Over the last year, I’ve made a habit of cycling to work as my commute. I no longer think about it. It’s just how I get to work. I get up, pull my bib shorts and top on, grab my bag, helmet and cleats and I’m off (after a cup of tea, obviously).
I’ve been contemplating running to work for a year or so, (Damn procrastination) but cycling has got easier and faster and it just seemed too far to run. I knew how far it was and even Google mapped it and it was still the same distance. 7 miles (11.2)km) exactly. Most of my runs are at least 6 miles (10 km) or about an hour, so the distance was not an issue.
Maybe it was the mental challenge in my head. Thinking “I not one of those serious runners, that runs every day and runs to work”. If someone walks into your office and they’ve run to work, many peoples reaction would be that they’re a bit crazy, but then begrudgingly think “Fair play. I couldn’t do that”. Maybe we’ve become conditioned to think that you’ve got to work by car, train or bus. Why not kill two birds with one stone, get to work and get your training in.
In my standard way, I thought my run commute needed planning (what items at work, items in my backpack) and the possibility of a new backpack. These were just ways of me putting it off and not having to do it. The planning was not really required and my backpack is perfectly fine and designed for running. I stopped f*cking around and just f*ckin’ did it and it was great.
Two of the things that have helped me decide to do this are, the sun finally decided to come out in the UK and we’re experiencing a mini heatwave. Also, I’ve signed up to do the Green Belt Relay with a team from Bushy Park BMF.
The weather is a nice to have. The Green Belt Relay has added a bit of fear. I’m running 2 legs on consecutive days of 12 miles and 9 miles in May and I don’t think I’m running enough training miles. I can get it done, but I don’t what to let the team down and want to put in a good performance. Although it’s a bit of fun, I know there are some good runners on the team and people will be pushing themselves.
Obviously having a shower at work is key to being able to run commute, so this is your first requirement.
Work also needs to be a runnable distance, or where you can get a bus or train to a certain place on the journey and run the rest.
As I mentioned, a little prep is required.
Leave this at work
Have this in your pack
- Debit card
- Pants (&Bra)
Like me, you may be worried about running with your bag. Whether you will run differently or its more difficult. I will admit – it is a little different, but if you keep the weight down, have a good bag and pack it well you can minimise movement. Your commute miles are not going to be quick miles, more base miles, so speed is not the priority.
Leave as much stuff as you can at work. As you can see from the list above, I didn’t have much in my bag so it felt a bit more natural. No laptop, no shoes. If I left my pants and socks at work, I would only be carrying what I have in my trouser pockets and some water.
If you’re in the market for a good bag The Independent recently did a good review.
I rate Osprey packs. They are pricey, but worth the money. There’s a much better range than when I got my first Talon 22, 10 years ago and more specific running packs.
Mine is now classed as hiking pack, but was an adventure pack back in the day. But I use it for race kit bag, cycle commuting, travelling, shopping and also run commuting. It’s a great all-rounder.
I would recommend trying out a pack before you buy. Go and try it in a shop. Cotswold and Go Outdoors have good ranges. I guess REI Co-op in the States. Decathlon also has some good looking trail running packs.
Give it a jiggle around, check where it sits on your back (not too low so it rubs on the top of your bum/bottom of your back), where the shoulder straps sit (not too close to your neck). One size does not fit all. Osprey packs come it 2 sizes (XS/S and M/L). I also believe some brands now have sex-specific packs.
Look for adjustable straps (a given), a waist strap (stops the bottom moving), a chest strap (stops the top moving), shoulder adjustment straps (pulls the pack up higher on your back and stops up and down movement). Most packs now come with some kind of back ventilation system to avoid full sweaty back syndrome. The more pockets and water bottle holders the better. Hydration systems are a bonus, but not essential. They’re also difficult to clean and mould free.
When trying it out for proper once home, wear an old running top for your first run. This is in case the pack does rub in some way and therefore you don’t damage your favourite top. Obviously, a T-shirt work better that a vest top, protecting your shoulders and neck. Some rubbing can be got around. Wearing a buff around your neck, if the straps are closed to your neck.
So, if you’ve been thinking about trying a run commute. Give it a go. It’s not as difficult as you think. You don’t have to get up much earlier, you get your training in, you get to work and get to feel pleased with yourself all day.