Confession: I don’t take running very seriously. It’s not even my favorite sport.
It wasn’t always that way. Not too long ago, running was my reason. It was my morning buzz, my afternoon escape, my evening freedom. It kept me sane through a stressful job, gave me friends I otherwise wouldn’t have met, and instilled in me a dedication to exercise based on a love of the sport, rather than a feeling of obligation.
So what happened? In short, I found mountain biking.
These days most of my trail time is spent on a bike—playing, training, and racing. I have other priorities now, but running is still a big part of my life (and not just because of my job). It’s my off-season, my rainy-day training option, my get-out-the-door-and-go workout, my I’m-doing-this-just-for-fun sport.
As far as running goes, Fall is my favorite time of year. The bike racing season is over, so I have more time to run when I want and can actually train a bit for a few short events. Fall is for dashing through streets bursting with autumn colors, taking joy in getting caught in the first rain of the season, and splashing through freshly formed puddles. Fall, for me, is Run Season. Here’s how I’m gearing up this year…
Let me start by saying that I love these shoes, but they are definitely not for everyone. If you prefer a more cushioned trail shoe that will smooth out the ride, these are not the right shoes for you. If, however, you are light on your feet and revel in the feeling of agility and weightlessness as you bound through rocks and trees, the Merrell Trail Gloves provide a feeling of freedom like no other shoe. Ideal for runners who strike the ground lightly with their mid- or forefoot, these shoes have just the right amount of grip to provide that extra traction that you want in a trail shoe. Here in San Luis Obispo, our trails vary from smooth to incredibly rocky, and aside from the gnarliest terrain (where the sharp rocks are numerous and unavoidable), these shoes are my go-to for any day out on the trails.
Running on trails is always my preference, but for easy jogs or limited time, the road serves a purpose for me. Although the ON The Cloud shoes are lightweight and performance-ready, I use them for all of my road runs (and sometimes even when I’m not running). They have a good amount of cushion without sacrificing too much of the responsiveness that I enjoy in more minimalist shoes. And if I can be completely honest, I never realized quite how lazy I was until I got these shoes—those stretchy laces are pretty much the best thing since the invention of the shoe itself. Easy on and off, a good hold, and never an untied shoe (the shoes do come with normal laces should I ever change my mind, but I don’t see that happening any time soon).
Yes, they’re a bit silly looking, but Injinji socks really do help prevent blisters. For years I would only run in Injinjis, and then I decided to buy some cheap athletic socks at a not-to-be-named big-box store. Bad idea. I won’t get too detailed, but we’ll just say that my feet were not looking so good and running was not nearly as fun. These days I’m back to the Injinjis and enjoying a pus-free lifestyle.
I like to keep things pretty light when I’m out on the run, but I love that I can easily stow my phone in the Oiselle Pocket Jogger Capris. The stretchy hold means the phone won’t flop around while I’m running like it would in a jacket or shorts pocket. With the ample storage opportunities, I could be a real packrat if I wanted to. I also love the super-wide waistband on these capris, as well as the panels of reflective material on the sides and back.
I’m a big fan of the standard racerback tank on a hot day, and here on California’s central coast, we still have plenty of hot days in early Fall. The Under Armour Threadbare Run Mesh Tank is a solid go-to with a full mesh back panel and nice relaxed fit. (And as an added bonus, the color-coordination with those ON The Cloud shoes? Spot on.)
The Brooks Dash Hoodie has a casual look but is run-ready, with soft, technical fabric. I love the tall scrunchy neck and hood option; the scuba style means this hood has a slightly tighter fit around the face, so it stays put while running. The relaxed fit and thumbholes give it a comfortable, lounging-around sort of feel, and the small stash pocket at the left wrist is a good place to stow any little essentials (although paired with those pocket jogger capris, I haven’t really had a need for it yet).
I. Love. This. Jacket. First off, it matches my Merrell Trail Gloves perfectly, and as we all know, tasteful color coordination makes you at least 10% faster. Also, this jacket is soft and cozy with a slim, flattering fit. While the weather rarely gets cold enough here to warrant a jacket when running, I’ve found this layer appropriate for any kind of colder-weather activity and I’m looking forward to the cooler, jacket-wearing days of Fall!
Tracie is a former teacher and a lifelong learner who loves exploring. Most at home in the mountains, she enjoys tearing up and down the trails on her mountain bike, and occasionally leaves the wheels at home for a run through the trees. Having recently earned her personal trainer certification, Tracie thrives on helping others reach their athletic goals.