The ABCs of Autumn Running (HG Remix)

20141019-141317.jpgHappy Tuesday, readers!

In honor of the last day of summer, today’s post is a spin-off of a recent Runner’s World article titled “The ABCs of Autumn Running” by columnist JoAnna Novak, which details ways runners can get more enjoyment out of their autumn running (and neatly ties each of those reasons into a back-to-school metaphor).

Mad props to Ms. Novak, but as someone who is chomping at the bit for nippy weather and crunchy leaves to finally make their glorious debut, I have my own wealth of ideas on this very topic, so I decided I’d expand on what she started with the ABCs of Autumn Running, HG Remix:

  • Run fast!
    It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeear…summer heat and humidity are gone (whoo hoo!), so now that the temperatures have gone down, why not let your pace do the same? After months of slogging through humid runs and giving all-out effort just to hit our easy paces, we deserve to let our inner speedsters shine. Take advantage of the dry air and the amazingly run-friendly temperatures and bust out a good hard run without feeling like you’re going to keel over after 45 seconds. It’s such a confidence booster to see those old split times on your watch again!
  • Run slow!
    If you’re going to run fast, you gotta follow it up with a recovery run and this is the time of year when so-called “junk miles” are at their most enjoyable. Suddenly those mandatory easy days don’t seem like such a drag when you can relax and just enjoy the fiery foliage, the woodsy smell of bonfires and the occasional leaf or two that fall on your head while you’re running, without missing it because you’re worrying about your paces or hyperfocused on getting through the hardest tempo mile of your life.
  • Reflect on the year
    Fall is different for everyone – for some, kids going back to school means a lighter load and more time to focus and get back into a routine; for others, it’s busier and more stressful as work events, social obligations and big races loom on the horizon. But no matter who you are and what’s on your plate this season, fall is the perfect time for reflection. For many of us, falling leaves, early darkness and decreasing temperatures are the first time we realize that the year is more than half way over and by the time we blink we’ll be cleaning up our Christmas decorations and counting down the seconds until a new year. So whether you just rocked your goal race and are starting to finally wind down, or you are still sort of recovering from a goal race in the Spring (sheepishly raises hand…): next time you go for an easy, scenic run, let nature’s beauty be your backdrop as you take a few moments to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished in this whirlwind of a year. You’ll barely have time to once holiday season amps up!
  • Have fun
    It seems like everywhere you go this season, fun is all around you. Football season has started and people are gathering to cheer on their teams of choice; Halloween, with the promise of costumes, candy and parties is right around the corner; friends are anxious to catch up on each other’s summers over yummy flavored drinks; there is an abundance of fun community activities to keep people out and about. Why not extend the fun of fall into your running life? Take this spirit of the season to heart and remember that at the end of the day, running is supposed to be fun. With all due respect, I think we could all benefit from not taking ourselves so seriously all the time. Remember to enjoy yourself out there – as preachy as it sounds, it really is a privilege that we get to run at all. No one’s paying you to do it, so if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?
  • Be a cheerleader
    This one is more personal than universal, but with my lighter training load and the aforementioned fun atmosphere all around me, I have vowed to embrace this time to be more of a cheerleader than a star quarterback. So many of my friends are running their big goal races this season, and I am enjoying the chance to take the focus off myself and let them take center stage. This is a great time for me to support all of you more fully and devote more time and attention to following your exciting journeys. I admit, at first I didn’t think it would be easy to step off to the sidelines and not get to share in any of the glory this fall. But I can honestly say I am really enjoying not worrying about myself so much and being more present in all of your lives.
  • Absorb nature
    We should appreciate the wonders of the natural world all year long, but let’s be honest here: this is not easy to do in the sweltering summer or the polar vortex of winter because it gets f-ing brutal out there. Fall, however, is the Goldilocks of the seasons – not too hot, not too cold, just right. I have no excuse not to be mindful and in awe of the wonders around me: the crunch of brittle brown leaves under my feet (CRUNCH crunch CRUNCH crunch…), the fiery mixes of oranges and reds and earth tones bursting out of the trunks of trees and spilling all over the ground beneath them; the smoky perfume that hangs in the air like a warm blanket, long after the bonfires have fizzled out and the clumps of leaves and bark of trees, damp from the morning dew, have dried out in the cool and dazzling white sunlight; the beads of sweat that burst through your skin in spite of the cold dry air, like hard-earned badges of honor from a kick-ass workout; running through the thick fog that seems to hush the world around you, with only the dark outlines of almost-bare tree trunks and the brilliant blood-red leaves still clinging to their branches visible through the gray mists…I could go on…


The sum of all these parts is that fall running is about mindfulness. It’s about stopping to smell the roses and be present in each glorious moment. It’s about stepping outside of myself, to appreciate both the people around me and the big natural world, of which I am but a small part.

It’s about the little things. Each one of them, both vibrant and fleeting, drifting slowly down to earth through the cool woodsy air.


What is your favorite part about running in autumn?



13 thoughts on “The ABCs of Autumn Running (HG Remix)

  1. I think fall is my favorite season–cool weather, school sports, enjoying hot drinks and soup! Taking a cool down walk where you ACTUALLY cool down!! I also really like throwing on sweaters and sweats…I could go on and on…
    I LOVE cheering at races! I love that I get to coach the kids–they are SO INSPIRING!

  2. I love all of it! Running in the winter is too unpredictable due to the snow and ice, which makes it hard to set goals for spring races. Plus spring can be a bit of a struggle when it alternates between 70 degrees and humid and a comfortable 50 degrees. Summer gets to be a drag when you are fighting the heat and humidity day after day. But fall, fall is perfect!

  3. I love this 🙂 I’m totally with you on the weather making any type of run more enjoyable – especially since I don’t have to struggle to breathe any more! I also really feel like I’m able to be more “present” during each run during the fall. It’s nice to be able to enjoy the moment.

  4. Great thoughts, especially absorbing nature and having fun. I’m getting a little anxious as I get close to starting a new job that will probably take over a lot of my life (although I’ll try to keep that at bay as much as possible) and clearing my head and taking in the autumn on morning runs helps to let me focus on the few weeks of free time and fun/running/cooking/reading/blogging I’ve got 🙂

  5. I love that the weather is cooling down! This morning I actually put on a light jacket because it was only 80 degrees! Yes, I am being 100% serious. I’m sure that sounds ridiculous to you but brrrr! 🙂 Someone pass me a hot chocolate!

  6. I love long runs in the cooler weather. It means the opportunity to sleep in and not die of heat stroke! J and I also always make a point of going up the mountain to see all the aspens change. It’s one of my favorite things of fall! Not running related at all, but absorb nature and all that!

  7. This is the BEST time of year for running!! The oppressive humidity is gone, the snow & ice haven’t yet appeared, and it just feels like a treat to be out running.

  8. I am totally envious of your autumn weather. It has been scorching hot out in LA and I don’t think we have any relief in sight! There won’t be any crunchy leaves for me anytime soon 😦 Do me a favor and post lots of pictures of all the beauty of the season!

  9. I love the sound and smell of leaves, the crisp air, the knowing that so many holidays are coming up. It is just a beautiful time of year

  10. I love this! I especially love the “Reflect on the Year”. I am going to think about that in every single one of my runs over the next few weeks with my taper. You know, as far as my year in running goes, a lot of my year was spent trying to salvage my spring season with my dumb Achilles that I never really got to appreciate everything that happened – the good and the bad. I’m so going to keep your post in the back of my mind and think about that when I finish out this training block. Love your posts!!!!!

  11. I never really liked fall until I started running, now I wish it was longer. I am looking forward to getting back on the trails and not feeling like I am going to pass out at the top of a mountain. I can’t wait! 🙂

Comments are closed.