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Runners across the country, including those in the Midwest, are rejoicing this time of year — no more humidity and hot summer temps! Fall is the perfect time to run thanks to the comfortable weather, as well as changing leaves that offer beautiful foliage and lots of opportunities to run with others in 5Ks and other fun runs.
Whether you’re a half-marathon lover or someone who prefers to run just a few miles at a time, here are some great tips to keep in mind when running this fall:
- Adjust your stretching routine. Muscles tighten up more quickly in cooler temperatures, making injury more likely, so it’s important to warm up your muscles well before you head out. Try walking or jogging slowly for a bit after a few dynamic stretches. The more warmed up you feel, the more motivated you’ll be to get going.
- Run longer and faster. Your heart has to exert extra energy in hot weather to keep your body temperature cool, so take advantage of the energy your body is saving by running a bit longer or pushing your pace. Just don’t add too much too fast – try increasing your total weekly mileage by 10% and see how it goes.
- Enjoy the trails. If you have trails in your area, try them out and let the stunning sights help those miles fly by! If they’re dirt trails, it’s a great way to give your legs a break from pavement — and even if they’re not, it can be very therapeutic to be so close to nature.
- Don’t overdress. With the cooler but sometimes unpredictable temperatures, it can be tricky to get your dress right. A good rule of thumb is to dress for weather that’s about 10 degrees warmer than the actual temp — you may be cold starting out, but your body will warm up as you go. Also dress in layers so you can take one off if you need, wearing shirts made of wicking material so they dry quickly (think a light base layer under long sleeves or a jacket).
- Keep daylight savings in mind. Avoid the dark by getting your run in at the start of your day or right after work or school. If you do go in the dark, stay safe by wearing fluorescent and reflective clothing that keeps you visible whether or not lights are directed at you. It’s worth it to invest in the right gear, and remember to run opposite of traffic.
- Don’t forget to hydrate. You may not be battling the heat, but your body still needs to replenish the fluid it loses. Drink enough water both before and after you run so you can keep your body healthy for those longer runs (and in general).
- Sign up for a race. There are so many races that take place during the fall months! Signing up for a 5K, 10K, half marathon or other race is great motivation to run on a consistent basis. Plus it’s fun to enjoy the experience with other people doing the same.
So get out there and enjoy that beautiful weather! Remember these tips while also incorporating what really works for you.