The extreme summer heat has finally abated, and let's all say hello to fall! If summer humidity kept you on the treadmill for the last few months, now is the time to switch it up. Fall, with its crisp and breezy temperatures, is the ideal season to log your miles outside.
Taking your miles at a steady pace is a great way to get your run done, but there are ample opportunities to increase your heart rate and mix up your outdoor routine. By adding variety, you’ll physically get more out of your time outside, toning different muscles and increasing your calorie burn. Check out these simple ways to enhance your outdoor running routine to stay motivated and moving this fall.
Create Boot Camp Moments
Monkey bars may have seemed easy as a kid, but try them now and you’ll be in for a rude awakening. As you pass by parks and playgrounds, think of how the setup can be re-imagined as fitness equipment. Use benches for incline pushups, dips and step ups and monkey bars for pull-ups. Even without park equipment you can create a boot camp experience on-the-go. To prepare, before your run create a plan. For example, you can plan to run three miles and after every half mile, stop to do 25 squats, 20 lunges, and 10 burpees before you continue on your route. Get creative and have fun with it!
Introduce Interval Training
If you want to increase your speed and build endurance and strength, interval training is a must. This can include adding quick bursts of speed or hill climbs to increase your heart rate. On your route, if you come across a challenging hill, instead of running up it once and moving on, do hill repeats. Interrupting your normal pace and tackling intense inclines will keep things interesting as it motivates you to work harder. An added bonus, it will also burn more calories than maintaining a steady pace for your entire run.
The Real Deal Stair Master
Instead of logging time on your gym’s stair master, find stairs outside! Take a break from your steady miles and run up and down sets of stairs multiple times. This will give you a much-needed break from a perhaps otherwise monotonous course, and will give extra attention to toning your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves.
Explore a New Route
While perhaps not the most efficient way to get your workout done, sometimes it's worth going out of your way. Instead of trudging along the same route day in and day out, jump in your car (or on the metro) and get out of your neighborhood. Do research on the route to ensure it's safe and if you aren't 100% confident, bring a running buddy with you and always carry your cell phone and ID. Extend your exploration and end your run at a local coffee shop or restaurant to get a full experience of the area. Want to become a tourist for a day? Get up early and run around the mall and monuments before the crowds take over. As Washingtonians, maybe you’ve been overlooking some of the city’s most inspiring and interesting running routes.
First, it was the summer heat, and next it will be the frigid winter that may keep you indoors; make sure to take advantage of the perfect running weather while you can!