Prep your body for the fall running season


Man stretching outdoors before run

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There’s nothing like running in the fall: the cool air on your face, the foliage crunching under your sneakers and loads of races. If you’re a beginner, a seasonal runner or someone coming back to running post-injury, be sure to prep your body so you get maximum results from your run while minimizing the chance of hurting yourself.

Build your running body

If you exercise regularly, you can begin running but slowly. A run/walk program, where you alternate running for an interval and walking for an interval, is great for gradually building up your running legs. Here's an example plan by Active.com:

Week 1: Run 2 min, walk 3 min; repeat 6 times

Week 2: Run 3 min, walk 3 min; repeat 5 times

Week 3: Run 5 min, walk 2 min; repeat 4 times

Week 4: Run 7 min, walk 3 min; repeat 3 times

Week 5: Run 8 min, walk 2 min; repeat 3 times

Week 6: Run 9 min, walk 1 min; repeat 3 times

Week 7: Run 30 minutes

Once you've reached 30 minutes of running, add intervals into the mix to build up endurance and speed. Don't forget to stretch after a run and if possible, do some yoga on your off days to increase your mobility.

Want to learn everything you can about becoming a well-rounded runner? Read “Build Your Running Body” by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz and Melissa Breyer. It is one of the most thorough books about running and is a must-read for runners of all levels. Even Bob Anderson, founder of Runner’s World magazine, praised it: “This is so good. Honestly, I think this is the best running book ever.”

Pick it up and you’ll find over 150 workouts of all kinds — including weightlifting and cross-training to resistance work and plyometrics, that can be tailored to runners of all skill levels — for every element of a well-rounded running body, which includes muscles, connective tissue, cardiovascular fitness, energy production, the nervous system, hormones and the brain.

Sound a bit geeky? It is. But the book is written in an easy-to-read style with photos, training programs, charts and tables galore. Interviews with leading runners and coaches gives you get first-hand training insight. And over 30 recipes will help keep your running body properly fueled.