The last full week of August is here, and although the first official day of Autumn is still nearly a month away, the oppressive, steamy days of summer are, for the most part, behind us.
Mornings will begin to cool, humidity will dissipate, and cool breezes will make for faster, more pleasant miles.
Get ready, because the next couple of months offer the best days to train and race.
If you have maintained your fitness level throughout the lazy, hazy days of summer, now is the time to launch your fall training.
Remember to pay attention to the two most essential components of your training regimen: speed work and long runs. I address both in my book, Personal Best, www.muldowneyrunning.com, in the chapter entitled 'Super Sevens,' and throughout my personal training programs on Fiverr, www.fiverr.com, within my Running Shorts gigs.
I have always preferred to conduct my speed workouts during the middle of the week; while I prefer to complete my long runs on the weekends.
There are many races to choose from these days, but try to resist the temptation to overrace. Select your races carefully. When you do, you won't kick yourself, or wear down your fellow competitors with the worn out phrase, "I would have run faster today, but I ran a 15-miler on Tuesday." Do yourself and everyone else a favor and run your long run on Sunday, then go out with fresh legs and run a race TWO weeks later.
Similarly, give yourself at least three days after your speed work before you race. Do your speed work no later than Wednesday if you're racing on Saturday.
Map out your fall races now. If you plan to run a marathon in November, find a half marathon to run as a barometer of your fitness level.
I believe that our best running days lie ahead of us. That is particularly true as we enter this glorious running season.