For many of us, finding time to fit in a run while working all week is a challenge, one way around this is to work running into your everyday life.
The run commute can up your mileage without upping your time restraint plus improves general fitness, energy levels through the day and means fewer cars on the roads.
Now we know not everyone is lucky enough to live within a feasibly runnable distance of their workplace but there are ways round this; get off the bus or train a few stops earlier, park the car a few miles away, lift share part way etc. The opposite problem may be that you work 2 minutes down the road, in this case, take the long way round! And if your run commute is just a bit too far to do twice a day; drive, cycle or bus it in the morning and run home, running back the next morning and bus, bike or drive it home.
The other major barrier that people come up against is, well, how can we put this? The Smell. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a very kind employer who has installed a shower, you’re going to need to deal with the inevitable sweatiness that your morning exertions will bring about. This is where your good friends wet wipes, deodorant and a clean towel come in.
Stash these few essentials at work (though be sure to let the towel dry out before sticking it in your locker and wash it regularly) and you can make a pretty passable impression of a normal human for the next 8 hours at work.
Try to minimise what you need to carry by leaving a few bits of essential clothing at work; then all you have to do is bring a fresh set of underwear and your lunch!
And on the subject of lunch, top tip: delicate sandwiches and scotch eggs do not travel well. If you bring a packed lunch, go for compact, easily wrapped stuff that won’t turn to stuffing in the bottom of your bag. And bring extra food, you will be hungry by 10am, no matter how much porridge you eat so be sure to have a supply of something filling for that inevitable mid-morning hunger. Its also worth carrying a bar or banana for the afternoon to get ready for the run home. Protein shakes and breakfast mixes such as those from Mountain Fuel are a great way of getting extra calories in.
Carrying the few essentials you need is the next challenge. Needless to say your laptop bag or old school bag that you inexplicably still use is probably not quite up to the task. Luckily there are plenty of lightweight vests and packs on the market that will see you through the week and into your long weekend run. Look for something that has enough capacity for clothes, lunch and whatever other bits you need but doesn’t flap around on your back when its emptier. For many, this is the only time they will run with a weighted pack and it can take some getting used to. Make sure the pack you go for is a good fit, with no gaps or pinch spots between your back, shoulders and bag itself.
We have a Vest Buyer’s Guide which has more top tips.
Invest in a good deodorant, wet wipes and a few pack towels. Keep a stash of clothes, food and the deodorant/wet wipes at work.
Take the insoles out of your shoes and leave them somewhere to air, this will reduce the smell and make for a much nicer experience when you slip them on for the run home
Bring extra food. Bananas, cereal bars, porridge or recovery shakes all work well. Save a cereal bar or banana for the afternoon
Don’t bring delicate lunch items. Invest in a banana guard
Drink plenty of water during the day; avoid tea or coffee after lunch (unless you want impromptu stops on the run home)
Invest in a good pack that you can use during the week and at the weekend
If you use Strava (or similar app) and need a little motivation, make your commute a segment and race yourself and others to see how your time improves
Vest or Pack – The Ronhill Commuter Xero 10l has a waterproof pouch for electronics and a separate compartment for smelly kit.
Comfortable shoes – Invest in a decent pair of comfortable shoes that will handle plenty of miles. You’re not racing in these so go for stable and sturdy. Use these for your commute and save your lighter shoes for racing and or training sessions, that way both pairs will last longer.
Several pairs of shorts/leggings and a selection of tops – As with the shoes, you’re looking for workhorse kit that will go the miles. The Ronhill Everyday and Momentum Ranges are great value and functional.
Lots of socks - That's it, lots and lots of socks.
Hi Viz – If you are planning on keeping this up through Autumn and Winter, you will want to be visible (especially if running on road). Go for a few hi-viz or reflective items that will make sure cars and cyclists can see you
Lighting – Even if your route is lit, it’s worth wearing some kind of lighting to improve your visibility to other road users. LED armbands and shoe lights are ideal.
Hat & Gloves – Running in the early morning, even in summer, can be chilly; a pair of gloves and light hat or neck tube, such as the Inov8 Race Gloves and Wrag, take up no space but make a big difference.
Wind or Waterproof Jacket – No one will blame you for not running in on the really wet days but a light jacket will mean the odd bit of wind and drizzle won’t interrupt your run. The Ronhill Jacket range is great value and all have good reflective details.