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What to wear for fall running

As the temperatures drop, get ready to layer up

As we near the end of October, many regions across the country are finally starting to experience cool fall weather. For many runners, this comes as a welcome change from the hot, humid conditions of the summer, but it takes a bit more planning than throwing on shorts and a t-shirt and heading out the door. Check out these tips to keep you running comfortably as the temperatures continue to drop.

Couple jogging down path through fall leaves

Fall safety tips for runners

Layer up

Fall weather can be deceiving — temperatures that feel chilly in the first few minutes of your run can have you overheating by the time you’re halfway through, making it really tough to figure out what to put on before you start. To get around this, opt for wearing a few light layers that you can easily remove and tie around your waist as you warm up. Your base layer should be made of a light, moisture-wicking material like polyester, elastane, polyamide or Gore-Tex, which help keep your skin dry to maintain your body’s temperature.

An example of layering is to wear a moisture-wicking t-shirt as a base layer, a light long-sleeve shirt or sweater designed for running and a waterproof windbreaker in case it’s rainy or windy.

Runner during the fall.

Stay warm, but don’t over-do it

You don’t want to be cold when you’re out running, but it’s also unnecessary to dress so warmly that you’re sweating as if it were the middle of July. To help figure out how much to put on, use the 10-degree rule: add 10 degrees to the ambient outdoor temperature, and dress for that level of warmth. So if the thermometer says it’s 5 C outside, dress as if it were 15 C. If it’s raining or it’s particularly windy outside, only add five degrees to the ambient temperature.

Choose bright colours

As the days get shorter, you’ll likely be doing a lot more running in the dark. Wearing bright colours will make you much more visible to drivers when you’re running through busy areas, and having reflective gear on will keep you safe while you’re out on the streets.

A runner in the misty Phoenix park.

Get a good jacket

Fall can be a rainy time of year, so invest in a good water-resistant jacket to keep you dry on the cool, wet days. Even an un-lined “shell” to throw on over top of your other layers will go long way in keeping you comfortable in the rain.

Best trails in Canada to see fall colours

Don’t hang around after your run

You may warm up quite a lot during your run, but it doesn’t take long after you stop for your body temperature to start dropping, especially when your underlayers are damp from sweat. If you’re running from home, make sure to get out of your wet clothes right away. If you’re not at home, make sure you have a warm sweater to put on after your run and a place to take off your wet clothes so you can get dry as soon as possible.