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Get Ready for Fall Running with these 6 Tips

By Kara Deschenes on 09/14/2015 | Featured Columns & Series

As sweltering summer temps melt into fall’s perfect beauty, there’s no better time to take your run outdoors. Consider using these six tips to get the most out of your experience.

Go longer and faster

As the weather starts to cool runners may notice distances and effort feel a little easier compared to hot summer months. This is because running in steamy conditions causes your heart to work harder in order to keep your core temperature at bay. Since the outside temp is lower you won’t heat up as quickly, saving your heart from exerting extra energy to keep you cool. Take advantage of the bonus by extending your run to a longer distance or amping up your speed. Just make sure to increase mileage safely by only adding 10% to your total miles per week.

Hit the trails

Rich colors decorate Mother Nature during the fall, making trails every runner’s playground. Take your run off-road and feast your eyes on the gorgeous sights. You’ll be so enthralled with the beauty that the miles will tick away before you even know it!

Plan for daylight savings

With summer fading into fall, so do the long days of sunshine. Make sure to plan accordingly by either squeezing in a run before the day gets going or prioritizing it after work/school. If you have to head out after dark, don’t forget to wear reflective clothing and bring a safety light.

Protect your skin

It’s easy to equate a sweaty run with the scorching sun, but even chilly temps expose runners to the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t be fooled by the cooler air by slathering on sunscreen before trekking out the door. Make sure to use a lotion that screens out sneaky UVA and UVB rays for the best protection!

Layer up

A good rule of thumb is to plan your running attire to be a comfortable 10 degrees warmer than the current outside temp. While you may be chilly at the start, once your heart rate beats faster, your body temperature will also rise. The trick is to run in layers that can easily be taken off, if needed. Try a light base-layer (think short-sleeve made from wicking material) and then add a long sleeve or light jacket. Once you warm up, tie the extra apparel around your waist for easy transportation.

Hydrate right

Along the same thinking as sunscreen, cooler temps tend to be deceptive when considering hydration needs. Even with more comfortable conditions, it’s important to drink enough fluids before, during and after a run. Even though you might not be sweating as much as you did during the summer, you still need to replenish your body’s lost fluid. Monitor the color of your urine to determine if you’re drinking enough. Aim for a lemonade-like color and adjust your drinking accordingly.

With the Girls on the Run season kicking off full steam ahead, you’ll want to make sure you’re run-ready for the fall. Use these easy tips and take advantage of perfect run conditions!

Kara Deschenes


Kara Deschenes is a former collegiate tennis player turned runner, with a passion for inspiring people to be active. As a health and fitness writer and editor, her work has been published by Women's Running magazine, IRONMAN, and Active.com. When she's not playing on a trail you'll find her soaking in lake life with her puppies. Follow Kara's latest healthy adventure @KaraDeschenes.

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