The telltale signs are here. Leaves are starting to glow brilliant orange and red colors, mornings are a little crisper and evening arrives earlier each passing day. Whether adjusting to the new season means savoring everything pumpkin spice or getting ready for a fall/winter race, here are some tips to make your autumn runs happier.
If summer vacation schedules left you running alone in the early mornings or evenings, now is the time to buddy up. With dawn arriving later each day, you may not have any option but to run in the dark. Whether you’re male or female, it’s better to have a running buddy in case something happens than to be alone on a pitch-black street or trail in need.
Shine a Light
Even if you have cat-like vision, other people may not be able to see you. I almost ran smack into another runner who was on the trail without any lighting, only to pick her up when she came into my field of light. Wear a headlamp, bring along knuckle lights or carry my favorite, the Nathan handheld torch. It features a light in front, a red LED light in the back and an alarm you can sound if you need help.
Check the Weather
Dark doesn’t necessarily equate to cold. Do a weather app check before heading out the door to make sure you’re dressed appropriately. When the temps hover around 50, I’ll layer up with a long-sleeve top. Below that and I’ll switch from shorts to capris. I wait until the high 30s to low 40s to add a cap. Otherwise, I have a tendency to overheat.
Don’t Forget Sunscreen
You’re run may start in the dark, but if you’re marathon training, chances are you’re going to finish up in bright daylight. It may feel silly, but don a visor or hat right from the start to protect your face when the sun does come up and apply sunscreen even if the sun is taking the day off. Remember that skin is still exposed to dangerous UV rays, even when clouds are out during the day.
Run Against Traffic
If you’re going to run on the road, run against traffic so you can see what is coming and traffic can see you. Remember that the sun is lower in the sky this time of year and can be temporarily blinding for both a runner and a driver. Note: I follow this rule year-round. I always want to see what’s coming at me.
Stretching when it’s cold outside can lead to injury. Switch to repetitive moves like grapevines, skipping, knee raises and hip openers to get the blood flowing and save static stretching for when you’ve completed your workout.
The calendar may say fall, but here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the mercury is still pumping out summer-like temps during the day. If you live in a cooler climate and have a favorite running tip, please feel free to share in the comments below.
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