Sunday, September 8, 2013


In most parts of the country, September is, arguably, the greatest month for training.

The summer heat is fading, mornings are cool, and the "air you can wear" humidity is all but gone. On many days, you break a sweat while you run, only to be cooled by sunny, breezy, light air as you finish.

Races abound in September. This weekend, in my region of north-central Pennsylvania, one had a choice of seven races, distances from 5K to a marathon, within an hour or so from home.

September is a terrific time to dig into some quality marathon training for races that will be held in October and November. The weather conditions are usually ideal for long training runs, and those middle-of-the-week track workouts seem to become easier without gale force winter or early spring winds, or boiling summer heat.

Then there's the phenomenon of acclimatization. A 75 to 80 degree day in April may seem oppressively warm. Not so in September. The body has acclimatized itself to the soupy summer heat, so that when it's in the 70s or 80s in September, it feels quite pleasant.

The days are shorter, but not too short, and that extra darkness robs the air of thermal heat, keeping the morning
air cooler for longer.

Here in the northeast, the annual explosion of fall colors is about to begin. Part of a runner's DNA is a heightened appreciation of nature, so running on a mountain trail, where you may cross paths with a deer, surrounded by a backdrop of stunning fall foliage is an extra bonus enjoyed by those of us fortunate enough to participate in this sport.

Most of our us will stick with a wardrobe of shorts, and a mix of singlets, short-sleeved and long sleeved shirts for the next several weeks. The time for layering has not yet descended upon us.

So, enjoy this delightful time of the year. Take in those long runs, and take in the scenery. Enjoy the bright, not so strong September sun, and the daylight hours as they wane away.

Enjoy them to the max, as the cold, damp, brown and gray period of darkness will be here before we know it.