Running your commute can be a really useful way of getting some miles in if you’re training for a race, or just as a way of either setting yourself up for the day or winding down from work. It’s time you have to spend travelling anyway so it also means that it’s a pretty time efficient way of exercising during the working week. However, there a couple of pitfalls to avoid to make sure it’s a seamless commute rather than a total hassle. All of the below have happened to me so if you can, learn from my mistakes and always make sure you have…
Your Route – this seems obvious but I have taken countless wrong turnings whilst run-commuting, not to mention under or overestimated the time it takes to get from A to B. This is especially important if you’re running to work in the morning, as the last thing you want is to be late, sweaty and stressed.
If in doubt I always use Map my Run’s route planner so I know my route and the mileage so I can allow enough time. I’d also allow yourself a more generous pace time when working out what time you set off, to allow for pedestrians, traffic lights, and other urban obstacles.
A Good Backpack that is designed for running – this means one that minimises bounce through chest straps and is properly padded and supported on your shoulders. I use this one from OMM and I love it.
The danger of using any old backpack is being slowed down by the bounce, not to mention chafing on your neck or shoulders. I once used a normal backpack for a run to work, and the chafing on my shoulder was so bad that essentially by the time I was finished it looked like my backpack had given me a love bite.
Your Clothes – this is maybe stating the obvious, but it is very easy to forget essential items like tights, bra, pants, deodorant, a hairbrush, a top etc. It is important to know the location and facilities offered by your shower room if you’re running to work so you don’t have to towel dry yourself with the leggings you just ran in and some loo roll, brush your hair with your fingers, wear a running top to work.
Food – I often run fasted in the morning due to laziness and the fact that I am used to it, but if you’re running first thing or straight after work and you haven’t eaten in a few hours then be sensible; a quick snack an hour before you leave work, an oatcake and nut butter before you set off in the morning, or at the very least a banana or snack to wolf down when you arrive. Everybody is different on the tricky issue of timing your running with eating, but know what works for you and be prepared.
Personally, I will run fasted or have some nut butter or an oat cake in the morning, followed by a hearty portion of porridge when I arrive, or will have a snack an hour before I leave work if I’m running in the evening.
Your Pants – Repetition, but worth repeating. It’s annoying and an expensive habit to have to be constantly buying pants on your way to work, and potentially very embarrassing if you don’t work near shops that sell clothing. Both have happened, and continue to happen, to me.