Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day Running Challenge

thanksgiving to new year's running challenge

Are you ready to run every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s?

I know, I know, it sounds crazy to think about maintaining a running streak for 40 days, especially the 40 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

But you only have to run a minimum of one mile each day!

Still sound crazy?

I felt the same way a few years ago. When a friend first mentioned a Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day running challenge to me, I thought, “No way, this is the busiest, most stressful time of year – why would I ever want to attempt a running streak?” Although I typically run five to six times a week, during the hectic month of December, that’s usually whittled down to more like one or two weekly runs. But the more I thought about the challenge, I said to myself, “Yes, this IS a crazy time of year – exactly the reason why I need to do this!”

I started my first Thanksgiving to New Year’s challenge not knowing if I’d be able to keep the streak going. Surely I’d get caught up in all the craziness of the holidays and be too busy, stressed, or unmotivated to run.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

The challenge helped me re-prioritize things and forced me to make time to run. I planned when I would run each day and somehow I managed to fit it in. I took it one day at a time and found myself looking forward more and more to some “me time” in the midst of all the chaos. It was a gift to myself throughout the season. Running in the cold of December felt invigorating. I even did a few treadmill runs. And I didn’t hate them!

And guess what? I felt a whole lot healthier, less stressed and, in general, much happier, than I had felt during previous holiday seasons. The best part was that when the new year rolled around, I already had a nice training base and well-established winter running habit in place, so it wasn’t a struggle to start up a new routine in the new year. And I had maintained my pre-Thanksgiving weight, rather than gaining the customary three, um, maybe five, holiday pounds.

How to Do the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day Running Challenge

It’s simple. Just run a minimum of one mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s it.

Use this handy, printable Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day Running Challenge tracking sheet to mark your progress as you go along. It even includes a quote or encouraging note for each day.

You can also track your progress on a websites or apps like Daily Mile, Strava, or RunKeeper. I would definitely recommend tracking it in some way, since it keeps you more accountable and will help you stay motivated.

FAQs about the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day Running Challenge

How much do I have to run?

You have to run at least one mile every day. But you may be surprised that on most days, you end up doing more than that.

But isn’t running every single day bad for you? Don’t I need rest days?

Running hard and long every single day is definitely not recommended. You could get injured and you’ll most likely get burned-out. But you only need to run one mile every day to keep this streak alive, and that mile can be as slow and easy as you want.

Do races count?

Absolutely! And highly encouraged!  Doing a turkey trot or a jingle bell race is a fun way to get in your 1+ mile. Check out for holiday races near you. (And don’t forget your turkey trot running apparel or Santa run accessories!)

Can I run on the treadmill?

Yes, you can do every run on the treadmill if you want!  But, to prevent boredom, you may want to mix things up and do some runs on the roads or trails, too.

Does run/walking count?

Yes, of course run/walking counts!  ‘Nuf said.

What if I miss a day?

Keep going! It’ll still be quite an accomplishment to say you ran 39 (or 38, or 37) of 40 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s!

Also see:

How to Keep Running During the Holidays

Running Gift Guide


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