Posted by: Joe English | November 25, 2010

Training — Running off Thanksgiving Dinner?

running-advice-bugA number of people have told me that of their grand plans for Thanksgiving today: eat as much as they want and then run it off tomorrow. There are two potential problems with this strategy that I’d like to think about today.

First, trying to burn off all those calories may be more than one can reasonably expect to run. Looking at various studies and estimates, the typical Thanksgiving Dinner could contain from 2,500 to 4,500 calories. Those numbers are totally dependent on the amount that you eat and the recipes used to cook the dinner. But Thanksgiving does tend to be one day when the margarine gets replaced with real butter and the skim milk is set aside for the cream. I think it would be hard to imagine taking down 4,500 calories in one sitting, but let’s just say that we are prone to indulging on America’s great day of eating.

We burn on average 115 calories per mile when running. This number could be slightly higher or lower depending on how fast you run and how much you weigh, but let’s use 115 calories per mile as an average. With that in mind it would take just over 21 miles to burn off the low-end 2,500 calorie number and more than 39 miles to burn off 4,500 calories. Ultra-marathon anyone?

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