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A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

October 31, 2012 at 2:15 PM

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5 fast tips for running in cooler fall weather

Fall is such a picturesque season that it’s a privilege to lace up my shoes and hit the trails. Indeed, every season brings a different kind of beauty to the running experience, yet autumn in the Pacific Northwest is special. The sweet smell of leaves, the bright colors, the rhythmic crunching under my feet, and the cool, clean air filling my lungs sends me back to my childhood.

Meanwhile, Mother Nature is doing her part, offering up golden sunsets to go with a virtual kaleidoscope of color, as if showing off her best side while she’s in a good mood. And the scene looks like a beautiful oil painting of which you magically insert yourself, becoming part of the splendor. The leaves, having reached their zenith, float slowly to earth as you run past and you hear them crunch beneath your feet. They have turned the pathways into a multi-hued carpet right before your eyes. You can’t help but become alive with nature and feel the bond. Soon you are running faster for no reason other than being out there and with cooler temperatures, the energy you expend is mitigated, helping you improve your running performance.

As daylight becomes more fleeting at this time of year, I also enjoy racing the sun, or essentially trying to complete my late afternoon run before the emerging night renders me blind. This is a great motivator. It doesn’t matter where you find that extra gear; sometimes the intoxicating aroma of someone’s dinner wafting by is enough motivation to run home quicker.

A new season is a time for setting new running goals, with a staple of fall running being the onset of cross country racing, as well as several big marathons, including the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 4 and locally, the Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon on Nov. 25.

If you are still suffering summer withdrawal and want to run in shorts, you might be thinking the treadmill is a viable alternative to going outside. But for the rest of us, it’s time to trade our shorts for tights while we adjust to colder temperatures and less light.

Without further adieu, here then, are five tips to enhance your fall running season:

1. Wear reflective gear, headlamp, long sleeved clothing and tights. Ensure your shoes are good for wet or slippery surfaces.

2. Carry an I.D. with you and be careful running in less light. Always make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.

3. Run with a friend or a group to keep you motivated. Join a clinic to inspire you to keep running.

4. Set a running goal. Participate in some new races like cross country or Spartan obstacle racing. Invest in a log book to record your adventures right from the start.

5. Very important for sustainability in fall: After your run, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate beside a nice, warm fireplace!

Christine Blanchette is an avid runner and freelance writer who lives in Burnaby, B.C. Follow her blog at

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These are some great tips. I love running in the winter. As long as you follow these... MORE
I caught a death once, but a little chicken noodle soup and rest helped cure it. MORE
I caught a death once, Ok then. . . Rule 6. Dress cold. You'll warm up as you... MORE

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