Few things say “fall” like the crunch of leaves underfoot as you run along a trail. This year, if you’d like a fitter autumn, lace up your sneakers and hit the road. Whether you’re ready to take on a race or just want to enjoy some fresh air and exercise, these resources will help you get moving:
Off to a Good Start
Couch potato? Total newbie? The Couch to 5K program may be right for you. The multi-week plan tells you exactly how fast and how far to run each day (there’s an app to coach you through it, too).
Tracking and Timing
You don’t need a fancy watch or device to help you from start to finish?there are many excellent apps that you can load onto your iOS or Android phone and take with you on the road or trail. Most use your phone’s GPS to track your route progress, and some calculate splits, offer online challenges, and even give family and friends a way to check your progress (helpful if you’re running long distances in unfamiliar settings).
Follow the Beat
Some prefer to run with just the sounds of nature for background, but many enjoy the motivation of a good, pumping rhythm to keep their pace on track. PaceDJ provides playlists appropriate for different running styles?and there are apps, too. If you want to do it yourself, the RunHundred database http://www.runhundred.com/sort-by-tempo/ allows you to search for songs by BPM to build your own playlist.
There’s no better motivator than time pressure, so sign up for a local 5K (or a longer race, if you dare!). This site allows you to search for Canadian running events in your area. (US readers, check out this site http://www.runnersworld.com/race-finder.)