STARTING OUT

50


CONGRATULATIONS!!  You’ve made a positive step into looking to change your routine and make a very healthy and intelligent choice to your daily commute!!

Running to Work is a great way to start your day.   The benefits are enormous. So many of us lead such busy lives that weaving in exercise into your daily routine can be almost impossible.  So by combining your morning commute with a daily run makes total sense.   You’ll arrive at work feeling alert and awake, you’ll drop weight and save money in the process.  You’ll be in charge of the time you arrive at work (forget train delays and traffic jams!) and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment, too. 

First and foremost it is important to make the initial journeys hassle free as possible in order to encourage a rolling program of runs.  If you are already a runner, you should know your limits and time-lines involved.

If you’re new to the sport of running it will be worth while developing some base fitness with a few runs over weekends or evenings to get comfortable with the running to work schedule.

It is necessary to plan ahead, as the logistics involved with the kit and hygiene will take some consideration.  You will quickly get into a routine of how to organise your schedule with the following hint and tips:-

 

  • You should try and leave as much at your workplace as you can for your running routine into work.   This can include clothing and toiletries.  Put them away in your personal draw or a shower room if you’re lucky enough to have one at work.  The rest of your kit, and food, can be carried to work in a running backpack which also doubles up as a method to take home dirty kit, lunch equipment and Blackberry / Phone / iPad etc.  The Giga Office is a very good option as it has compartments for keeping your laptop or iPad safe.

 

As a beginner you should look for at least 20 litres in size whereas someone with an established routine and storage space available at work can minimise further.  By increasing size, the weight increases are generally not dramatic and will cope with the extra gear that might be required on occasions. Cotswold Outdoor offer a good range of running backpacks including the 12 litre OMM backpack which is a great choice if you don’t need to pack a full bag. Check them out: Cotswold Outdoor

 

  Your backpack will contain all the things you need for work
  after your run.  Keep a spare plastic bag within the
  backpack on the occasions when it rains and you need to keep spare clothes
  dry.
 

    If you work in a suit, then pack some lightweight casual clothes in your running backpack.  That way you can leave work in these casual clothes and keep your suit at the office.  This means you don’t need to transport your suit home and run in with it in the morning.  Any suit carried in a backpack will look shabby!

 

  • Try your first few runs on days where you wont be out the night before or plan for when the weather looks acceptable.   The early stages of running to work can be hard going if hungover, tired or wet.  And anything which makes it less than enjoyable may deter future outings

 

  • If your work schedule is fluid and hours are unpredictable, then think about a mass drop of gear. Mondays can be a good day for this in advance of the week’s busy schedule.  However, also bear in mind that Monday is a great day for running to work, being a perfect antidote to the Monday morning blues!

 

  • If you need some extra motivation to get going, think about entering a race which will clearly help you focus.  Look for a local 5 km or 10km race to kick start your running training.  After running to work for a period you’ll be surprised at how the miles seem to travel quicker.  A competitive race will have you developing upto a half and full marathon in no time!

 

  • If you truly hate running in the morning or generally are not a morning person, then why not run home from work?  Running back can be an excellent way to clear out the mind clutter from the day just gone and, besides, it’s the perfect excuse for a glass of wine or food treat when finished.

 

  • When you wake in the morning and really can’t be bothered to put on the trainers, just think about the noisy, smelly, late, unhygenic, busy and unappealing public transport system!  Having your face stuck in someone elses armpit on the tube.  If you don’t live in London or travel into work generally by car, think about the cost of petrol today and effect on the environment.

 

    • Join a gym!  Ok, so this isn’t about running on the treadmill, but a gym near work will offer you the perfect place to shower, stretch out after the run, and perform your general morning ablutions.   Certain gym chains are providing very cheap membership in these recessionary times.   Alternatively, speak with your work place about providing a shower. They should be promoting healthy activities, especially if you can put forward the case of increased work productivity.  Do remember to find a place at work to quietly stretch tight legs and muscles.

 

Many people are put off running to work due to the perceived logistics involved.   However, after spending just a little time planning then it quickly and easily turns into a routine and you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t start earlier.  If you’re a regular lunch time or evening exerciser, you’ll appreciate the extra time you’ll have freed up for yourself by getting the exercise out of the way first thing in the morning.  Set aside a little time, think about the logistics and give it a go.  You will NOT regret it!


50 Comments

  • Matt says:

    Excellent post.

    Covers just about everything. When I ran home from work a few years back something different would go wrong each time. I’d have close encounters with cars, stuff would fall out of my bag and I’d be chaffed to high hell.

    Wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences.

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Matt,

      Well the advantage of running home from work is the possibility of having a beer at the end, but I guess that’s frowned upon if running to work!

      Glad you liked the post

      Cheers

      Andrew

    • John Gregory says:

      At 0645 this morning, I prepared my rucksack carefully with the stuff I needed for my run commute.

      I didn’t enjoy cramming my shoes into the top of my rucksack; the thought of running with the heavy shoes dinted my confidence slightly.

      I left the house at 0715, fifteen minutes over my target time of 0700. I wasn’t looking likely that the shower would be available, as I wouldn’t be getting into work for my target time of 0815.

      The route itself was great, a few miles of gradual downhill, lots of flat areas, occasional up hills but very small ones.

      Before I reached work, I realised that I hadn’t packed my travel sized antiperspirant, so I had to think about what I would do to counter any pong. The only thing I could do was carefully wash areas that needed attention in that respect and make it go right so that there wouldn’t be any embarrassment.

      I arrived at work for 0835 and as predicted, someone had just beaten me to the shower. I began the emergency wash routine as planned, with disposable flannel, cheap as chips from a discount store.

      The next issue I had was the constant sweating, I sweat quite heavily and if I am not in a room with a breeze, it takes ages to dry off, so I was sat at my desk feeling very sweaty for about an hour, fortunately, the air conditioning helped wick the sweat away. There must be a better way. I am guessing that if I had had access to a lukewarm/cool shower, the outcome would be different.

      Before running home this afternoon, I will leave my shoes here at work, along with toiletries to lessen the load.
      So far, off to a bad start.

      • Chief run commuter says:

        Hi John,

        Well that’s some story there! Sounds like you need a couple more attempts at this before getting it down to a fine art! A 1hr20 run is pretty impressive tho, nice work :)

        And fear not, after a little while you’ll have a perfect routine and will be proffering advice to your envious looking work colleagues, while tucking into a deserved double size breakfast.

        Keep at it!

        Cheers

        Andrew

  • Joey Williams says:

    I have just started running to and from work with the goal of running a half marathon in mind at some point. I really think that I am far more efficient at work because I haven’t just got up, stuck my head in the shower and got in the car…I have actually had a little time to organise my thoughts and plan my day. The hard work at the start is definitely worth it!

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Well said Joey! The endorphin boost resulting in mental clarity means you arrive at your desk ready to go rather than needing a drip of espressos to start the day!

      Good luck with sorting out and running a half marathon. Let me know which one you do

      Cheers

      Andrew

  • London inventory company says:

    It’s a great idea but it has one big disadvantage – what will you do when you arrive sweating and smelling at work? :)

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Annoy my work colleagues of course!
      Actually, if you look closely at your local area you might find a cheap place to shower like a leisure centre or bargain gym
      Or do you have friends in nearby offices that do have a shower..
      Cheers
      A

  • Simon says:

    Hey Andrew,
    Please get in touch with your direct email so we can discuss a potentially mutually beneficial project.
    Best
    Simon

  • Michael says:

    Hi Andrew,
    I like your website. I’ve been running to and from work for about a year now.
    It’s 5.5km each way, minimum, but sometimes I take a longer route.
    Yes, it takes a while to get into a routine of leaving clothes at work,
    and carrying a bare minimum of gear, but once in the routine, I sometimes
    arrive at work almost without even feeling like I’ve been running at all.
    A good way to start is to run only once or twice a week at first, and gradually build up from there.

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Michael,

      Glad you like the site. It’s interesting to hear just how many other run commuters there are out there. As you say, it just takes getting used to and build from there. I’ve just moved out of London so now am getting a train into town and then running from the overground station to my work. It means I have to get up about 45 mins earlier than if I took the underground, but I feel fantastic for it!

      Keep spreading the word :)

      Andrew

  • Wanda says:

    Great post,

    I just started last week and running to and from my office Brixton – Holborn, on public transport it would be always unpredictable 45 minutes, when running it is always a predictable and enjoyable 55 minutes and I do not have to wake up at the crack of dawn to do my morning run as I combine the commute & run, it is amazing. My company is just moving to new offices and a shower is apparently there so I am very excited. I love it! And the breakfast that I can grab at Waterloo on my way to the office, nothing beats it.

    Wanda

  • Risa says:

    This is actually the first time I’ve heard of running to work. But I think it’s an awesome idea! Great post!!

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Thanks! Hope you get to give it a go :)
      Andrew

      • Aaryn says:

        I love running to/from work. I don’t use a backpack but put my phone/credentials/debit card in an arm band and my keys in a pocket that clips into my shoelaces. I’m still working out my system, but basically I keep a few work outfits at work and change at work where I’m lucky to have a shower. I’m one of the lucky ones that has an S.O. that will drop off lunch (and fresh clothes) for me. If I move to an office further away from home I may need to do the backpack thing but I am really worried about chafing, which was a problem I had the first time I tried the backpack. Do others not have that problem?

        • Chief run commuter says:

          Hi Aaryn, thanks for the note.

          Like you I have a fair few change of clothes at work. Once that admin is done then its pretty much plain sailing. I’ve not really had much of a problem with chafing from a backpack. But I do use lengthy running tops and ones with high necks or some with zips that ride up almost as high as the top of my neck. In the winter then I have a shell jacket over the running tshirt so no probs at all! Also, tying up the backpack as tight as possible (without stopping circulation!!) helps against chaffing. Boy does that make me sound like a geek!

          Cheers

          Andrew

  • Parksyboy says:

    I love running to work I’m a keen triathlete so it’s great run training
    For me , gives me time to swim and bike in
    The week ! Keep going everyone

  • Hi, I’ve been running to work now for 7 months having done it in a previous job where it was possible. It certainly beats driving, sometimes quite literally! Very liberating when you are passing cars stuck in traffic, even if it is raining! I have a 7 mile commute, but stretch it out sometimes as well. Love seeing the odd other run commuter, its like a secret club, you know you’re in it as you are running with your little back pack, and share a secret little smile and a nod. Happy times!

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Lucja,

      Yep, certainly in town it can often be quicker than grinding away on the bus or in traffic. Oh, and it’s free,helps you lose weight and arrive at work fully de-stressed. Where’s the downside?!

      Keep it up and spread the word! :)

      Andrew

  • Em Smith says:

    All this is great, but I have a major problem that I can’t figure out. If I run to work in the morning and get the tube home, what do I do in the winter with my big heavy coat?! I can’t run with it am – it won’t fit in the running bag. I certainly need it in the evening!

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Em,

      Yep, a big heavy coat is not going to fit in a running backpack for sure! Maybe if you don’t run in every day then you could take a couple of coats to work, and so the days that you do run in there will be a spare to go home in? Otherwise what about ‘layering up’? So take a few lighter weight layers to work in the backpack and wear those for the journey home. There are some really lightweight and thermal clothes that’ll squish up in your backpack and keep you warm on a journey home. Just takes a bit of shopping about – have a look at Cotswold Outdoor Shop who I have a few links to on my website :)

      Keep at it!

      Andrew

  • James says:

    Currently cycle to and from work 3-4 days a week. You’ve inspired me to switch one of those days for a run instead.
    Thanks

  • Paul says:

    Hi Andrew, great site! We just spoke via Twitter. I’d love to run to work but I’m currently working from home, haha. I do run other places though instead of taking of the car. It’s great to read so many positive comments on your posts. Keep up the great work! Paul

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Paul – thanks for the note and good luck getting your new site going. There seems to be a run commute community growing which is encouraging in this foul weather! Roll on the summer.

      I’ll have a good squizz through your site.

      Cheers

      Andrew

  • Catherine says:

    Hi, love the concept of this site. I used to run home from work…yes I did find I did have to plan a head (such a thinking about what clothes I was to wear that day, what was going to fit into my back pack on the way home etc) but once I got used to it and got into a routine of doing it….it became second nature. I don’t know if you found this but whilst I was running home from work I did find it worked different muscles in my arms – which was probably because of my backpack.
    Anyway – I no longer run home from work as I have moved jobs and live too far away but I can honestly recommend that people who run and live close enough to work should run to (or from) work!

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Catherine,

      I don’t really run home from work. I’m a real early bird and have all my energy before work. I rarely run back cos I’m usually too shattered! once a day is enough for me :)

      I’ve moved out of town now so cant run straight from my door to work. Instead I get off the train about 10km from work and run from there. Simples!

      Have fun

      Andrew

  • Paul Collins says:

    An office move next week will allow me to start running to work, and I can’t wait! Going to start off slowly with a couple of times a week and am planning to have enough stuff at the office to allow me to run with only a small amount of gear each day. Any tips on a backpack to get? I think I only need 10-15L as it should only be the essentials…

  • Aad van der Sman says:

    I run 4 data a week from home to work:
    Monday: bike to work, run home
    Tuesday: run to work, bike home
    Thursday/Friday same routine.
    Using the SPLIT-app
    http://shotzoom.com/a/40414803898

  • There is now also a “runtowork”-website in the dutch language. Based on your webside.

  • Mad Mick says:

    I have to admit that this this is something I have thought about for a while. The only thing is that I work shifts and in order to get in for day shifts and have a shower, I would have to leave at about 0530!! Similarly if I ran in for a late shift, I wouldn’t get back until about 0100. This would make me unpopular with the family if I woke th email up to have a shower. That said though I will give it some serious looking at. Mind you, I would have to change my route as the first couple of miles is a winding road with no footpath a nd lots of cars.

  • Nick1973 says:

    Have been doing a couch to 5k introduction to running programme, just in the 8th and final week.

    So I am now doing some research into doing the run commute. I work at London Paddington Station, and arrive into London Victoria. This will give 2.3 miles each way, a good run through Belgravia, Hyde Park upto Paddington. It’s slightly up hill on the way, so might do the run on the way back, this will help avoid arriving to work as a sweaty mess….

    Great website, thanks

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Nick,

      2.3 miles on the way in would deposit you at work clear headed and set up for the day, or alternatively doing it in reverse will de-stress from a day at the office. Either way you can’t lose – and you’ll be a few £s better off and a few Llbs lighter!

      Glad you like the site

      Thanks :)

      Andrew

  • Jim Johnson says:

    I’m a fellow believer in getting around by foot instead of car. For seven years I took a bus to work and ran 5 miles home. A job change brought an end to that – I have to go to multiple, widespread locations everyday. I’m sure you enjoy commuting by foot as much as I did.

  • john says:

    Hi all,
    I live 25 miles from work but drive to within 3 miles of work, park up and run the rest of the way. In a few weeks I’ll be running 30 miles mon-fri with a short strech on sat and an increasing long run on sun. I managed to get my HM time down to 1:38 on three days a week but was feeling the pain on high intensity workouts. Since adopting this approach I am nearly ache free (still improving). By August I should be comfortably running 50m a week and will then start with the intervals, threshold, hills etc. My HM time is going to crrrrrruuuuuumble :O))

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hey John!

      Sounds like you have it licked! Like you I now live a long way from work. I get off my train before necessary and then do something like a cheeky 10km from there. Its great isn’t it; getting it all out of the way in the morning.

      Reckon your half mara time is going to fall quicker than Luis Suarez in the penalty area! Good luck with it – let us know how it goes :)

      Andrew

  • Myriam says:

    Dear Andrew and Dear all,

    I visited your website, Andrew, some time ago (over one year) to get some information because I was planning to run to and back from work. We were changing office location and I could not find a satisfying way to get there. I am against cars which are no solution for this planet’s future and are way too expensive in my opinion.
    Of course you need to organize at the beginning but you get used to it very quickly. I run 14km a day that way and stop once or twice a week to give my legs some rest. I wake up later than if I was taking the bus, arrive at work earlier, and don’t need to spare some time to train during week-ends as enough is enough though :P And it gives me strength to face the day, I am in a better mood, more relaxed and its gives me a feeling a success somehow.

    I wish some of my friends / colleagues would follow me. But obviously it’s not something that most people would do. Anyway, I highly recommend it to anyone that is lucky enough to have a shower around the office and a realistic distance between work and home. Running to work will make you happy :)

    Cheers,
    Myriam

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Hi Myriam

      Thanks for the note. You and I are on the same page when it comes to the benefits of run commuting! It definitely puts you in a better mood, de-stresses, brings clarity and relaxation. Oh, and a bigger breakfast as well!

      Keep spreading the word amongst your friends and colleagues. The message is slowly getting out there! I’ve seen more articles in magazines and have recentlt been contacted by a few journalists on the subject. So progress is being made.

      Enjoy your run to work schedule. 14km is very good!

      Cheers

      Andrew :)

  • James says:

    I work in a factory so the worries of smelling or sweating are irrelevant. Also got a shower in the locker room. Thanks for the tips, I currently bike to work and have been wanting to do this for a while.

  • rosko says:

    Been wanting to do this for ages & my new office has a shower. Been trying to get my head around the logistics. How do you get around the problem of your shirts & trousers not getting all creased up? I could maybe take them all over on Monday & try & find a place to hang them, but i might not be able to do that.

    • Chief run commuter says:

      Nice one. Yep, the thought of how to go about it can be trickier than the actual event itself. Take as many clothes in as you can on non run commute days and leave them at work. My office is like a second home / wardrobe full of my stuff now! If you cant do that as you suggest, then think about running home from work when it doesn’t matter so much about getting stuff creased?
      Good luck and make it a new year resolution!
      Cheers
      Andrew

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