Fall has arrived, and it brings with it more than just chunky sweaters, pumpkin spiced everything, and shorter days. Fall is the perfect season for running, and here is why:
1. Not too hot, not too cold. As the raging heat of summer simmers away, fall gives runners a window of perfect temperatures for running before the chill of winter sets in.
2. Goodbye, humidity! Especially true in New York, summer is the season of humidity, and after training in it all summer, running in the crisp clearness of fall is like taking that first gulp of air after being underwater.
3. Marathon season. Fall is for marathons. Some of the biggest marathons in the country all take place in the fall including the TCS New York City Marathon, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the BMW Berlin Marathon, and the Philadelphia Marathon to name a few.
For NYRR coach Melanie Kann, coaching runners towards marathon season in the fall is extremely rewarding. "Temperatures usually start to drop right around the time our runners’ fitness starts to peak for their fall marathons, and so we see happy, fit, excited runners flying through our Group Training workouts and writing to us on Virtual Trainer," Kann says. "The energy is electrifying!”
4. Time to hit the trails. Fall is also cross country season, a time where high schoolers, college kids, and beyond hit the trails when they are at their most beautiful. No matter where you are in the country, cross-country kicks off now.
5. Peak scenery. Every season is stunning in its own way, but there is something special about the changing of the leaves in fall. Although the window is narrow, the experience of running through a park or forest that has brightly colored leaves falling lightly around you is nothing short of magical.
6. Crowds? What crowds? The summer is when the most people are outside, enjoying the sunshine and clogging up running routes. As the sun starts to shine less brightly and the days get shorter, people head back indoors and runners can claim the parks, streets, and trails once more.
One of NYRR coach Gordon Bakoulis' favorite parts of fall is when runners reclaim the roads and get out to run together. "Fall is a time to really focus on running—we’re back in a routine, the weather is cool and crisp, and we can enjoy the camaraderie of other runners at the races," Bakoulis says.
7. It’s all coming together. "Fall marathoners are faced with doing the majority of their training over the summer," says NYRR coach Ben Delaney. "That means dealing with heat, humidity, and running during vacation to get in their training runs and workouts. Training over the summer conditions not only a super-fit runner, but a runner who is resilient and ready to take on any condition they are faced with and run the best race possible."
Bakoulis agrees. "For many runners, fall is when all the year’s training comes together," she says. "We get strong and fit during the summer, but we often don’t realize how strong we are until the fall, when the weather cools down and many races—especially half marathons and marathons—are on the calendar."