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6 Coaches Share Expert Tips To Make Fall Your Favorite Running Season

by Sarah Schuh - October 21, 2021

If you're looking to up your fitness game this season, you’re in luck! When it comes to getting your sweat on, fall is one of the best times to start...running, that is! Even if you're a newbie to the sport, lacing up and hitting the road comes with its advantages for this time of year, according to a few running coaches!

We interviewed six experts in the sport to get the lowdown on why fall is the best time to start running. They provided us with a few tips and tricks to maximize your training. So take their word for it and read below why fall is the best time for running and how to get started. Then, grab your sneakers and get ready to go! (Psst! Then join our Vital Run Club to keep you motivated and accountable!) 

Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.

fall running 

DANIELLE HIRT, Running Coach and Personal Trainer

Why Fall Running Is Best: Fall is a great time to start running because the temperature and humidity have dropped to more tolerable levels which means your body won't need to fight the heat while running. This gives you more energy to focus on your running! [Also] if completing a race is your goal the fall brings an eight-week time period to build up to a turkey trot or other holiday race to train for!

Fall Training Tips:

  • See and be seen. The days are shorter in the fall so it's likely that you will be running at dusk/dawn. Be safe and wear brightly colored clothing or better yet a lighted vest or headlamp.
  • Dress in layers. Fall mornings can be chilly! It's ok to layer a long sleeve tech shirt over a short sleeve. Remove layers as you warm up on your run.
  • Protect your hands! Our hands and feet are the first to get sensitive to the cold. It's totally fine to run with a short sleeve shirt and pair of gloves.
  • Don't try to do it all at once. Start with 1-2 days of run/walk intervals and a day of walking. Over time, increase your running time and soon enough you'll be running three times a week! The biggest mistake I see runners make is doing too much too fast, a slow gradual build will help keep you injury-free. 

CHRIS WEHRMAN, COACH AND CO-FOUNDER OF RUNBETTER LLC 

Why Fall Running Is Best: For experienced runners, the cooler weather means less stress in the hot/humid temperatures and quicker recoveries. Second, with fewer other runners, it is easier to find a more appropriate pace for you, which will increase the ability to run further and decrease the possibility of injury. [Plus] the shorter days means some quieter time to run, reflect, and relax.

Fall Training Tips:

  • If you want to get in some warm runs on a treadmill, you can run some of the world's most famous courses on the RunBetter App. This will allow you to change the inclines with purpose and help make the run go by faster.

TIM BRADLEY, MS, CSCS, DIRECTOR OF TRAINING AT CARA 

Why Fall Running Is Best: Fall is not only a great season for football, playoff baseball and pumpkin spice lattes (of course), but also a great time to get into running. Consistently crisp temperatures, beautiful sunny days and changing of the leaves provide a picturesque backdrop to start your running. It is also a great time to get a jump on the holiday season before all the parties, stress and winter weather kick in.

Fall Training Tips:

  • First, be aware of the changing daylight times and how early or late the sun is rising and falling. With cooler temperatures, this typically allows you more freedom to run during different times of the day, especially late morning and lunch hour.
  • As a result, fall is a great time to race and ideal conditions allow for a better shot at knocking out your next PR!


NICOLE GAINACOPULOS, RUNNING COACH AND STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING SPECIALIST (CSCS)

Why Fall Running Is Best: The fall temperatures are great! You can run in less layers of clothing and still stay comfortable on the run. Because of the weather, you can be more flexible on the start time of runs vs. trying to beat the summer heat and getting out early in the morning. Races are plentiful. If you need a goal race to go toward, there are typically tons of turkey trots or local 5Ks. If you're not ready to be out yet, there are many virtual run options. If you're a treadmill runner, it's a great time for new tv shows to binge on while getting your mileage in!”


Fall Training Tips:

  • Start Slow. Do not go too fast. One giant mistake beginners and advanced runners alike do is go too fast. Try to take your runs at an easy talking pace and if that's not possible yet, implement a run-walk strategy.    
  • Select if you are going to run based on time or miles. Why does this matter?  Have some consistency on your goals and runs. You can track your progress easier this way also. (Example: Goal is to run 10 minutes straight or goal is to run 1 mile straight. This way you can increase your training runs towards the specific goal.)  
  • Gradually increase by 10 percent each week. Increase by either 10 percent of time or mileage. This will help reduce risk of injury and be achievable.
  • Celebrate the accomplishments along the way. Seriously, it's sometimes the biggest achievement to just get out the door!!
  • Goal Setting: Have both short term and long term goals. Short term goals are either within each week or maybe every two to four weeks. This will help keep you accountable and on task.  Avoid burnout by making sure that these are realistic. An example might be: get two workouts in when you travel this week. Long term goals can be distance or time related such as: be able to run 10 minutes without stopping or run in a local 5K race. 
  • If you're ready to start but don't know how, invest in a coach!
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    NEZ IBANEZ AND KAITLYN KOOYERS, CO-LEADERS OF NOVEMBER PROJECT (CHI)

    Fall Training Tips:

    • As temperatures drop and it gets colder, it's easy to snooze. We recommend making a plan to meet up with someone. Having an "accountabilibuddy" makes it easier to get up, since you won't want to leave them hanging.
    • Dress in layers! Folks always show up to workouts with an extra top layer, and as you heat up during the workout, you end up dropping a layer or two. When starting off a run, you should dress as though it's 10-15° warmer, so when you step outside it might feel a little cool, but you should heat up in no time.

    Fuel Your Runs With Vital Performance™