Well, I survived September and achieved my goal of running 100+ miles (133). My knees, ankle, and hip then forced me to “go short” in running for a week. I found I needed to slow it down for October, not having any distance goal for the first month since June, taking it easy, focusing on form and speed with my running. In other words, trying to make “fall fitness” FUN! 🙂
So how can you make fall fitness fun or fall into fitness? First, you absolutely have to run in order to crunch leaves beneath your feet (make sure you turn your music off for this run so you can hear the therapeutic crunching of leaves and the rustle (or whistle?) of the wind. Run in patterns to crunch the maximum number of leaves, tall leaf piles if possible (unless you need to pick up a couple for school projects for your kids-we have about 10 leaves being pressed in books right now). My favorite places for this run: Central Park in NYC or Denver Marathon course.
Second, one day a week, try running fast, full speed as long as you are healthy and not injured. Maybe 5k max. Try to crush your 5k P.R. Fast-twitch muscles will return.
Third, try some slower-paced runs to give your legs time to recover (actually the slower you run, the more fun you have sometimes). Maybe at least one long-slow-distance workout a week.
Fourth, accentuate the ZIGZAGS in your run (be careful with this one so you don’t collide with runners, bikers, pedestrians). Zig one direction, then zag the other, repeating to infinity (when it is safe to do so). Otherwise, I pretend I am running in a DNA helix pattern where the turns are not as sharp as zigzags, more rounded edges (the DNA helix looks great when running in snow-of course you need a companion runner to do a double helix or run out & back to finish the other side). Trying this ensures that you aren’t going to have ankle/knee issues from running on one side too close to the curb all the time. My left ankle tends to get pounded from being too close to the curb when I run on the street. I try running in the center of the street when possible-it’s flatter-better for knees, ankles, and hips, my weaknesses of late.
Fifth, spontaneously run for FUN at least once a week-that means not for time or distance. You have no planned distance, you just see how far your legs will take you and how far they want to go. Turn the opposite direction on your running routes (“opposite day”)-this will help prevent boredom.
Finally, at least once this month, try this: you will be “cooped up” inside and will see “perfect running weather” outside. Then D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and RUN)! You’ll be surprised what a healthy dose of endorphins can do! Fly through fall!