16 Nov

Autumn Joys

\"Calder

Nights are drawing in aren\'t they? It\'s an observation most of us have probably heard in recent weeks. It\'s rarely done with a smile either. People are saying that this is not a good thing - it\'s getting colder, it\'s getting darker. I can understand their position entirely, but as a runner I see it from a totally different vantage point.

Autumn is a superb season for running. The cool temperatures mean fresh, invigorating conditions to run in, with far less chance of over-heating or suffering from dehydration. The weather is not as well appreciated by non-runners, which is why the streets are a little scarce in the evenings meaning you can really build some momentum as you pound the pavements.

With black skies and shining street lights and the trees laden with leaves of yellow, red, brown and orange, it provides a stunning and atmospheric backdrop to the evening run.

Away from urban areas, it is also a fantastic time to take in some off-road running. Trails, pathways and country tracks are not baked solid by the summer sun, nor are they treacherous from the winter ice and snow. They are in that lovely in-between phase. If we were race horses, then autumn is the month when the going is good.

It is also when the cross country season launches and offers intense and competitive club races throughout the UK. It\'s a chance to get down and dirty with the true grass roots of the sport. Cross country offers a superb work out and builds the cornerstone of training for many a mighty marathon runner.

Should you find yourself in PB shape next spring, then your off-road efforts this autumn could well be the launchpad for your success. So when you next hear that dreaded phrase \'nights are drawing in\', don\'t fall into the trap of feeling pessimistic about the onset of winter. Embrace this season, the possibilities are enormous.