Autumn in New England is arguably one of the best times to be a runner. Cool air that longs for deep inhalations and satisfies a person to the stomach; forgiving sunlight that turns you and the world golden; the raw smell of dirt and grass escaping from the earth; and, of course, the palette of colors of the leaves journeying from the trees to the ground. While the season of apples and pumpkin brings nostalgia for some, the changing of seasons also means the changing of weather — and that cool air mixed with strong sun can make dressing for a run complicated.
So what’s a runner to do when it feels like the early stages of winter in the morning, a midsummer’s day in the afternoon, and back to a wintry feel once the sun goes down? The key is perspective. While a 45-degree morning or evening sounds brutally cold compared to the heat wave we’ve experienced this summer, remember, while running, cooler temperatures are more favorable, and you’ll warm up quicker than you think. When dressing for a run, the golden rule is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer out than it actually is; so, if it’s 45 degrees, dress as you would if it were 65 degrees.
Another key to fall running is not to overdress. The sun is still strong, and the temperature can still creep up into the 70s, especially if you’re heading out mid-day. Don’t store away all your summer gear just yet — you will likely want to throw on shorts and a tank top at least a few days a week until November.
Mixing and matching is another great way to ensure you’ll stay warm enough in the cooler temps without overheating, since we’re not in winter just yet. Keeping your core warm is the priority in fall, so you’ll want to have some long-sleeves and perhaps a light jacket or vest in the mix. However, don’t be afraid to continue to wear shorts, even in the 40-50 degree range! Tights work great when the weather drops to the 30’s and below freezing, but for early fall running, there’s no need to pack away your shorts yet. You may find pants would cause you to overheat, so try out the long-sleeve and shorts combination to reap all the benefits of the crisp air and warm sun.
The autumn leaves aren’t the only things out there with great color! If your fall wardrobe is looking sparse, there are plenty of new long-sleeved shirts and jackets that fit perfectly with a fall palette — and that will keep you warm without being too heavy. There is the Saucony Overlook Long Sleeve, a casual top that will wick away moisture and keep you dry while being great for performances of all kind; and the Brooks Dash Half-Zip, which is designed to keep you warm while still being breathable and is made from recycled polyester for a reduced environmental impact. For later in the fall, you could try to layer a tank top or T-shirt with a light jacket. Check out the new Patagonia Houdini jacket for a light-weight, durable option.
Fall can be a tricky season to dress for, but the running is definitely a treat! Take advantage of the crisp air, warm sun, and beautiful scenery by following our fall dressing guide and getting out for some miles.
Author: Jordan L. Silva, 9.21.2020