Fall, it’s my favourite time of the year. Although it’s technically still summer, you can feel autumn in the air. The days are cooler, the leaves are starting to change colour, and there’s that crispness in the air that makes you want to be outside all the time. This is the time of year when I’m on the trails enjoying what I love most, running.
My husband, Art, has recently started running with me even though he’s not a big fan of it, he enjoys being on the trails, enjoying the serenity, and being outdoors in nature. Our runs together are about spending time together in the outdoors, but even more so, he gets a taste of what I have enjoyed for over 35 years, running on the trails. There’s nothing else like it for me. It’s one of the few things where I feel I’m totally in my element.
Transitioning from running in the spring and summer to the fall is not very different but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Do you need different runners for trails and the road?
Transitioning from roads to trails, most people will use the same shoes. It’s when the trails become more technical (rooty, rocky, steep, water) that it’s time to get a pair of shoes that will protect your feet on more rugged terrain.
What clothing to wear in the fall?
As the temperatures get cooler, layering is the key to staying dry and warm. Early morning runs can be brisk so make sure you have an additional layer you can peel off once the temperatures starts to rise. Staying dry is the key, so your first layer should be able to whisk away moisture, so investing in a synthetic fabric will ensure that you stay dry.
Temperatures can still be quite warm in the fall depending on where you live. Having an additional layer like a long-sleeve shirt or light jacket should be worn and can be easily taken off and stored with you or you can tie it around your waist. Ensure that this layer is lightweight so you don’t have to carry additional weight with you.
With the days getting shorter, it’s important to keep your safety as the primary goal. Regardless if you are running at sunrise or sunset, wear reflective gear so that drivers on the road can see you. Better yet, run on the sidewalk if at all possible.
Watch your step.
Running in the fall especially on the trails can be beautiful with the leaves falling from the trees. However, you need to watch out for what’s underneath these leaves such as exposed roots, rocks, and uneven terrain. Also be careful with the wet leaves on the ground as they can become quite slippery.
How to care for your runners when they get wet and muddy.
If you’re an avid trail runner and enjoy more technical trails, then there’s a good chance they will get wet and muddy. I wear orthotics so as soon as I return from a run and my shoes get wet, I remove the orthotics or you can remove the insoles, and I stuff some newspaper inside the shoes. This helps wick away some of the moisture and are usually dry the next day.
If they are covered in mud, I simply scrape off the mud from the soles, and hose down the shoes and set them aside in a dry spot.
No matter what time of the year you are running, you still need to be hydrated. The heat or humidity of the summer may not be present in the fall, but you still need to be hydrated before, during, and after a run.
Try a race
If there is ever a time to try racing, fall is the time to try it. The trail doesn’t have to be long or highly technical but exploring new trails and experiencing new territory can boost your mood. Take a friend along and experience trail racing together for the first time. You never know, you might get hooked on trail running.
Coming off of a 3-month injury and training for only a few weeks, I decided to sign up for my first trail race. Even though I like to go out and race, I’m still not in tip top shape like I was in the spring. It will take time to develop my strength again and build up some muscle mass. I decided to try a 14km trail run and even though I won’t be at my fitness peak for this race, I plan on having a great time on a technical trail out in nature. It’s not about how far or how fast you go, it’s all about getting started again.
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