follow an arbitrary pace in workouts shared on the internet. A nine-minute mile can feel like a walk in the park for one runner and be an all-out sprint for another. Go at your own pace based on your individual perceived effort: Easy, Moderate, or Hard. I’ve included the talk test for each pace so you can figure out what speed is near-max, moderate and easy for you.

The turkey burner running workout. Save to your favorite Pinterest running board for later.

The turkey burner running workout. Save to your favorite Pinterest running board for later.

Red Turkey = Near Max Pace

You couldn’t go at this pace for much more than a minute. It’s working at a very hard effort.

The Talk Test:

You will struggle to talk at all at this pace, maybe you could get our a single word between breaths.

Orange Turkey = Moderate Pace

You are working harder than an easy pace, but not so hard that you couldn’t continue the pace for a mile or two.

The Talk Test:

You likely will have to take gasps of breath between sentences at this effort.

Yellow Turkey = Easy Pace

This is a slow and easy pace that you could carry on for a long time. It may be a walking pace for some.

The Talk Test:

You can easily carry on a conversation with your running partner at this pace, or sing the alphabet without taking gasps of air between words or sentences.



Run for three minutes at an easy pace


Run for 30 seconds at a moderate pace
Run for 90 seconds at an easy pace
Complete four times


Run for three minutes at an easy pace
Run for three minutes at a moderate pace
Run for two minutes at an easy pace
Run for two minutes at a moderate pace
Run one minute at an easy pace
Run one minute at near-max effort


Run or walk for two minutes (or for as long as it takes for your heart-rate to return to near-normal)

This can be a high-intensity workout, so please work at your own pace and listen to your body first and adjust times and effort as necessary. No one know your body like you do. Be sure to allow adequate rest after this workout to allow your body to recover.

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