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Fleet Feet Sports owner gives last-minute Turkey Trot tips

Ellen Brenner and her husband, David “Boots” Boutillier, won’t run the YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning because their race management company, YellowJacket Racing, runs the Turkey Trot in suburban Rochester. But the couple, who bought Fleet Feet Sports in Buffalo last November, will have plenty of skin in the local 8K race, including some of their staffers and those the Buffalo store has trained for the run.

Expect to see more across Western New York, however, from the couple who also operate two Rochester-area Fleet Feet stores and aim to plant a growing footprint in running races across the region – during all times of the year. Along with organizing upstate triathlons, marathons, half-marathons and 5Ks, “we even do snowshoe races and 10 to 12 trail races a year,” Brenner said. “We have one that’s a little over a full marathon – that’s called Sehgahunda down in Letchworth State Park – all the way down to our snow races which sometimes are just 2 miles, but it can be the longest 2 miles of your life because it’s in about 2 feet of snow.”

The couple will launch a Winter Warrior fitness series early next month (get details at Meanwhile, Brenner offered some tips for Buffalo Turkey Trotters.

Q. How far should people try to run this weekend?

A regular runner who goes longer distances can certainly go out and do their 10-miler or 13-miler. For a newer runner, they may want to do a little bit less than the distance for the event. If you’re brand, brand new, gauge how you feel. It’s common for people to want to run the distance before a race but if you’re truly new and maybe you just started three weeks ago, you want to be careful.

Q. What should runners do a day or two before the race and on race day to do their best and prevent against injury?

Try to get good sleep. Try not to eat anything that’s not within your normal diet. Try to get enough fluid – and I mean water. It might also be good to go to a yoga class. Do 20 minutes of good, good stretching the day before. The morning of the event, nutritionwise be cautious of what you’re eating. Put a little something in your body. Definitely have water in your body. Possibly do a short warm-up, but outside of that, keep it simple and low-key the morning of.

Q. What should folks eat the day before and morning of the trot?

I can tell them what not to eat: anything that’s too heavy and too fatty. I’m also a big fan of waking up the morning of any race and drinking a full pint glass of water to flush the system out.

Q. What should trotters eat and drink for Thanksgiving dinner?

Everything on the table. It’s Thanksgiving Day. Have at it.

– Scott Scanlon