I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking forward to the fall season for quite some time. There's something about how the air gets cooler and crisper, the leaves turn, and favorite comfort foods arrive, that's just pleasant.
As an endurance runner, I have more reason than most to welcome the changing of the seasons. Fall is a great time for runners—there are plenty of autumnal marathons to look forward to!
How about you? Maybe you're not a big runner. It's something you've been considering, but you didn't want to start in the heat of the summer. Now that fall is nearly here, you find that most marathons are too close or too far off to consider short of running at Christmas.
Fall, however, isn't an awkward time to start running. In fact, it might be a great time for first-time runners to fall in love with endurance running.
5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Endurance Running in the Fall
1) The Temperature
It's obvious: runners love fall because it just feels better. Coming off of summer when the heat can be suffocating, it can be a breath of fresh air (literally) to have cooler weather. Be aware: just because it's not as hot doesn't mean you don't still need to mind your hydration needs. That said, cooler temperatures do make it easier to get out and run.
For new runners, it's one less barrier to running and one less excuse you can make to not run.
2) Fall Flavors
Earlier I mentioned how the flavors of fall are one of my favorite things about the season. Believe it or not, it ties into running! When we think about fueling up for a run and post-run recovery, nutrition matters. At times, our meals can get bland. We can fall into a rut and our palate begs for something new.
Fall brings flavors of pumpkin and apple, cinnamon and nutmeg, squash and oatmeal. We can start indulging in hearty soups and stews and fuel up on tasty seasonal vegetables.
3) Fun Runs!
Even if you feel like you've missed the boat on some of the "big" runs of the Fall, it doesn't mean you can't join some of the more casual "fun runs" of the season. I'm talking costumed Halloween runs, Turkey Trots, and other holiday-themed races. You can save your serious races for the Spring—stay loose in the Fall and let yourself have some fun. When you're just starting out, it's an especially good way to ease into endurance racing.
4) A Change of Scenery
Fall is the best time to change up your route. One of the great joys of running outdoors is the fresh air and scenery, and there's nothing quite like the beauty of autumn. Why not try to see places and sights that you're not used to?
Not all that far away from Memphis is the Natchez Trace Parkway, which spans from Nashville, Tennessee all the way to Natchez, Mississippi. This historic parkway is a popular destination for runners and cyclists, partially for its length and relative seclusion (it's only a two-lane road), but its status as a scenic trail means you're guaranteed natural views of fall colors.
Now's the time to explore scenic paths in your area! Branch out and discover some natural wonders.
5) New Gear
Lastly, a new season is a chance to update your gear. Time to dress for cool weather, trade worn out shoes for new kicks, and feel great about yourself. Let a new running wardrobe be a motivating factor for you. After all, who doesn't like the feeling of new workout clothes?
While autumn might be an ideal time to start running, I do have to present a warning: don't rely on it. Just as in life, we can't rely on ideal circumstances to carry us through. Endurance running demands discipline and commitment. If I just ran when I felt like it or when the weather was perfect, I doubt I'd be running all that often.
We have to shake the notion of waiting around for the perfect timing. Instead, we should appreciate when conditions are good and jump in anyway—we can't reap the rewards of our hard work if we never start to begin with.