Running not only has the obvious physical benefits of boosting your fitness and cardiovascular health, but it also has a number of mental health benefits including improved concentration and less stress. Throw in the financial return of saving on gas or train fare, and run commuting seems like a win-win-win. It will see you arriving at work richer, more mentally prepared, and eventually, in better shape (probably).
Even if you live far from the office, run commuting can still be an option. Try jogging part of the way and then jumping on public transportation. Over time, you can build up miles running to the next stop down the line. For those who need a work-related reason to lace up, you can expand your knowledge base by listening to industry podcasts while you run.
Worried about your laptop and sweaty clothes? There are strategies for that! Read on for some tips on how to make run commuting a realistic option.
How do I get there?
Your route to work might seem obvious, after all, you go there every day. But running opens up a whole new world of parks, footpaths, and one-way streets that aren’t available to you when you’re commuting by car or public transportation. Apps such as City Mapper and Google Maps will give you a basic route to follow while websites including plotaroute.com and walkit.com offer options with less traffic and lower pollution. But as long as you know the general direction, the best way is to leave a few minutes early and just explore.
Try to choose a different side street each day, spot something you never knew was there, or look up other people’s Strava routes in the area. Keeping your run fresh will make the commute something to look forward to rather than a chore. Just be sure to stick to well-lit areas if running in the dark.
How do I carry my stuff?
You’ll have to carry your work clothes when you run commute, so a good backpack is essential.
Don’t go for the cheapest option here – after a couple of days of straps rubbing on your neck and the pack banging on your back, you’ll realize what a mistake that is. Instead, look for a running-specific backpack. They usually come with adjustable chest, waist, and shoulder straps to reduce bounce, padded shoulder straps for comfort, sweat-wicking fabric, and reflective detailing for safety. If you’re female, look for bags designed for women’s frames; the narrower shoulders and shorter back make for a more comfortable fit.
Several brands make great running bags, including Nike, Omm, Salomon, Osprey, and Deuter, but what suits one person won’t necessarily suit another. Rather than take someone else’s recommendation, visit a decent running store to find your perfect backpack. Try on a variety of options like you would shoes, ensure the pack is big enough for your needs, jump around to see if it bounces, and get advice from the staff. You might feel a little foolish, but it’s worth it for a chafe-free commute.
What should I pack?
Ok, so the one downside of run commuting is the limited space available in your bag. Ideally, you’ll be able to leave toiletries, towels, shoes, and coat in the office to lessen your load, but if not, opt for travel-size toiletries, dry shampoo, and a microfiber towel that’s lightweight and compact.
A down jacket will pack down to almost nothing and is a great option if you need to carry a coat in winter months. It’s also a good idea to carry a waterproof pouch for storing your phone or any electricals in case of rain. The plastic bags you get for toiletries at the airport are ideal for this purpose.
Try to pack your stuff the night before so you don’t forget anything. If you’re not the organized type, keep spare socks and underwear in your desk drawer; you will forget them at some point.
What if my office doesn’t have a shower?
No one wants a smelly colleague, so if you have a gym at work, slip in there for a quick shower. If not, dry shampoo, wet wipes, a liberal spray of deodorant, and a sink bath will see you through. Any odor is a good campaigning tool for your boss to install a shower anyway, so that could work in your favor.
While run commuting can be a little bit inconvenient, the benefits far outweigh the hassles, especially for those training for a long race.