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It seems like everyone has a big goal race on the calendar this fall after waiting over a year to get back to racing. But some people don’t (raises hand). Maybe you weren’t able to get signed up with all the deferrals from 2020, weren’t sure if things would be safe enough yet, are recovering from an injury, or just weren’t feeling like racing.
Whatever the reason may be, if you’re feeling left out of the fall racing season, here are some other ways you can enjoy the beautiful fall weather as a runner.
1. Get Away During Your Off Season
Not fretting about a training plan, squeezing in long runs, or curbing alcohol and dessert habits makes the idea of a mini-vacation in the fall much easier. Instead, relish in the fact that you can stay out late, sleep in, and only run if you feel like it.
Consider spending the race fees you would have paid to treat yourself to something nice on your getaway, like a trip to the spa or a nice dinner.
If you usually have a big race on your calendar at the beginning fall go enjoy the changing leaves or other quintessential fall milestones you’re used to missing. Also, September marks the beginning of the “off-season” for most sunny destinations making flights and hotels cheaper than during the summer rush.
2. Volunteer at a Race
Now is the perfect time to give back to the community that has given you so much. It’s also a great way to get in on the action without having to do the training. And you might even make some new friends while you’re at it.
Every runner should be on the other side of the water station at least once in their career. It’s a very uplifting and motivating experience to cheer on the runners from the sidelines, while knowing a thing or two about proper cup hand-off.
3. Offer to Crew for a Friend
You know how stressful race day can be and having someone there to help carry your stuff, manage your car keys, gels, and water can be a huge help on race morning. Be that person!
If you want to really help, study the race route and offer to be at different locations to cheer, have water or fuel or just be that familiar face at mile 20. Sometimes just showing up for a friend on race day goes a long way.
4. Watch a Friend’s Kids or Pet
You may know from experience how hard it is to schedule those long training runs, so take the pressure off by offering to watch your runner friend’s kids or pets for a few hours in the weeks leading up to their race. There are so many stressors in the build up to race day and the simple gesture of offering to help with the kids or dog just may give your running friend the boost they need before the taper.
Go the extra mile and offer to watch them on race day, too. Race day can be long and your hard-working runner friend deserves the opportunity to spend a little time celebrating afterward instead of rushing straight home to pick up her responsibilities right away.
5. Plan Your Next Race
After a fall of watching epic marathons (and those who are taking on some serious back-to-back challenges) or cheering friends and relatives at local races, you will be sure to catch the racing bug. There are plenty of spring races you can start training for, or perhaps you want to try and conquer something completely new like snowshoe racing or even an ultra. The racing world is your oyster and off seasons need not last forever.