09/29/2017 15:24 EDT | Updated 09/29/2017 15:24 EDT

Fall's The Perfect Time To Start Your New Running Routine

Fall has arrived which means getting back to familiar routines many of us deviate from during summer. The onset of autumn signifies back to school, back to work, and for some it's back to an exercise program or at least set about starting one. Some will psyche themselves out at the very notion of deliberately causing heavy breathing, while sweating profusely, with all of your moving parts begging for mercy. It can therefore be a challenge to get out the door and embark on a new running program.

What you may have forgotten is that running in these cooler temperatures can be exhilarating. And your sleek, healthy body will show you the love and be forever grateful.

Nico De Pasquale Photography via Getty Images

What's it going to take to motivate you to run outdoors for three or four days a week? Simply think about how good you are going to feel afterwards. Getting inside your warm home, making a cup of hot chocolate and enjoying a warm bath afterwards can be a pretty powerful incentive, not to mention a well-earned reward for job well done.

Running in the fall also marks cross country season. It can be a good time to start a running program or improve your strength and your core. Cross country is fun but challenging while encompassing different terrain, and sometimes muddy conditions. Also, cross country racing is less intimating, inexpensive and a great motivator to get your running back on track. It's also a great way to meet people that will always be interested in your story and what makes you tick as a runner.

The fall season is a great time for setting new goals and trying out cross country or trail running. If you are not sure which events are offered in your area you can visit your local running store for more information.

Here are my top five tips to get you started:

1. Invest in appropriate fall clothing. Wear reflective gear, headlamp, and sweat wicking clothing. Keep your head warm by wearing a toque or ball cap. Also, invest in a pair of trail shoes that offer support if you are going to try cross country or trail running.

2. Mix your routes up to keep the sport fresh. Running a shorter route followed by a longer route, or running on flat terrain followed by a challenging, hilly course is good for your body and your mind.

3. Carry ID with you, and watch for cars or traffic when crossing streets.

4. A fun time to be social — meet new friends by participating in some new cross country races.

5. Stay motivated by running with a friend each week or with a running club in your area. Record your workouts for later reference.

Some last key points: Stay hydrated even when it's cold outside. Proper eating habits will pay dividends throughout your life. Don't forget to stretch all of your muscle groups for at least 30 seconds each afterwards. Wear sunscreen even when there is no burning sun at this time for total protection of your skin.

Lastly, if it's too cold, take your stretching indoors. Fall can be a wonderful time to start running and for the seasoned runner it is about getting your regular healthy dose of mental and physical well-being, for goodness sake!