By Alex H.
Fall is the best time to run. This is obviously just an opinion, but it is an opinion I will fight tooth and nail to defend. Early spring is a close second, but nothing can compare to the time of year when leaves start falling, the air is crisp but not cold, and heat and humidity slowly fade away like a weight lifted off your shoulders (or chest, really). It is no coincidence that fall also happens to be the biggest marathon season.
Once the summer heat breaks, runners of all ages and experiences trade in their speed intervals and summer track spikes for their soft and forgiving long run shoes to log the fall miles. Whether your goal is to finish your first marathon, qualify for Boston, make the Olympic trials, or anywhere in between, there are a slew of options to choose from to relieve the marathon itch.
Taking place in October, The Chicago Marathon is a flat and fast destination race that will have you lining up with some of the fastest professionals in the world. A bit closer to home, the New York City Marathon is world famous for its beautiful course around the bustling streets of NYC, and the prestigious Philadelphia Marathon in our own backyard is an increasingly popular and exciting event in late November just before Thanksgiving. I have never ran the Philadelphia marathon, but I’ve run the half, and having a Thanksgiving meal to eat the week after Philadelphia marathon weekend is something great to look forward to! The list of big fall marathons continues into December, when the US Championships take place in California at the California International Marathon. Temperatures average 42 degrees with little to no wind on this point to point course from Folsom to Sacramento. Some of you reading this might think that 42 is a bit chilly to run. I personally have run 3 marathons, and the most enjoyable by a long shot was the Houston Marathon where temperatures were in the upper 30s!
The magic of the marathon is something that I could never truly grasp until I ran one for myself. Just like leaves and snowflakes, no two marathons are alike. They offer big time amenities, small town feels, and everything in between. My best advice would be to get on a training plan at the end of the summer and enjoy the fall season to train and race! Possibly the best part of training and racing for a fall marathon is that when you finish up, the holiday season is right around the corner, and it is time to relax and recover from hard months of training with family, friends, and food. Good luck during your fall marathon build-ups and races, everyone!
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