Fall is a popular time to start running, and for good reason. The temperature is more comfortable for running, the air feels crisp and invigorating and the fall colours make for some beautiful scenery while you’re out. If you’re lacing up your sneakers for the first time this season, keep these tips in mind to help you stick with it and make the most out of every run.
Wear the right clothes
The fall can be a tricky time to figure out what to wear, since the temperature and conditions can fluctuate significantly from day to day, or even hour to hour. When choosing what to wear, there are a couple of simple rules to follow:
- Whatever the temperature is, add 10 degrees to that number, and dress for that adjusted temperature. This is because your body heats up when you run, so what might feel comfortable at first can quickly become far too hot. So if the temperature says 15C, dress for 25C.
- Layer up. This way, if you get out there and realize you’ve got too much clothing on, you can remove a layer and stay comfortable. A T-shirt under a light jacket is a great place to start.
- Pick the right materials. Heavy materials like cotton soak up sweat and can become uncomfortable quickly. Choose lighter, moisture-wicking fabrics to help you stay drier while you’re out running (and avoid chafing). This goes for your socks, too.
Wear the right shoes
Those old, beaten-up sneakers from high-school gym class will quickly make your feet hate you. The right pair of shoes can make the difference between having a successful run and hobbling home with blisters to sore feet, so they’re worth the investment.
Warm up before you start running
You’ll often hear people say the first couple of kilometres of every run are the worst, and that’s likely because they don’t warm up before they get started. If you’ve been sleeping all night or sitting at a desk all day, your body needs to be eased into activity. A warmup doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and even just five minutes of walking before you get started can help make sure you start out feeling good.
A big mistake new runners make is they start out too fast, realize they can’t maintain that pace and give up. You’re better off starting at a pace that feels too slow and making it through your entire run than starting out faster and having to stop. You can always up the speed as you progress.
Keep a log
When you first start running, you’ll likely make noticeable improvements quite quickly. Keeping a log to track your progress is a great way to stay motivated, and on days when you don’t have a great run, you can look back at all the progress you’ve made to remind yourself how far you’ve come.
Get some running buddies
Running solo is great, but having friends to run with can make the miles a lot more fun, and can be great motivation to push yourself more than you would on your own. Try convincing a friend or two to go running with you, or find out what running groups are available in your area. Most of these groups are very welcoming and are always happy to help new runners get started.
Hydrate and refuel
Now that you’ve started running, your hydration and nutrition are more important than ever. When you drink enough water and eat a healthy diet, you’ll have much more energy and feel a whole lot better while you’re out running. So make sure you’re sipping on water throughout your day, and always try to eat something nutritious after your run to help your body recover.
Improving at running takes time and consistency — you’re not going to be running a sub-60 minute 10K right away. Have patience and try to enjoy the process of improving, rather than forcing progress and burning out.
OK, we know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but it really does work. Just ask marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge, who smiles during all of his races. Running is hard work, both mentally and physically, but putting a smile on your face can actually help you feel more relaxed, which will, in turn, help you to enjoy your run more. Because yes, running is a challenge, but it should be enjoyable, too.