Just because the summer has come to an end doesn’t mean your running has to. At Dirty Runners they love autumn and winter running, mainly for the mud we think. 

To help get you out the door in the darker months, here are some great tips from Dirty Runners Ry Webb and Laura Murphy.

Before you go anywhere make sure you have the right kit

Temperatures start to drop but can vary even within a short run.  Mornings and evenings are cooler but the days, especially if that lovely sun comes out to play, can still be warm. 

Remember it may feel cold when you’re in the toasty house or car but once you get that body temperature up 10 mins into your run you’ll feel warm.  As we always say, dress for mile two. 

Make sure you wear layers in breathable, sweat-wicking material.  If it’s particularly chilly you can wear gloves/buffs/beanie but don’t overdo it.  Autumn can also be wet however rain doesn’t have to stop play. 

Get your hands on a good wind and waterproof jacket, and we mean good – spend the money, it will be worth it!  Also think about your shoes.  With rain comes slippery ground and if you don’t want a bruised coccyx then make sure you’ve got some traction on those soles.  

Ry, suitably dressed for mile two, was alarmed to find a beam of light following him on the trail. Photo: Exposure Lights

Seeing helps

With Autumn comes more running in the dark but don’t let this put you off. Get yourself a good headtorch; an essential piece of kit we also think is worth spending the money on. 

We both wear Exposure Lights headtorches and are associated with them but that’s because we think they’re ace (and believe us, we’ve put them through a lot of testing).

Some people think a lightweight head torch is a good idea if you’re trying to run fast, but if you can’t see the floor ahead of you it doesn’t matter that your head is unburdened. Look for good lumens and good battery life, because running out of juice on a dark, muddy trail means a slow walk home.

This is the time to be an exhibitionist – YOU NEED TO BE SEEN!

Some people have drawers full of neon and high vis run wear, others just don’t (potentially linked to background in underground raves? – Ed.)

This is the time to seriously think about how visible you are when you’re running but it doesn’t mean you have to go buying new gear.

Check out what reflective strips/spots your clothing, shoes, packs etc have.  Consider getting high vis/reflective accessories, such as snap bands and vests, you can wear over your existing kit. 

We have small Velcro lights which easily attach to your kit and come pretty cheap (although we would argue your life is worth the cost hey!).  Your headtorch will also help you be seen and some even come with a red backlight which will help make you more visible.

Even snowy conditions shouldn’t stop you getting on the trails with the right kit. Photo: Dirty Runners

Get out on the trails

Whether you’re already a trail runner or want to try it out, Autumn is a great time to run trails.  Just look, listen and take a whiff.  The light and colours transforming, the trees moving in the wind, the leaves rustling under foot, the smells changing.

Stop for a minute and take it all in, though not too long or you may freeze your arse off!  

The road less travelled, into the mud and dirt, can open up a whole new adventure in your local area. Add to this the softer impact, extra work on unstable and sticky ground and some hills and it’s a really good winter addition to training. We think trails are fantastic all year round though.

Appreciate the changing light

Autumn may mean shorter days but that also means you also don’t have to get up so early to see that sunrise or be out so late to see the sunset.  If you are out in the dark check out the moon and if you’re on the trails you’ll have less light pollution so the stars should shine bright.

You got that extra hour of sleep back in October too so you should be well rested for an autumn and winter full of action. No excuses.

Being prepared for that darker evening run, with a good head torch, bright kit and maybe even a friend to meet (just the one under current guidelines) means you’re more likely to get out for that run too.

The sign of a good trail run.


So we all struggle at times with the thought of going out for a run and will try find any excuse…the weather being too weathery, the darkness being too dark, the leg/hip/knee/little toe playing up blah blah blah. 

We can be the same especially when we’re tired or hungry.  You also all know we’ll feel better once we’re out and who doesn’t love that post run high?

Arrange to run with others…we know COVID has put a bit of a kibosh on socialising and things continue to change however if and when you can, make the most of running with others.  If you’re on your own, try out a new playlist or podcast (we recommend only using one headphone though especially if you’re running near roads etc).

If it’s cold, just think about the hot meal/drink/shower you can have when you get back, or even better, bed!

For longer term motivation, book a race, a dirty weekend away or set a challenge to train for.  Tell other people or even better, get yourself a coach to make yourself accountable.  Cooler temperatures can be perfect for trying for that PB the summer heat stole from you.

And don’t forget, moving and getting outside can help with mood and motivation in general.

Happy Autumn Running you lovely people…get out and get dirty!

Dirty Runners x

Dirty Runners is run by Ry Webb and Laura Murphy. They offer run coaching, guided runs and dirty weekends in the woods of the Surrey Hills. For more information or to get in contact, see their website here.