With October almost here and the first touches of chill in the air its time shape up your autumn and winter running season. Autumn is a great time of year to run, with temperatures a little cooler, some of the best races taking place and the start of the cross-country season it’s a great period to bank a new PB or lay the foundations of training for a fantastic 2020. Here are some top tips for autumn training and racing courtesy of Tom Craggs and OOFOS:
The changing of the season can see you running in very different conditions, often starting your runs chilly but rapidly warming up after a few minutes. Layers are key as you can keep warm or strip off later in your runs of you need to.
Top tip: Invest in a lightweight waterproof shell jacket – it could be the thing that keeps your motivation to run in October strong!
Set Yourself Up
For runners newer to the sport, the winter can provide all the excuses you need to not train. As the darker nights draw in and the chill bites at the door the good routines you build in the autumn will strengthen your resolve in the winter and keep you running.
Top tip: Build a sustainable routine focussing on frequency first. 3-4 runs a week is a good starting point starting and look to seek out the times, days and locations that work best for you. Keep a training diary and in 2-3 months’ time you can look back – you won’t want to lose all you have gained!
Many more experienced runners use the late spring and summer as a chance to focus on shorter distances racing 1500m up to 10k. Autumn is a great time to build more endurance and race over 10k – half marathon or even up to the marathon.
Top tip: Check out race listings and look to challenge yourself over a different distance. 10-mile racing in the autumn, for example, allows for a bit more endurance but still with a focus on faster sessions.
The UK has a wonderful tradition of cross country running and it all kicks off in the autumn. Great for building strength, it’s also about just getting out and racing without thinking too much about the watch, times and paces. Many of the sports best use an autumn and winter of cross country to provide the platform for the following years PBs on the roads…give it a try!
Top tip: The UK’s network of running clubs is the entry point for cross country racing and they are diverse, welcoming and supportive places to be, too!
The autumn and winter will provide the foundation and platform on which you build your 2020 races. Building some strength endurance in these months will really set you up for those spring goals!
Top tip: A weekly run where you work at a ‘threshold effort’ or controlled discomfort is a great option. Don’t worry about pace – look to run at 3-4 word answer effort and to build strength run over an undulating route or loop. You might start with 4-5 sets of 5 minutes at this effort but look to build to include a weekly sustained effort of 20-30 minutes at this controlled discomfort effort.
Layer Of Defence
A strong and healthy approach to recovery will help build resilience and protection against the colds and infections that often hold runners back later in the year.
Top tip: Use the autumn to get your recovery strategies sorted. Perhaps you need to invest in a new mattress to make the most of those longer nights or a pair OOFOS to give your feet and legs some love between sessions.
Vitamins and minerals, micro-nutrients, will help build and maintain a healthy functioning immune system and stave off some of the colds and infections that can really hamper the consistency of you training.
Top tip: Spend some time in the kitchen! Even if just 2-3 times a week to start off with cook for yourself and really look to vary your meals and include a broad span of fruit and vegetables. Vitamins C, B6, E, D and zinc all contribute to a healthy functioning immune system.
The Autumn is a great time to plan your 2020. Getting your mind into action on the goal races or events you want to tackle next year will also be critical in keeping you motivated in winter which will provide you with the endruance platform on which your PBs will be set!
Top tip: Sit down over a nice warm drink and reflect upon your 2019 so far. What’s gone well and what could be improved? Perhaps you feel strong with endurance but lacking speed, or perhaps you didn’t get in the core and strength work you’d planned. Alongside this, shortlist some races or goals which will get you motivated and fired up. Marrying up your goals with where you feel you currently are is the starting point for your plan!