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Fall colors down a dirt road in the Cub River Area. Original public domain image from Flickr

Running Into Fall

As the calendar turns over and the temperature begins to cool, runners start to notice a change.  No more dealing with scorching temperatures, sweltering humidity and the blazing sun.  Many runners love running in the fall, feeling this to be the ideal time of year.  Indeed, many big races are purposely held in the fall for ideal temperatures and weather conditions. However, there are still some precautions to consider with our daily runs as we move into the Fall season.

First, one has to consider dressing properly for the cooler temperatures.  A crisp 45 degree morning in early October after training in the heat all summer is going to feel a lot colder than a 45 degree morning in March after enduring the cold of winter. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if it were about 10 degrees warmer than the temperature outside to prepare for how warm you’ll get as you start to run. If the temperature is above 50, you’re still probably fine in shorts and a t-shirt.  Once the temperature drops into the 40s, you may want to consider a long sleeve moisture wicking shirt and possibly tights or running pants. You may want to throw on light gloves and a hat as well.  Once the temperature dips into the 30s, you’ll want to opt for a hat, gloves and a second layer, even if it’s just a moisture wicking running t-shirt on top of the long sleeve.  It probably wouldn’t hurt to have some rain repellent gear as well, getting soaked in a cold rain can make a run very miserable.

It is equally important to consider when running in the Fall is the daylight or lack of the same. With the amount of sunlight becoming slightly shorter each day, chances are, whether you’re a morning runner or you wait until post-work, your runs will continually get darker. Runners need to make sure to wear brighter colored  and reflective clothing to be more visible to cars. Running in well lit places or using a headlamp when you know it will be dark can add an additional element of safety. When daylight saving’s time ends the first week of November, it will bring back some daylight in the mornings, but it will be much worse for the afternoon and evening runners.

Although Fall is the most beautiful time of year to be in the woods, be careful trail running.  Fallen leaves can cover up rocks and roots that could potentially cause an injury. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid running in areas where people may be hunting. If you are in such places,  always wear bright colors, especially blaze orange, so you are seen.  On the “bright” side, you won’t have to deal with nearly as many bugs that you would in the summer.

 After all of your hard summer months of training, hopefully you have a great Fall season of running and racing.  Don’t forget to take in the beautiful scenery along the way, and don’t forget to stop in at Appalachian Running Company for your fall running apparel and footwear needs!

About the author: A.J. is the Store Manager at AppRunCo – Altoona. He lives in Altoona and has been a competitive runner for over 20 years.