6 tips for great fall running

Fall is a time of change and renewal, which makes it a great time to revisit your running habits and switch things up as we head into the chillier months.

We’ve collected some tips to help keep you on track and enjoy the season to the fullest.

Check (and maybe change) your shoes

A common rule is to change your running shoes every 500 kilometres, depending on various factors like running style and body weight. You’ll know that it’s time to replace them if you’re feeling more aches and pains than usual and if you can see that the tread is completely worn. Canadian Running has a great list of ways to test your shoes and see how much life they have left.

If it is indeed time to say goodbye to your shoes, give them a second life by donating them to Footwear 4 Kids.

Layer up

It’s a lot cooler now than it was even a month ago, so dig that cold-weather running gear out of the closet. Base layers, long-sleeved shirts, running tights, hats and gloves go a long way in keeping your body warm.

But don’t get too carried away. You should still feel a little cold at the start of your run because your body will heat up as you get going.

Get reflective

Waking up in the dark? Yes, the days are getting shorter and shorter and that means your morning and evening runs will likely start or end in the dark. It’s important for your safety to make sure that you’re visible to traffic (which includes cars, bikes and other runners).

A lot of running gear has reflective layers built into it, but you can also consider using a light. This could be anything from a headlamp to small lights that can clip on to your clothing or running belt. If your jacket doesn’t have lots of reflective tape, consider wearing a reflective vest. The most important thing is to be seen out there.

Keep on hydrating and using sunscreen

Many people think that because it’s not as hot out there they can skimp on hydration and sun protection—not true!

While we do sweat less in cooler temperatures, your body still needs water to remain hydrated. That goes for using sunscreen as well. The sun’s rays aren’t as severe during fall, but the UV rays can still damage your skin if you’re exposed for longer periods of time.

Change up your route

Fall is a time of change, from changing leaves to schedules to appetites. That means it’s also a good time to switch up your running route and check out new running areas in the city.

We’re fortunate in Ottawa to have so many awesome multi-use paths (over 236 kilometres, according to the NCC) that look particularly beautiful in autumn, so get outside and explore somewhere new. Why not head up to Gatineau park and get some fall colours along with your hill training?

Go off-roading

Another way to change things up is to leave the paths behind entirely. Fall is the start of the cross-country running, a favourite activity of many elite Canadian runners, and there’s no better way to experience the changing season than by running through nature.