Autumn means more Goldilocks running weather – not too warm, not too cool; just right. Between the vibrant foliage and the abundance of other runners out training for fall events, there’s plenty to take in. And you’ll likely run faster than you have in a few months, since runners tend to slow by 20 to 30 seconds per mile with every five degree increase above 60 degrees F. Here’s how to make the most of the season.

  • GO LONGER: To spend more time enjoying the pleasant weather and changing leaves, lengthen your long runs (which you should be doing every other week). Run about three minutes per mile slower than 5-K pace and increase total distance each time by between a half-mile and a mile. Take a 20-30 second walk break every minute from the beginning to avoid fatigue.
  • FIND FRIENDS: Because there are more motivational challenges in winter, it’s smart to sample running groups now. Find one with runners whose company you enjoy, and you’ll want to keep meeting up with them after the seasons change. But before trying a new group, find out if there are runners who go at your pace.
  • DRESS UP: October brings Halloween, and with it, costumed races. These events offer a chance to have more fun on race day – it’s hard to be nervous when dressed up. Avoid costumes that restrict your vision, take up lots of space, or cause you to overheat.
  • TRAIL OFF: Foliage fans will love a tree-lined trail, and the soft surfaces can be a nice change of pace for road runners. If you check out a trail, take care: Fallen leaves can hide holes, roots, rocks, and –gasp! – Snakes, so approach covered sections with caution.