Running to or from work is a great way to fit exercise into a busy lifestyle. Run commuting is an increasingly popular mode of transport in the UK, with time-strapped Londoners leading the boom. More people are taking the decision to start the day in running shoes, rather than in the armpit of a stranger on the tube.
Benefits of run commuting
In addition to the obvious physical benefits, the run commute can play an important role in improved mental health. Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, hormones that trigger positive feelings. Endorphins can help you handle stressful situations better, make more positive decisions and generally set you up for the day.
If there are factors which prevent you from running to work then running home is just as beneficial. A good run can help blow away the cobwebs of the day or help you put work issues into perspective.
Other benefits of run commuting include:
- Improved overall health and fitness.
- Save money on train / bus fare or petrol.
- It’s better for the environment.
- Avoid traffic / public transport delays.
- Fewer people to dodge on early morning runs.
- Save time by not having to squeeze in a workout before or after work.
Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail
Preparation is the key to a stress-free run commute. A set plan can make the difference between arriving at work raring to go and realising you’ve forgotten clean underpants.
- Plan your route before your first run commute. There are apps available that allow you to plot a route that you can follow on your smartphone screen.
- If you catch a train in to work, get off a stop or two earlier and run the rest of the way.
- Write a list of your essentials and keep it as a checklist for every time you pack for a run commute. I often run home and keep such a list stuck to my running kit drawer (pictured below). I have another list in my desk drawer at work.
- If you’d rather not run with a pack, bring your towel and clean clothes into work the day before.
- Keep a set of toiletries at work to save having to cart them in every time you run commute. If your workplace doesn’t have a shower, try freshening up with a dry shower gel or simply run home instead.
- In the winter months when you need a coat, try running home one evening and then back in the following morning. This ensures that your coat will be waiting for you at either end when you finish you run.
- Keep breakfast food at your workplace to eat at the end of your run. There’s no harm in an early run on an empty stomach. Eat a protein rich breakfast within 30 minutes of finishing your run commute.
The weather is unpredictable but a spot of rain doesn’t have to put an end to your run commute plans. Remember that your skin is waterproof and you can keep rain out of your eyes simply by wearing a cap.
Put the money you’ve saved on each journey to work into a pot. You’ll be surprised how quickly it mounts up and you can use the money to reward yourself for your efforts.
Run commuting is a great way to explore new areas. Take time to to remove non-essential items from your backpack that will otherwise add weight. In the words of the MGMT song: take only what you need. Make sure you do your backpack up properly; I once lost my sandwiches in Richmond Park having left a pocket open.
In warm weather, walk the final few minutes to your destination instead of running right to the door. It’s kinder on your muscles and will help you cool down more quickly. James
Try not to let your competitive urge get the better of you on an early run to work. Run at your own pace and let other people do their thing, don’t try and race them. You might spend the rest of the day feeling more tired than you need to! Mary
Be creative. I live one mile away from work but still run commute and cover distances from 3 to 10 miles to get my run in after work. I have a variety of routes to choose from to keep things fresh. Strava has a heat map function so you can see where you run the most. You can plots routes in places you’ve never been before. Nikki