If it feels like the Carolinas just finished the world’s longest summer (with the exception of that day we felt “fake Fall”), then you’re probably hopping up and down to get out the door and on the run in much cooler, crisper weather. Ahhhhh…. That feels great! Seriously, you can get in some serious training right now, while the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. Go for it!
“The weather is obviously crisp, and sunny mornings make the dark mornings a bit better,” says Lisa Landrum, head coach at Forward Motion XC and resident runner. She’s right. Just as the weather got cooler, mornings got darker — until Daylight Saving Time ended! Now your mornings are clear and cool, and a little lighter.
We thought of a few things you might want to drag out of the mental (and physical) closet to remind you why Fall, when it hits, feels like the Best Season Ever for running!
New layers! Fall is cool and crisp in the mornings, but warms up quickly as you do! If you’re like us, you’ll love switching into more snuggly gear. Or if you’re just tired of tanks. A long-sleeved, moisture-wicking base layer protects you from the sun and chill, and feels great with a vest or light jacket for getting out the door. If you still want to run before the sun comes up, make sure your Fall gear has a reflective element on every layer so you can still be seen as you remove them!
You can probably still get away with shorts for now, but start sizing up those leggings for when it gets a little cooler. And don’t forget your Feetures socks! You can choose from different styles with compression, moisture-wicking, and Merino-10 elements, to name a few. They’ll keep your feet warm, but not wet.
If your summer runs felt more like swims, Fall will give you a break so you can feel your honest sweat, and not the whole world clinging to your skin. All of that heat and humidity caused your body stress, and now you can give it a little break and run a little further, or feel more rested as you slip into your fall race schedule (like the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon!) Fall is the absolute BEST time to go for that PR!
You will still need to hydrate, but you probably won’t need to recover fluids as much now that the heat and humidity have died down. Wear your sunscreen and drink your fluids, but adjust accordingly if you’re not sweating it all out in the first 30 minutes.
We’ve all had our schedules jostled for the past year with work-from-home, and if we have kids, virtual learning at home. It’s hard to break away when there are so many variables in play! But this Fall especially, we’re seeing a return to some normalcy. Kids are in school, the office is on a schedule, and we are beginning to feel normal again. It finally feels like we can make appointments — even for ourselves. Schedule yourself some “me” time with that run at the best time of year for it.
And did we mention sleeping in? Now that it’s cooler, you don’t need to run in the dark to keep from overheating, unless you have a good reason to start that early. Extra sleep always does the body good!
Fall is like running in technicolor. Our leaves are brilliant, and people from all over the country come to view them in the NC mountains. Make sure you enjoy the scenery at this time of year. Change your route a little so you get a better view, or try some out-of-town trails or a different greenway if you have time. We even wrote some trail tips just for times like this! And don’t forget the joy of crunching leaves underfoot! Mmm… you can almost taste the roasted marshmallows from the fire pit.
The BEST Events!
You know it — everyone wants their race to be in Fall. After all, it’s the best season for running, right? It’s also a great chance to get the payoff from all that work you’ve done all summer when the weather was warm. So look up your favorite race calendar, and pick a distance! You’ll find everything from a Turkey Trot 5k to a Jingle Run half marathon. And of course, we’ll throw in a pitch for the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon! You can choose from the 5k, half-marathon, relay, rucking, or full marathon. Something for everyone!
And to make one more great bonus motivation point: Holiday eating is coming, too. Isn’t it great to know that one more scoop of stuffing, gravy, or pumpkin-spiced pie whatever will be worked off? If your goals aren’t exclusively measured in time and distance, good food is a great motivator. Cheers!