Autumn Running Tips and Advice
For many runners, autumn is the best season for hitting the pavement. The kaleidoscope of bright colors, crunching leaves under your running shoes, and the crisp air just call for a run. You may be thinking: um, yeah, but what about the grim weather? Getting motivated to go running or train when the days get colder and shorter can be daunting, so we’ve put some great tips together to help you along.
Read on for autumn running tips and advice such as
- safe running in the darker mornings/evenings
- ways to keep motivated when it’s wet, miserable, and cold outside
- clothing advice for autumn runs
We hope you enjoy our autumn running tips!
Let’s Start With Motivation
For me, registering for a race that takes place in mid-autumn is the best motivation, so why not try a spring or winter challenge? It doesn’t matter if it’s a full marathon or a 5k. Just plan your training and think of how hard it will be for you to come back in spring after three or four months spent on the couch drinking hot chocolate and completely ignoring your running. You don’t want your previous summer runs to seem useless and you definitely don’t want to start from scratch.
If you are still struggling with motivation, you could explore new roads, new trails, start running with a group, treat yourself to some new running shoes or buy new running apparel and accessories.
Explore Different Routes
Autumn is the perfect time to explore the trails and parks near you. The change of seasons brings new experiences, new smells and new views, whether you live in a built up urban area or the countryside. Autumn is the time when trees begin to change color, the leaves start to fall and that first heavy dew is felt early in the morning.
Pore over some maps and plan an adventure, in the form of a new weekend route!
Warm Up and Pace
It takes your body longer to warm up in cool weather, so add a few extra minutes to your usual warm-up routine. Start with walking and pick up the pace gradually to running. Focus on longer, calm runs rather than sprints. Do your stretching at home or in a warm place and change into dry clothes as soon as possible after your run.
Autumn running can provide some invigorating running experiences. Plus, just think about the confidence boost you will get from successfully completing a workout on a chilly morning.
Don’t forget to consume carbs before, during, and after workouts. When it’s cold, your muscles will try to offset lost body heat. Shivering – involuntary muscle contractions – increase heat production. So while your muscles will work to counteract the cold, your muscle glycogen stores will deplete faster.
Avoid a bonk or post-workout fatigue by consuming mainly carbs before, during, and after the run.
Layer up! Fall often brings varying changes in temperature. While you may go for a run in the cool, brisk morning, you may finish your workout in much milder and sunny weather. An early evening or a late afternoon run could bring high temperature drops as the sunset approaches.
Bringing or wearing multiple layers of running-specific clothing will ensure a comfortable run as temperatures change. It’s important to effectively layer up and stay warm and dry on your autumn runs.
The reason for this is that cold contracts and heat expands. When running in cold temperatures your blood circulation decreases and makes your tendons, joints and skin far less flexible and prone to (ugly) injuries. Wear functional and appropriate clothing and underclothing to stay warm. Tip: dig out a pair of gloves and a lightweight hat to help cope with chilly mornings.
Stay waterproof. Finish your autumn runs feeling dry and warm with a good waterproof jacket. Get a lightweight, breathable one and know that it’s best to spend more on materials like Gore-tex. Your really need to repel the water, otherwise your jacket will become saturated and start clinging to your skin (which will make you damp and cold).
Tip: Check last year’s autumn kit. Is it fit for purpose or does it need a refresh?
Safety: Make Yourself Visible
As the days become shorter, high visibility clothing is a must to stay safe. You have plenty of great options – from long sleeves and reflective bibs to fluorescent T-shirts. If you’re on a budget, buy some Velcro reflective strips or a LED armband and add to your clothing. All of these will help you see and be seen.
Autumn Running Tips
- Plan running routes in well-lit, populated areas (especially when doing your workouts after dark)
- Check out your route by car first if possible. If other runners are using the route then that’s a good sign.
- Join a running group or run with a friend for added motivation.
- Alter your training schedule to include more running at weekends and in daylight, when there are many people around and when it will not be such a drag to go out as in the dark, wet evenings.
- Wear bright clothing
- Avoid hooded tops, as they restrict your vision
- Keep a mobile phone with you
We know it’s not easy to do your workouts in the autumn months when it’s wet, dark, and cold outside. However, with some key essentials running can still be an enjoyable and beneficial pastime during the autumn season.
Autumn running events are just around the corner. What will you do?