Fall running brings me so much joy – it provides the most perfect running conditions. Cooler temperatures, beautiful scenery laden with falling golden leaves. A time to relax after battling high humidity, soaring temperatures and a busy summer, fall gives us a moment to breathe, relax and feel a sense of relief; a new season is finally here and it’s a runners dream.
For months now, you’ve battled the heat, what to wear and keep your body hydrated. Soon you will battle the plummeting temperatures, wind, rain, dark nights and even snow. You’ll be needing to learn how to keep yourself safe and all about layering. But right now, the fall season is the least resistant. We still have light nights and the temperatures are perfect, so what can we do to make the most of this fall season, and benefit our running even more?
After the intro I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear, fall is the most popular time of year for races and running events, especially the longer distances. The cooling temperatures make half-marathons to ultra distances more manageable and would be a perfect option to schedule your first one (or two or three).
The temperature change is a perfect opportunity to alter your workouts (because it becomes easier for our bodies to work out and maintain a regular pace). So, from intensifying your intervals – adding another to the set, or decreasing the rest period to build up the mileage on your longer stints. Have a play with your training plans, you’ll be sure to surprise yourself with the results.
You could take this season to land some PB’s. Training in a hotter climate (as you have been all summer) increases your red blood cell count and the amount of oxygen in your blood. It is a biological response to help your body cope with the demands of a hot climate and high work rate. (The same goes for altitude training the pro’s will do, before heading to a cooler country for the race). Your body now finds it much easier to work at a very intense level so reap those summer benefits, and get the timing for your personal bests – not to forget, ladies you can synchronise with your cycle for a hormonal boost AND a seasonal boost for your PB.
No doubt you’ve had a busy summer. There are holidays, kids off school, balancing childcare and work, with maintaining races and runs scheduled whenever you can slot them on. It’s been hectic (especially if the weather has been nice) so now is the time to take that breath and relax. Yeah, you probably have a race scheduled in, but all our hard work until now will pay off don’t worry. (It’s said it takes 3 weeks before there is a decline in aerobic fitness levels). So if you need to recover, rest and recharge -then take the time to do so. If you want to take time to fall back in love with running – go ahead! Now is a perfect time.
Okay, I can’t be the only one who thinks this… but the seasonal goods out there just level up to around the fall. From Halloween doughnuts to hot chocolates or warm cider, and there is nothing which can beat following a run with a seasonal latte or a tea, and refuel with a cinnamon something. Cyclists do it, why can’t runners?
Okay so you might not want to run around like a pumpkin as your training, but the fall is packed with holiday season fun themed events. What about pumpkin runs? Or run-cider-run events? There’s plenty to choose from. Some even offer a prize for the best costume so get amongst the festive fun and have a fall-ball!
The temperature change is a perfect opportunity to bring your furry four-legged friends along with you on a run. Canicross is a worldwide event and growing in popularity as we speak, so why not give it a try? It could also be the time to build their fitness, so when it comes to winter, running alongside your dog can provide more safety when the nights draw in.
There’s no doubt that the weather will fluctuate within the fall, so why not do the same with your running? If you see there’s a hot day ahead, perhaps consider an active recovery day, and schedule the intervals on a cooler day. If it drops too low, consider using the gym and get some strength training or cross-training incorporated instead. Check the weather and ‘Go with the wind’ as it were.
Did I mention how scenic the world gets in the fall? It’s my favourite time of the year and a time that I barely get away from the trails. There is a mix of vibrant greens, mustard yellows, reds and browns that are so aesthetically pleasing as you run through a forest, further you step away from the concrete jungle. The smell of nature is so soothing, grounding and not one to be missed. Even if you’re an avid road runner, just head there for an active recovery stroll, just get yourself amongst nature this fall. You might even find new routes to explore!
So we change the way we train in the fall, take time to recover, on the other hand, we could ramp it up? Have fun or find the fun again, if you’ve had a difficult summer. Well, now is the perfect time to review the year and make a few changes.
One is hydration – although you still need it, you feel less thirsty on a run – so through fall, we could try different hydration techniques. Maybe you’re heading towards a camel pack and want to try one out? or use the technique of leaving bottles in specific spots around your route? (To replicate a hydration station – should you choose not to carry water for your races).
Are you a fan of running in the fall? Or do you prefer a snow laden route? Let me know your favourite time of year to lace up and hit the road (or trails!)