Although the fall racing season has started, the weather gods have been great to us so far (knock on wood). After a recent 12K run I felt utterly depleted to the point where I thought the coming cooler temperatures might not be so bad. So thirsty…
My dehydration aside, autumn is a great time of year for runners, with races of varying lengths all over the country.
If you’re a little skeptical about running in this weather, read on for five ways to up your enjoyment factor and learn to love running all over again:
1. Say, “Hey, do this race with me.”
Signing up for a race can be highly motivating if your desire to run is lacking, or if you just want to have some fun.
And it can be even more fun it you get a friend involved. Find a race that is about a month away, and get a running pal to do it with you. You can decide to train a bit harder for it, or not. The whole idea is just to factor in some more fun, which is why when you’re looking for a race to enter, consider picking something with a theme or a fundraiser. I’ve done a few fundraising runs and they’re a riot, and you’re also helping a good cause.
2. Spend some money
This is where the fabulous part comes in. Remember that autumn doesn’t end until December 21, by which time it’s likely much colder than it is right now (hello there snow!). Is your wardrobe prepared?
I got a new running jacket for my birthday and am looking forward to trying it out — come on cold weather!
Also, know that continuing to run outside as the weather turns cold is actually far more motivating than moving indoors to a treadmill. If you have the proper gear, you won’t have any excuses not to do it.
3. Join a group
There are lots of different options for this, but a good place to start is to inquire at your local running store. Why should you do it? Well, why not? It creates a regularly scheduled group of like-minded people who get together for presentations and runs. You can make new friends, learn interesting stuff and have a good time.
They can also serve to push you to a new level. If you’re stuck at the 5K level, they have 10K clinics. Want to run a half marathon? There are groups for that too. Dare to tackle a marathon? Better join a marathon group.
4. Explore new horizons
Do you keep running the same routes over and over? Download a running app and go explore. It’s time to tap into a bit of that thirst for adventure and check out some new territory, but also remember to be safe. It’s smart to bring a friend (which can be of the large-toothed canine variety) but at the very least, tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.
5. Give interval training a try
You need to be careful if you’re new to interval training — it can be punishing, and I don’t advise doing it more than twice a week. There are some great benefits to running intervals however. It can makes you faster, trains the “extended sprint” energy systems in your body (that you may not usually train) and it allows you to run really fast which builds up your anaerobic fitness level.
If you’re struggling to get through a run I recommend trying to remember being a kid and how much fun it was to run fast. Channel that feeling. Be a kid again.
James S. Fell, MBA, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Calgary, AB. He writes the column “In-Your-Face Fitness” for the Los Angeles Times and consults with clients on strategic planning for fitness and health. Get a free metabolism report at Body For Wife.