9 Reasons to Love Fall Running

Now the weather has cooled, here are 9 great ways to make the most out of Autumn running

Autumn is the season where the weather is crisp, we have pumpkin everything (especially in our house), and our running seems effortless. Here are 9 reasons why you should love running in the fall!

9 reasons to love running in the fall
9 reasons to love running in the fall

Weather

Can we say no more super early runs to avoid the summer heat?! Heck yes. We can sleep in until a reasonable hour and not feel we are going to melt into the pavement. Hallelujah!


Big Races

Big city races are on TV (NYC, Chicago) and can provide you with some motivation to get you out the door for some miles. And if you’re in one of those races, you’ll be able to tell your friends to look out for you. Lastly, by telling people about your race, you’ll have an extrinsic motivation to keep up with your training.

9 reasons to love running in the fall
9 reasons to love running in the fall

Trails

I love me some running trails, but we have to be careful now that leaves are falling. I’ve seen some pretty gnarly falls because the leaves are hiding uprooted branches or trees. I’m definitely not saying to avoid trails, I’m saying back off the pace and don’t be afraid to jog through some sections that are more intricate.


Physiological Benefits

Yes, running in cooler weather is easier than running in hot, humid weather. According to an article in OutsideOnline.com, “training in the heat can increase an athlete’s blood plasma volume (which leads to better cardiovascular fitness), reduce overall core temperature, reduce blood lactate, increase skeletal muscle force, and, counterintuitively, make a person train better in cold temperatures.” All this to say that summer running makes us stronger, fitter runners and we reap those benefits once the weather breaks.

9 reasons to love running in the fall
9 reasons to love running in the fall

Clothes

Colder weather usually means more clothes. Yes, that’s definitely true, but you don’t want to be overheating. It’s easy to think it’s chilly out, when in fact it’s just that we haven’t totally adjusted to the drop in temps. Personally, I overpack, so I bring more clothes than I need for a run. I do a short warm-up jog and then drop clothes off before I head out for my real run. This allows me to warm up while still getting warm, then after my activation drills, I strip down to what I’d actually like to run in.


Sun Setting Earlier

Oh no! It’s barely 6:30 pm and we have to get the lights on. The earlier sunsets are no fun for runners who have to run before or after work. Get your vitamin D in while the sun is up. It’ll offset you feeling low and out of energy when it’s getting dark earlier. If you do end up running in the dark, be sure to wear the bright colored clothes – including whites that have reflective pieces on them. I would also suggest NOT wearing headphones. It’s hard enough to see cars when it’s dark out, but not being able to hear them as well as a double no-no.

9 reasons to love running in the fall
9 reasons to love running in the fall

Daylight Savings Time

With the shift in the clocks, we’ll be doing our morning runs in the dark. Be prepared by:

  • Planning your route (don’t always run the same route in a pattern, ie: every Monday I run “x loop”) and telling someone where you’re going.
  • Having your running clothes out.
  • Recruit a friend to hold you accountable.

“The Extras”

We don’t have to worry about melting on our runs anymore, so it’s totally cool that we spend an extra 10-20 minutes doing “the extras” that will make us become better runners. What are the extras? I’m glad you asked:

  • Foam rolling
  • Mobility work (on those tight hips)
  • Strength training
  • Rehab (on some of those achy muscles or joints)
  • Preventative/Maintenance work (work on weak areas to make them stronger before they become issues)
  • General stretching routine
9 reasons to love running in the fall
9 reasons to love running in the fall

Summer Miles Paying Off

All of those summer miles are now going to pay off. Each of those days that ended with “how the heck am I going to run 26.2 miles are now being answered. The cooler weather helps a lot, but so does not feeling like death on every run because of the baking sun on our shoulders. Running paces that used to feel suicidal, now feel like a jog. You’re welcome summer miles!


Recap

So many great reasons to enjoy running in the autumn. From better running weather to extra motivation (watching fast runners is totally inspiring!) to watching the leaves turn orange and red. The fall is the perfect time of year to kick up your running routine to another level!


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Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

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6 thoughts on “9 Reasons to Love Fall Running

  1. Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year for many of these reasons. I just feel better in the fall.

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  2. I am definitely a fan of fall running! It’s always such a nice change to run in cooler weather after the heat of the summer. I don’t love the dark, but I’ve gotten used to it.

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  3. I love love love fall running! All of my clients were grumbling yesterday because it was chilly out but I was in all my glory! Bring on fall!!!

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  4. Oh my, I know. My middle school runners were frozen yesterday! I hope they have hats and gloves for today’s meet!!!

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  5. Not a huge fan of waking up when it’s still cold and dark out (oops to sleeping in this morning), but yes, I too love the fall for running.

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  6. So do I. I’m such a fan of pumpkin flavored teas and adult beverages 🙂

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