A guide to fall running in PVD


While running can be exhausting, awful, and pretty much the worst thing ever, running in the fall sucks a little bit less. Something about the transforming foliage, sidewalks and trails carpeted with fallen leaves, and cool, crisp weather (at least for now) makes running slightly more bearable. Make the most of your fall run, and stay safe, with these 5 tips:

1. Run where it’s fun

While I normally try not to encourage any sort of escapade into nature (because of dirt, bugs, general discomfort, etc.), the autumnal world is slightly more spectacular. Capitalize on the stunning scenery by running on some of Providence’s beautiful routes. Here are some suggestions:

Prospect Terrace Park and Benefit Street (2.5 miles): Located a couple blocks west from Pembroke, Prospect Park has some stunning views of downtown Providence. For a quick 2.5 mile route, run to the park from campus to stop and stretch, and then go a block down the hill to Benefit St. Lined with trees, historical Benefit St. looks beautiful in the fall, with its colonial houses and churches. Run south down Benefit towards Wickenden St. and then turn around and finish the run along the river. If you’d like, tack on miles by crossing the river and running downtown. Check out a sample route here.

India Point Park (3.10 miles/5k): Work India Point Park into your run to check out how the park’s views of the water look in the fall. For a 5k loop, starting at Faunce, go east on Waterman, turn south on Hope, and run until you hit the park. Run on the trails at the park, and then loop back. Suggested route here.

Blackstone Boulevard (5.5 miles): Part of the Blackstone Parks Conservancy, Blackstone Boulevard is a 1.6 mile, 100-foot wide median between two roads, stretching north towards Lippitt Memorial Park. Flanking the median’s pathway are over 300 trees and shrubs, which look beautiful with their changing colors. For a 5.5 mile out-and-back route, start from the SciLi, run north on Brook towards the Athletic Complex, turn east onto Lloyd, and run until you hit the Boulevard. Run north to Lippitt Memorial Park and back. Sample route here.

For more route ideas, check out mapmyrun.com, walkjogrun.net, and USATF.org.

2. Layer up

Until PVD weather makes its final descent into bitter, bitter cold, the weather can be a bit unpredictable. Adjust for this by wearing light layers that you can peel off or put on if the temperature shifts during your run. As it starts to get colder in November, make sure to throw on some extra layers — long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, and running tights — to bundle up. Alternatively, run naked. Embrace the cold. You do you.

3. Try not to get hit by cars, slip on leaves, get lost in the woods, die, etc. 

Ensure your personal safety by making sure your shoes have good tread for wet, slippery leaves. As the days get shorter, make sure to leave with enough time to get back before it gets dark out. Wear bright or reflective clothes to make sure you are visible to cars, and try to always carry your ID and phone with you.

4. Set a goal

If the colorful foliage isn’t incentive enough, try signing up for a fun race to get you motivated. Here are some upcoming races to check out:

Providence Monster Dash (Sunday, Oct. 26 — Providence): The Monster Dash is a 5k in downtown Providence. Costumes encouraged. The course starts and ends at the river and includes a trip down the RIPTA Thayer bus tunnel! Find more information here.

Run for the Pawz 5k and 1 Mile Walk (Sunday, Nov. 2 — Pawtucket): Run the 5k or do the 1 mile dog walk with your pooch (or steal your professor’s dog for the day) to support the Pawtucket Animal Shelter. Prizes to top finishers, including the “Top Overall Dog and Dog Owner” pair. Register here.

Rhode Island 6-Hour Ultramarathon (Sunday, Nov. 9 — Warwick): See how many times you can run a 2.7 mile loop in 6-hours. This is a real thing. The race record was set in 2009 by Ben Nephew, with 51.323 miles logged. Don’t actually do this race, unless you’re crazy and/or don’t love yourself. Info here.

Family Turkey Trot 5k (Thursday Nov. 27 — Pawtucket): If you’re on campus for Thanksgiving, run the Turkey Trot with friends through historical Pawtucket, starting and ending at City Hall. Register here.

5. Treat. Yo. Self.

Now that you’ve tricked yourself into going on a run, treat yourself to a delicious reward (Haha. I’m very clever. Get it? It’s almost Halloween…?). Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider from one of PVD’s many coffee shops. Eat pie, caramel apples, pumpkin bread —  all the fall foods. You’ve earned it! …Then go out and run again to burn off those unneeded calories.

Run happy, Brunonia!

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