Fall Running (Because every season is running season)

Leaves starting to turn in your corner of the world?  Whenever the seasons change, it’s important to think about what it means for you as a runner.  Even subtle shifts in temperature and terrain can have a big effect on your workout.  Here are five Fall tips for making the transition as the weather starts to cool.

  1. Warm up (and then some).  Cooler weather means your body won’t be as quick to get warmed up and ready for action.  The goal of your five-minute warm-up walk should be to begin breathing more heavily and to start sweating a bit.  If you need to pick up your walking pace or even jog a bit before the workout starts, do what you’ve gotta do.  A proper warm-up is crucial to avoid injury and perform at your best.
  2. Expand your horizons.  Fall is a gorgeous time of year.  But if you stick to a route that leaves you running up and down city or neighborhood streets, you might be soaking in all of the dreary grey skies and none of the beautiful fall foliage.  Take this as a rewarding opportunity for a change of venue and see if you can find some nice wooded paths or outdoor trails to mix up your routine.
  3. Watch your step.  Even if you’re sticking with running on pavement, be mindful that falling leaves can make for dangerous footing.  Wet leaves can be slick and crunchy ground cover can conceal sticks, cracks, and potholes that would be tough to miss when the ground is clear.  And if your expanded Fall horizons take you off of paved paths, make sure you are taking things slow and being deliberate with your steps.  One rolled ankle is all it takes to really put a damper on your training.
  4. Don’t dry out.  Just because the sun isn’t beating down on you during the day doesn’t mean you don’t need to hydrate.  Cooler, drier air can actually rob your body of more moisture than a good summer sweat; and what’s worse is that without a damp shirt or sweaty brow, you might not even notice until you’re already dehydrated.  Sidenote: if you’re prone to chaffing, this time of year can be uncomfortable.  If you need to pick up some sports lubricant or break out the band-aids, now might be the time.
  5. Check the weather.  In some places, this is an unpredictable time of year for weather.  Check the 24-hour forecast to see if unexpected showers, flurries, or wind are going to sneak up on you during your run.  When in doubt, dress in layers.

How about you?  Any tips for running as the air gets chilly?  And if you live someplace that’s a sunny paradise this time of year, feel free to take a moment to rub it in.

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