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4 Reasons to Love Autumn Running

It's the best time of year for running.

This article first appeared on Women’s Running.

For many runners, autumn is the best season for the sport. And for good reason—from the Goldilocks-perfect temperatures to the spectacular scenery, running feels a little more enjoyable and effortless this time of year. But in case you need a little extra convincing as you mourn the end of summer, here are four more reasons to fall for fall running:

Food fest

From the Labor Day barbecues to the never-ending Christmas cookies, the next few months are a gauntlet of holiday treats. Running is the perfect way to burn off the extra calories (not to mention the holiday stress). And when you are in the mood to indulge, is there any better way to fuel up for a chilly fall run than with a pumpkin spice latte, or to cool down after an Indian summer run than with a pumpkin beer? I think not.

Fun races

Though many runners keep their fall race calendars full of serious events, this is also the time of year for some seriously fun runs. For every holiday there are countless themed races—think: October zombie runs, November turkey trots, and early December Santa/ugly sweater/jingle bell dashes galore. So circle your favorite fall holiday on the calendar and get to work on your training (and your costume).

Free time

If you’re a parent, the end of summer signals the return to school for your kids and the return of (some) free time for you. Of course you’re still busy, but you likely have a little extra room in your schedule once the littles are off learning. If you stay at or work from home, consider starting or ending your run at the bus stop drop-off or pick-up.  Or if you’re in the office workin’ nine to five, take advantage of playdates or after-school activities to sneak in a quick post-work workout. PS: When you make lunches in the morning, feel free to make an extra PB&J for yourself for a delish post-run snack.

Finally, some space

If you felt like running was a bummer in the summer because of all the sunshine-seeking joggers crowding your usual routes, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the extra elbow room you’ll find in autumn. Lots of fair-weather runners head inside during the cooler temps of the fall so there should be enough room for you to swing your arms and stretch your legs to your heart’s content. Fingers crossed none of those summer runners are reading this list and getting any ideas…