Getting ready for autumn

autumn running darker sky

Have you felt it yet? Although the temperatures are still on the warm side during the day and you're still running in shorts and t-shirts, the evenings have become a tad cool and the colours around us are changing. We are moving into a new season and a change in lifestyle.

Many runners are back from holidays and are getting back into normal routines dictated by work or school. This is a great time to set yourself a new running goal for late autumn or early winter. Have a look through the calendar, to find an event that excites you and then check with our Training Wizard that you have enough time to train for it. Programmes normally last from six weeks to sixteen weeks so don't set yourself a goal that is too soon.

If it has been a while since you last exercised, it's a good idea to see your GP for a general check-up to make sure you're good to go.

The right training apparel is important. Autumn brings with it dark nights and danger on the roads. Get along to your local running specialist and ask for advice on high visibility clothing with reflective strips. You should also look for clothing that is going to protect you against the autumn weather we are likely to experience. Without the appropriate clothing you are in danger of losing your motivation on a wet, windy night!

A new running outfit can make you feel good about yourself and get into your head space for exercise. An old pair of sweatpants that you've worn for slouching in the house are not going to make you feel inspired for running.

The most important piece of running gear is footwear. Running shoes should be changed every six months or every 500 miles, depending on which comes first. It can be hard to see when a pair of shoes has had it but if yours bend and twist easily in your hands, it's time for a new pair.

Many runners come down with a cold in the first few weeks of training for their autumn goal. This is because your body is suddenly being asked to get busy repairing itself after each training session and your immune system is compromised. Make sure your diet complements your training. You may need to supplement vitamins and minerals if your training and diet are not well matched (NHS vitamins summary).

Click here for advice on healthy eating from the British Nutrition Foundation

Logging your training is important. You are more likely to stick to your programme if you are recording your progress.

Reward your running. You should have a look at the award winning runbritain handicap scoring system that gives you:

  • personal progress graph
  • direct comparisons with other runners with a 'head-to-head' function 
  • national ladder position showing your ranking amongst all UK runners
  • current rankings at each of the major distances (5K, 10K, HM, Mar)
  • handicap score updated automatically after each run
  • target times to bring score down to the next level
  • training schedules to help you achieve your targets

By being a part of this you will have the incentives you need to keep your running going as you will enjoy seeing your progress. The handicap scoring system is designed to give road runners of all abilities a benchmark of their progress and comparisons of their results across a range of distances and terrains.

Click here to claim your handicap.

Tell your friends, family and work colleagues what you are doing. This does two things. First, it increases the level of commitment in your own mind. And second, it tells those around you what you're doing so they can make allowances for it in their lives.

Join a club or running group. There you will benefit from the advice of a coach or a leader, you will have people to run with and you will be socialising with like-minded people.

Good luck with your autumn and winter goals!