Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness... and marathons.
Autumn is the ultimate gift to new and experienced runners, and the absolutely perfect season for a cheeky 26 mile canter in the countryside.
This time last year, I headed up to Loch Ness to run a chilly 10K in and around Inverness. Having schlepped up there fresh from a race in the Caribbean, I wasn’t too keen to freeze my chapped nipples off in the highlands. But boy, were my misgivings mistaken.
Whether you’re thinking about an autumn race, wanting to maintain your summer fitness or are looking to take up running for the first time, here are just a few reasons why autumn is your best friend:
1. It’s cooler
After a positively tropical summer, there’s a crispy chill in the air that is most welcome after a few miles. That means you can reasonably jog to brunch without drowning in your own sweat at the table and grossing out all your pals.
2. There’s still plenty of light
The nights might be getting longer but it’s still bright until about 7.30pm and sun’s up by 6.30am - meaning that commuter runners have plenty of time to get to and from the office without having to don the hi-vis. Start getting into running now while you have that light and you’ll find it easier to adjust as the days continue to shorten.
3. There are fewer runners around
While there are plenty of autumn and winter events (Berlin Marathon is 29 Sept, Loch Ness marathon is 6 Oct, Amsterdam is 20 Oct), the big UK races are over for the year.
That means that much of the running traffic has died down or is going to be restricted to Parkrun enthusiasts on Saturday mornings.
If you’re a beginner who doesn’t fancy being overtaken at every turn, now’s your chance to get out there and take ownership of those footpaths!
4. Less chafing
There’s nothing worse than the slow, deep burn of a running bra chafe. Runderwear specialises in incredible chafe-free running gear - from bras to pants and socks, so it’s worth investing in a couple of outfits that you can wear the year through.
But it’s a fact that as you sweat less, you chafe less. So, couple your Runderwear gear with a lovely autumnal breeze and you’re almost guaranteed to be left unscathed.
5. You delay the inevitable three-month party season
Running is many things to many people. For some, it’s a meditation, for others, it’s a social thing. But for many of us, there is an element of maintaining a basic level of health and fitness.
Once summer is over, there’s a brief hiatus before the winter party season kicks off - starting with Halloween and ending with the Epiphany. Stick to a regular running regime and you’ll find that you might be less tempted to start your six-nights-a-week party habit until advent is under way.
6. It’s the perfect excuse for a staycation
You can’t afford to go abroad thanks to your extravagant summer and you don’t have the holiday days to do anything extravagant - so why not book in a UK-based race weekend?
The Loch Ness running festival offers 5K, 10K and full marathon options. The 10K race makes up the last leg of the full marathon, and is essentially an exquisite tour around the country roads that lead into the city - taking in forest glades, mountain views and a gushing loch. And, more importantly, it’s all downhill meaning that even after an evening sampling Inverness’ finest Scotch offerings, you’ll still manage to trot to the finish line in good time.
Then you’ve got The Great East Run (22 Sept), The Color Run London (28 Sept), Oxford, Manchester and Royal Parks Half Marathons (13 Oct), and a tonne of MoRunning events around the country in November in aid of Movember.
So why not book yourself onto a race and spend the rest of the weekend exploring a new town or city?
It’s easy to feel that post-summertime sadness once you’re back to work and the Aperol has stopped flowing but trust me, keep running and it’ll be Christmas party season before you know it