As the days get colder and darker and wetter, it can be hard to stay motivated to get out there and keep running. Not to mention worries about staying visible and slipping on wet leaves and mud, there's no doubt autumn can be a tricky time of year.
So if you don't want to retreat to the treadmill, this is everything you need to know about staying warm and dry, and outside this autumn.
Look for trainers with a GORE-Tex upper; many brands release waterproof versions of their most popular running shoes around autumn and winter.
Make sure your running shoes are made from breathable fabrics, with mesh vents on the upper to boost airflow to allow any moisture to escape your shoes, reducing your risk of blisters as well as wet, soggy feet.
Well-fitting rainers will go a long way to preventing blisters, so make sure you choose the best running shoes for you. Get your free gait analysis at your local Runners Need store. Using video technology to analyse how your feet respond to every step, our expert fitters can assess your biomechanics and running style to ensure you're running in the perfect trainers.
If you're running on trails, ensure you're wearing a proper trail running shoe rather than a road running shoe. Trail shoes are usually constructed from a no-sew, sock like, full piece upper to help protect your foot. They're also specially designed with deeper lugs and a more aggressive tread pattern to grip rugged terrain giving you more stability on slippery surfaces. They're also made from tougher stuff with hidden plates and toe protectors to help protect your feet from bruising from rocks and roots.
This is one of our most frequently asked questions in autumn and winter and if you want to keep your trainers in good nick the answer is no. Putting your running machine through the washing machine can damage the foam that makes up the midsole, reducing its cushioning effect.
Instead, to safely clean your running shoes:
- If possible, remove the insole and laces, clean in a bowl of lukewarm water with a dash of laudry detergent to remove sweat and dirt.
- Use a light scrubbing brush or old toothbrush to lightly remove dirt and grit from your running shoes.
- Soak your shoes in a bowl of lukewarm water for 5-10 minutes with a dash of laundry detergent.
- Once soaked, gently brush off the mud and dirt before rinsing well in cold water.
- Shake off any excess water before tight stuff your shoes with balled newspaper. This will soak up the remaining moisture.
- Allow around 12-24 hours for your shoes to dry naturally Place them around 2 metres from a radiator but not directly on a heat source as this can shrink and warp your trainer.
One of the easiest mistakes to make when running in autumn is wearing too much. Although it's tempting to wrap up warm as you head out the door into the crisp air by mile 1 you'll probably be overheating.
The key to staying dry and comfortable, whatever the weather, is layering.
Layering the right fabrics will keep the moisture continually moving away from your body, keeping you the perfect temperature. Always select sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and breathable gear to help keep you cool and running comfortably. Look for mesh ventilation panels for airflow and seamless construction to avoid nasty rubbing. The ultimate benefit to layers is that if you start to feel uncomfortably hot you can easily remove a layer and tie it around your waist.
Steer clear of anything cotton; not only does it trap the heat but it soaks up sweat keeping the moisture against your skin increasing your chance of chafing.
- TOPS - Base layers and mid-layers make up your two main top layers giving you great versatility whatever the weather.
- On warm but dry autumn days wear only a base layer or mud-layer. For those lighter but wet days easily team a base layer with a light running jacket to stay cool and dry.
As it gets colder add a mid-layer over your base layer for ultimate warmth and performance, adding your jacket on cold and wet days.
- BASE LAYERS - As the layer that sits closest to your skin your base layer should be seamless and free from buttons, zips, and pockets to keep it snug against your body. This sweat-wicking layer can be a vest, t-shirt, or long sleeve depending on your preference.
- Look for breathable fabrics with antibacterial properties like merino wool for long wearing.
- MID LAYERS - This layer is designed to keep you warm while continuing to keep the moisture moving away from your body.
- A good mid-layer won't make you hot, so look for mesh panels and features such as half zips to give you more temperature control.
- Your jacket needs to keep the rain and wind out so look for waterproof and windproof running jackets. Features like taped seams and reflectivity are essential.
- A good waterproof running jacket will still be sweat-wicking and have ventilation to keep it breathable.
- Your underwear on a rainy day can make all the difference, and we're not just talking bras, this goes for men too.
- Avoid cotton to reduce your risk of chafing and an uncomfortable run.
- Ladies, when choosing your perfect sports bra always look for a sweat-wicking and breathable germent to keep you cool and dry.
- Autumn can still be shorts weather unless you tend to get very cold. If you're worried about thigh chafing, go for a 2-in-1 short with a tight inner short and a looser layer over the top for extra coverage.
- For leggings choose lightweight or thinner fabrics, it's unlikely you'll need thermal just yet, despite what it might feel like as you step out the door.
- On the colder days it's easy for your fingers to get cold. Try light running gloves to keep the elements out and the warmth in
- A hat is a great way to keep your ears warm as i gets cooler. Go for technical fabrics like fleece to ensure your hat is sweat-wicking and breathable.
- If you're worried about overheating, try a headband instead to keep your ears warm while still allowing the heat to escape your head.
- If you're running in poorly lit areas at night such as out on trails or through parks, consider a lightweight running head torch to not only safely see the route ahead but be seen by other road and trail users.
- A bit odd amongst the warm hats and head torches but if you're out running on a warm autumn day it's easy to forget that the same UV rays can still damage your skin. Ensure your sun cream or sun block protects against UVA and UVB rays as well as a high SPF.
- It also needs to be waterproof, and ideally windproof. Sweating off your sun cream is not only likely to give you stinging and watering eyes but it doesn't do your skin much good. Sport sunscreens usually contain zinc oxide to provide extra protection regardless of how much you sweat.
- Don't forget to apply it to your lips too.
- Like your sun cream your sunglasses need UV protection. Go for sunglasses with grip on the nose to ensure they don't slide down your face.
- Staying hydrated is vital, especially if you're heading out on a long run.
- From handheld water bottles to hydration belts that sit comfortably around your waist to hydration bladders there's no excuse for not taking water with you.All ergonomically designed these products are perfect whatever your distance.
- To help maintain proper hydration and balanced electrolyte levels during, and after your run, drinking diluted sports drinks or using hydration tablets will provide your body with the best combination of electrolyte replacement and rehydration to stay cool, and run easy.
- If you run with your phone or with music, ensure your media band or pouch is waterproof (and sweatproof). There's nothing worse than a water logged phone after a long run in the rain.
DON'T FORGET - As the days get shorter it's important to stay visible to stay safe. High visibility is a must whether it's reflective detail on your jacket and shoes or reflective bibs and strips to flashing LED lights.
Choose the option you're most comfortable to make the most out of your autumn run.