Summer is officially OVER! A lot of our athletes here at Upper Left Distance Training are happy about that, because cooler weather means easier long runs, faster workouts, and less lugging around of loaded hydration packs. With all perks of cooler days though, there are still some things to keep in mind.
Remember to hydrate. Even though it is cooler and you’ll need less water than on those blistering summer afternoons, you still need fluid to perform to the best of your ability. Fluid loss does occur, even in cool climates, so remember to stay hydrated! Your performance and recovery depends on it.
Do dynamic stretches. Muscle activation and increased blood flow is always important before you head out for your run, but especially so as the cool temperatures roll in. With cooler days your muscles may take a little longer to warm up, so prepare them by going through your dynamic routine before you head out the door. This is a good habit to get into regardless of the season.
Wear reflective clothing. I don’t do a ton of road running these days, but when I do I’m always shocked by the blatant disregard motorists have for pedestrians. And with shorter days drivers will be less likely to see you, even at well lit cross walks. Make yourself visible by wearing highly reflective running gear and NEVER cross in front of a vehicle before you’ve made eye contact. Always assume a driver hasn’t seen you until you know otherwise.
Upgrade you shoes. Technology is awesome these days. Go to your local running store and find a shoe with slip resistant rubber for wet roads (such as the Adidas Boston Boost) and don some deeper lugs for the muddy trails (visit your local running shop). An easy way to reduce you risk of injury is by not slipping and falling on your ass.
Remember the 20 degree rule, but be prepared in the mountains. One of my least favorite feelings is being wet and hot. If you live in the PNW you’ve experienced this at least once: you thought it was sub zero out there so you layered up, but it was 45 degrees and raining. Once you shuffled out of your igloo and got moving, it felt like it was 65 degrees and your were running in a parka. In a moment of panic you tried to peel your water resistant shell off, but it wouldn’t budge! OH NO! I THINK IT SHRUNK AND I’M STUCK!!! GET THIS OFF ME!!!!!! That’s a little dramatic, but you get the point. Remember that while it is much cooler outside, it will always feel 20 degrees warmer than it is 15 minutes after you start running.
That’s not to discount the importance of being prepared in the mountains though. Weather patterns often change and shift dramatically, even in low elevation mountain ranges, so be prepared. You need to consider windchill in wilderness environments as well. Always bring a pack with extra calories, a filtration device, an emergency blanket and light-weight rain shell pants and jacket at the very least. Better safe than sorry!
Take care of yourself. With the awesome fall running weather comes flu and cold season, so be kind to your immune system. Take your vitamins, stay hydrated, eat healthfully, get a flu shot (if that’s your jam) and SLEEP! I’m always on top of our athletes about sleep. Sleep is the best activity you can do for your recovery and well being. Even 30 extra minutes per day could change the way you live and run.
I hope these tips help you as you move through this wonderful season.
Feel free to reach out if I can help you with anything else!