The cooler days of autumn have arrived and this is the time of year I get the most out of my running. Sure, the colder weather has begun to set in and the mornings are increasingly dark before the 7:00 a.m. wake-up call for most of us nine-to-fivers but I find I achieve more during the colder weather than during the warmer days of spring and summer.
The tell-tale dark early mornings as the summer wanes generally elicits groans from most of us, as we usually just want to sleep in, but, trust me, watching that morning sunrise as you are finishing up your morning run in the brisk, cool air is so much better than finishing in the sticky warmth of spring or summer.
I also find the mornings are a little quieter muffled by the fall of rain or fog and by the general reluctance of most folks having to get up early during this time of year to attend to their day. It's peaceful even on the days when the wind is a little fierce and you just want your run to end.
As long as you have the right gear on, you are usually set in terms of handling most kinds of weather this time of year. Even on a budget, you can invest in a few key pieces that will last you for a few seasons and which you can rotate . Having lived in the northern hemisphere for some years, I have a couple of pairs of cold weather leggings, long sleeve tops, rain and snow jackets, running gloves, beanies galore, and a running light (which is soon to be replaced by the awesome looking NITERunner XT running belt with alarm rear LED once it arrives! I will post a separate review once it gets dark enough for me to use).
From personal experience, I don't like the magnetic clip on lights very much as they don't give out enough light during the darkest winter mornings for you to see with and they have a bad habit of falling off mid-stride. I contemplated using a head light but I wasn't sure how they would fit under or over my beanie but I may give them a go at some point.
The cooler, darker weather also means the absence of flies and other insects. I never really thought about the summer flies very much until I had friends and family from northern hemisphere countries complain about how persistent Aussie flies are! I think I'm probably just used to them buzzing around my face - it's the mosquitoes I have more of an issue with.
Autumn and winter in Australia are also the pleasant running months before the onset of magpie breeding season in early spring. For those of you who aren't familiar with this native Australian bird, you are now forewarned if you ever happen to come into the territory of a breeding pair at the wrong time of year. Although magpies are lovely birds and are protected native species don't think about crossing one or avoid them altogether if you can. They are quite intelligent, are long-lived, and are reputed to remember which interlopers they have encountered before. I have been dive-bombed by two different male birds on separate occasions and gave up entirely on a couple of my favourite running routes until the breeding season was over last year. Of course I could have used a treadmill during breeding season but treadmills are just not my choice of running surface at any time.
Invest in cold weather gear, get a running light, and enjoy the cooler weather - happy running to all of you!