Fall Thoughts by Mikael Hanson
What was the first clue that the seasons had changed? How about getting up at 5:30am to find not only a slight chill in the air, but complete and utter darkness - the tell tale sign that the racing season is drawing to a close. But what if I am not quite ready to call it a season? What if my thirst for competition has not yet been satiated? As many of us are close to hanging up the gear for the season, why not put that fitness base to good use before going into hibernation! The cool fall temperatures are ideal for the avid cyclist to make the jump to cyclo-cross and for the Triathlete, why not skip a few pool sessions (plenty of time for that in December) in favor of a little extra running and in that regard, some fall running PRs (fuel for the ego to get you through a long winter)!
While taking time off after the any racing season is always a must (see my piece 'With much regret, another season draws to a close'), I tend to put that drastic act off for at least one more month and use October and early November to get in a few local running races (and New York's central park seems to host one almost every weekend come fall) or simply enjoy the Fall foliage while cycling without worrying about how many watts I am putting out.
Even for us non-Fall marathoners, October's cooler weather is perfect for some fast and fun running as the three-sport pressure is off and for that matter the need for twice a day workouts. Once the end of September lumbers around, take a moment to think about your previous nine months of work. If you are like me, over the past nine months you've biked, swam, and run what might account for a virtual Tour de France course, so why not put that fitness base to good use. For as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to Fall running races with as much excitement as the triathlon season itself and can proudly boast setting a personal record (PR) at some distance every year for the past decade!
Use the excellent running weather to explore a few places you might not have had the time to visit during the triathlon season. In the New York area that might include running (and not biking) the River Road located on the west side of the George Washington Bridge or the Palisades trail that runs along the bluffs above it. Take a trip to Rockefeller State park, or even a bit further, explore the miles of trails in Mohonk Preserve or Minewaska State Park (both near New Paltz, NY).
Slip into cruise control this fall and have fun at a local 5 or 10K running race! Ill bet your time just might surprise you. Then enjoy your time off! - Mikael