Tips for Fall Running in New England
Well, yesterday was the first morning since early June that I needed a light jacket for an early run. This, and the kids back in school, has me officially in fall running mode. Autumn is a great time for running on this area. The weather is cooler, the air crisper, and the canopy starts looking a little different every day.
The biggest frustration for fall running is diminishing daylight. For those wanting to get an early run in before heading off to work, the sun is rising a little after 6am these days. It’ll be an hour later by the time we turn the clocks back on November 4. On the back end, try to pick a few Indian summer days to skip out of work a little early, in order to squeeze a quick jaunt in before sunset.
With the cooler weather, you also have to start thinking about clothing. My personal rule of thumb is shorts as long as the temperature is above 60°. Every person has preferences and comfort tolerances, but I generally start wearing longs below 60°, and below 40° two layers/heavier longs, running gloves and something to cover the ears. The other thing to be thinking about is visibility. A lot of fall running occurs in the dark or low light. The folks at Marathon Sports have a couple of terrific new items for running in the dark: The Nightlife series from Brooks and the ViziPro series from Saucony. Fortunately in Brookline, most streets are lit and there are sidewalks, so it’s much safer running here at night than it is in the ‘burbs.
As the leaves start to turn, it’s also time to start thinking about some of the best places to enjoy the changing canopy. The Emerald Necklace is especially lovely from mid-October to mid-November. The trees in the Chestnut Hill area are also particularly magnificent. My favorite tree in all of Brookline is the gorgeous copper beech at the corner of Gatehouse Rd. and Essex Rd. Another spot in Brookline to appreciate the trees is the Longwood Mall, which bisects Chatham St. and Beech Rd. A hidden gem is Corey St., heading north off the VFW Parkway. You’ll run up a pretty substantial hill, bisecting two cemeteries, but the combination of trees/sun/elevation, when the leaves are at their full color, will make you think you’re in Vermont.
Finally, if you want to head a little further afield, my top three recommendations for a gorgeous autumn run are: Wellesley College, especially the loop around Lake Waban; Monument St., Concord; and the “Battle Road Trail”, part of the National Historic Park, between Lexington and Concord (the trail, not Rt. 2A). All of these routes are featured in my book, Great Runs in Boston’s Burbs.
Mark Lowenstein is an avid recreational runner, having logged thousands of miles across dozens of Massachusetts communities over the past 25 years. He lives in Brookline with his wife and two children. His book “Great Runs in Brookline and Vicinity” can be purchased here.