Coach Mike Mead

November 2014

Fall Running

The month of November brings some changes in the life of a runner here in Georgia and the South. From falling leaves and temperatures to decreasing daylight, runners have to adjust to how they run and when they run.

What is nice about running this time of year is that if you can get out to run midday or afternoon, the weather is not going to be dreadfully hot and humid. A runner can feel like they can jump out, get a good run in, and actually enjoy it!

The biggest adjustment to make is running with less daylight. Most runners are creatures of habit and routine. As I have stated many times in this space, I prefer getting my runs done in the morning. In October, I already dealt with less morning light and with the time change early in November I regain a little light for a few weeks while the daylight hours continue to shorten until mid-December.

With less daylight means making several changes. The first change is making myself more visible, depending where I run. If I am going to be out running along roads with no sidewalks, I wear reflective, bright clothing to be seen by those driving vehicles of all shapes and sizes. I also wear some sort of a light that blinks or flashes to get drivers attention, as well as carry a flashlight to brighten the way or counter a driver’s high beams.

One of the dangers of running in the dark is assuming folks driving behind the wheel can see you. Today’s automobile drivers are too distracted while operating vehicles. With cell phones the biggest culprit, drivers are less likely to see you if they have their attention elsewhere.

Another adjustment this time of year may be selecting different running locations. If you are a morning runner, you may need to run along routes with sidewalks so that you are safer. Those who run on trails and running paths, it may be more difficult running in these areas in the morning or evening once the sun disappears.

Running in the dark on trails is one thing, but more hazardous in November is running trails during the day after the peak of fall foliage. In a heavily wooded area will result in piles of leaves that may cover trails and paths that could hide a root, stump, hole, or other potential hazard to the runner not familiar with the local terrain. Run on a leaf-covered trail in the dark and one is just asking for injury!

The other major adjustment a runner makes in November is clothing. October usually brings a shot or two of the first cool weather since April, but November usually brings weather that runners must break out the hats, gloves, and tights.

During the summer months, I have mostly been a minimalist runner; running in as little clothing since it is so hot and humid. November is one of those transitional months. My body does better when the temperature is below 50-degrees and I can wear shirts again that will not irritate body parts! If it is above 50-degrees and I am wearing a shirt, I can have parts of my body rubbed raw.

November is that odd time of year where we get cold temperatures in the morning and pleasant temperatures during the day. Runners just have to dress correctly. The general rule is to overdress because you can always take it off.

So be smart and safe during the transitional month of November. And enjoy your runs!