The first run you tackle when that fall-like feeling hits is arguably the best of the year. The familiar scene: The door closes behind you, and a gentle breeze kisses your cheeks and ruffles some leaves. The once-despised heaviness in the air is missing, and you wonder if — for just a brief moment — you should be wearing more clothes. Then it hits you: Autumn is a thing. A thing that you love. And it’s about to remind you how head-over-heels in love you are with the sport.
There are no two-ways around it: Summer feels like it lasts forever when you’re a runner. Some days, that can be a good thing. The season is filled with wonderful tidbits, but it’s also filled with humidity, excessive sweating, and for the pavement pounding-inclined, mile after mile of discomfort and sometimes, dread.
By the time the two-or-so months of chafing and early morning miles to avoid obscene temperatures come to an end, you’re ready. You’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to leave the house without needing a third coat of deodorant.
Here are some things to look forward to about running in the fall:
RACING SEASON IS HERE
Fall marathons are the best marathons, period. Granted, the beginning of all that training is brutal in mid-July and August. But once the taper hits, it’s harmonious with fall weather and your mind is right. Lacing up for a fall race, anticipation is almost always as readily available as pumpkin spice lattes at your corner coffee shop.
LEGGINGS ARE BACK
Whether you like running in shorts or not, there’s something really nice about the extra coverage that comes hand-in-hand with slipping into a pair of running tights. Suddenly, pockets are abundant. You have a place to stash everything from your credit cards to a cell phone. And that annoying shorts chafing thing? A relic of the past.
YOU GET SOME SLEEP BACK
Long gone are the mornings where you have to get up while it’s still dark out to beat the heat. In an extreme case (if you live in a major city, anyway) you may even see some people still out from the night before as you’re just warming up. Cooler days mean you have more time to get going, which is pretty cool by us.
THE VIEWS ARE GORGEOUS
There’s something extra beautiful about the leaves changing color on the trees come fall. Bright orange, red and golden hues are the perfect complement to personal best mile times and long Saturday runs.
THE OTHER RUNNERS AREN’T AS CRANKY
Let’s face it: No one likes that “oh my goodness, am I overheating?” feeling. When the temperatures break, the mood is lighter around the typical route. Happier runners make for friendlier runners, something you won’t catch anyone complaining about any time soon.
Plus, the crew is back in town after a summer full of traveling everywhere and anywhere. Which means your running buddy is ready for the gossip miles to pick back up, ASAP.
THE POST-RUN EATS ARE A TOTAL WIN
Ice cream is great and all, but have you ever indulged in a beer complete with cinnamon sugar rim or a pumpkin donut once the run’s over? There’s a whole world of seasonal eats just waiting for you once you’re finished. Just make sure to drink water, too.