Fall is here. I can feel the crispness in the mornings, and the days are getting shorter. I love this time of year. Even though every year I mourn the end of Summer, Fall has so many great qualities. For instance, Autumn is one of the best seasons for the runner. The air is cool, and the days are usually not the biting cold that hits around November.
We are lucky here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t have to deal with sub-zero temperatures in the late fall and winter. With the exception of the increasing nighttimehours, we are blessed with the ability to run outside all year long.
With the shift from Summer to Fall happening all around us, there are a few things we should keep in mind to make that transition comfortable, and our runs effective.
- Don’t Skip Your Warm-Up– our muscles need a little extra love in the cooler weather. Do those legs a solid and walk a little further than you do in the Summer to get them ready for the upcoming miles.
- Cooler Weather– means you can run longer without the oppressiveness of the scorching sun. Embrace the crisp air and start training for a half or full marathon, or just get out of the house for an hour or two and spend it taking in the autumnal beauty.
- Be Prepared– layer on cooler days, or wear a vest to keep yourself cool after you warm up. Personally, I love Under Armour’s long sleeved shirts. They wrap perfectly around my waist if I get too warm. Layering is key.
- Darkness– my least favorite part of Fall is the shortening days. I live in an area with bears and cougars, so I don’t run in the dark unless I have a group of other runners with me. If you have a safe place to run in the dark, make sure you wear flashers (or light-up vest) and reflective clothing. Never, ever assume that people will be able to see you.
- Take in the Scenery– along with the cooler temperatures, my favorite thing about running in Fall is the scenery. You can’t beat the colors that happen in our area during the Fall. Open up those eyes and take in the beauty around you. Be careful of the leaves on the ground though, they can be slick.
- Keep Your Shoes Dry– the rain is comingand with it the wet shoes. Make sure you dry your shoes properly before you wear them again. What ismore uncomfortable than running in cold and damp shoes? Blisters and a cold, anyone? I usually have two pairs of shoes on rotation at any given time. I usually let my wet shoes air dry and wear the alternate pair until my favorites are dry. If they get soaked, I’ve been known to remove the insoles and put the shoes on our boot dryer. I’ve heard you can also push newspaper into the inside of the shoe to dry them, but I have not tried this method. Whatever method you use DO NOT put them in the dryer – that is the perfect way to ruin your expensive kicks.
- You Still Need Sunscreen– you can still get a sunburn on overcast chilly days, so continue to protect your face with sunscreen.
- Moisturize– with the cooler air comes dry skin. Add some extra moisturizer to your face before and after runs to reduce the effects of chapped skin.
- Hit the Trails– use the driving rain as an excuse to explore the woods or trails instead of an excuse to not run. Running in an area that is heavily wooded means less rain on your headand more training for you. While you are on the trail, you will be sure to get an eyeful of the Autumn colors.
So get out there and enjoy yourselves. I hope everyone is as excited for Fall running as I am, and I hope these tips help.