Comfortable temperatures, ever-changing scenery and that unmistakable crisp morning air following the oppressive heat of the summer months - there's a good reason autumn is one of our favourite seasons for running.
With mid-September fast approaching, we've reached that all too familiar transitional periods in our running calendar - in other words, the time of year when you start to need a little more coverage on your morning run, but you're not quite ready to dig out the full thermals yet.
We've put together a few tips to help you transition into the new season seamlessly and keep you at peak performance this autumn.
Get your kit right
Kit that protects you from the elements without causing overheating is an autumn essential - and layering should be every runner's best friend. Choose fabrics which are lightweight, sweat-wicking and quick-drying - perfect if you get caught in a sudden downpour. Compression shorts provide an additional layer of warmth and support, while lightweight hoodies give you that extra layer without bulk. Use a peaked cap to prevent heat loss from the top of your head, while keeping the last of the summer sunshine out of your eyes. Worried about overdressing? Ideally, you should aim to start your run feeling a little chilly to allow your body to warm up comfortably as you get going.
Don’t skip the warm-up
Cold temperatures lead to cold muscles, which ultimately leave you more prone to injury. Take the time to stretch beforehand. Starting with a brisk walk or light jog before heading off on your run will give your muscles plenty of time to warm up in the colder weather.
Bring a friend
The UK weather is unpredictable at the best of times. You may find an impromptu downpour as you're pulling on your trainers is enough to have you retreating to the comfort of your sofa. That's where having a running buddy can help, if it's safe for you to do so under the current circumstances. Enlist the support of a friend, relative or colleague to keep you accountable and motivated. Remember to keep an eye on current social distancing advice to ensure you're keeping yourself and others safe.
With the days getting shorter, it becomes even more important to make sure you're visible to others on your run. By combining hi-vis colours with reflective detailing on your kit, you'll make sure you stay seen even when light isn't directly hitting you. If it's especially dark when you head out, add some wearable LED lights for maximum visibility.
Take it all in
With all the uncertainty taking place in the world this year, the changing seasons bring a small sense of familiarity and consistency. Autumn is a wonderful time to be running, so why not take the opportunity to mix up your route, try a new distance or change of pace? Or if you always listen to music on your run, why not take them out this week and see what you can hear around you? You may be pleasantly surprised.