Fall is here, and we鈥檙e welcoming cooler weather by wearing those fashionable fall buys and whipping up our fave fall soup recipes. But while it鈥檚 pretty easy to transition your favorite summer clothes to fall, it can be a little trickier to navigate your outdoor cardio in the crisp weather. So we called in Jackie Palmer Merritt, who鈥檚 not only a Milestone Sports endurance athlete (she鈥檚 been running ultramarathons since 2010), but holds a PhD in biomechanics and physical therapy, to give us the scoop on how runners can transition from summer to fall workouts without losing a step. We鈥檙e going to trust a woman who鈥檚 run 100 miles in less than 24 hours (bowing down).

woman jogging outside in sunny autumn forest

1. Wear the right clothing. Daylight Savings is back in early November, so morning or evening runners are going to have to make some adjustments. Jackie says, 鈥淩unners will need to wear the right clothing to stay visible to cars, bikers and other people. A good tip is to look for bright and reflective clothing, so that you鈥檙e visible when light is shining on you and when it鈥檚 not.鈥 In addition to finding clothes to help you stay safe, Jackie suggests cutting the cotton out of your existing fall and winter wardrobe, especially on longer runs. She says, 鈥淐otton holds moisture and cold wind will cut right through sweaty material. Moisture-wicking material is the best option for staying warm and comfortable.鈥

2. Bring along a backpack. 鈥淒epending on the length of your run, you鈥檒l need to bring along a few essentials, such as extra clothing, food and water. Yep, water. Don鈥檛 underestimate the amount of hydration you鈥檒l need, especially on longer or hilly runs, because you鈥檒l still be sweating,鈥 notes Jackie. 鈥淟ower humidity and cooler temperatures will cause your sweat to evaporate much more quickly, so you might not realize how much water you鈥檙e actually losing. Bonus: Your backpack can conveniently haul layers of clothes that you shed mid-run.鈥

Friends jogging in autumn outdoor park

3. Find a workout buddy. Honestly, a workout buddy is great any season, but they can be even more crucial to stay dedicated as the weather turns cold. 鈥淚f you鈥檙e just getting into running and trying to stay motivated, grab a friend and agree to go on a run a certain number of days per week together 鈥 even if it鈥檚 only 20-30 minutes,鈥 suggests Jackie. 鈥淵ou鈥檒l hold each other accountable and keep each other motivated on the days when you鈥檇 rather stay in your pajamas.鈥

4. Pay attention to the trail. Sometimes, running can get a little鈥 uh, boring. And while rocking out to your favorite tunes might help pass the time, Jackie advises against it in certain situations. 鈥淎void checking your phone and listening to music while running in the dark, so you can stay alert to your surroundings. While it may be tempting to look at your phone, alertness is key to injury prevention. Broken tree limbs, slippery leaves, potholes and cars can pop up so quickly. Accidents and injuries can be avoided if your full attention is on the path in front of you,鈥 Jackie says.

Two women running in a competition event

5. Sign up for a race. Fall is filled with amazing races (hello, Turkey Trot), and working toward a goal is a really effective way to stick to your running schedule. Jackie agrees, saying, 鈥淚f you can, register for your goal race now, even if it鈥檚 months away. Once you put real money on the line, you鈥檒l have the motivation to get to the gym or out the door. If you鈥檙e training for a marathon or half-marathon, you most likely already signed up. Consider sprinkling in a few 5Ks or 10Ks to add spice and fun to your training routine.鈥

6. Break in some new shoes. New shoes? Don鈥檛 have to tell us twice. 鈥淲hether you鈥檙e a new runner training for your first 5K, or a seasoned runner ramping up miles for a fall marathon, now is the time to start thinking about breaking in some new shoes,鈥 says Jackie. 鈥淚t鈥檚 not a good idea to go into a race of any distance with too-old shoes or brand new shoes, as both can contribute to your risk for injury. Need an easy way to know exactly when you need new shoes? Try a wearable like MilestonePod. This affordable wearable clips right onto your shoes and automatically tracks shoe mileage and rate of impact, two important indicators of shoe life,鈥 she says.

woman runs with her daughter in a jogging stroller during a cool fall afternoon

7. Enjoy the scenery. There鈥檚 a reason we all go crazy at the first PSL sighting and chance to throw on a pair of boots. 鈥淓veryone鈥檚 favorite season is fall for a reason. Along with weather changes, fall brings beautiful scenery, and runners can not only go longer distances in the mild temperature, but can take the time to explore new paths and new destinations. Plan a route that takes you to a new part of town, or if you want a break from harsh winds along the road, get out and check out a new local trail.鈥

What鈥檚 your fave fall running route? Tag us in your pic @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)