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Trying to give this running-commute thing a good try. Maybe.

4 Comments

Random running commute scene one. NZ billboards are kind of cool.

Random running commute scene one. NZ billboards are kind of cool.

You may or may not remember that one time, about a year ago, I announced to the world (or the 3 people who read that post) that I was going to become a running commuter.

It didn’t quite work out as I’d planned. One year later, I’ve run to/from work a grand total of zero times. Until today. After a whole other year of jealously staring at other runners as I sat in traffic, I got my act together and ran home from work.

I have all sorts of excuses for not having done this before, don’t worry. Few of them are actually valid, but that’s an entirely different matter. There’s always a “I need to drive because…” and even though I try to say something that’ll make it sound legitimate, the only real reason I have to drive is because I can’t be arsed with the logistics of not driving to work.

Unless, apparently, there’s alcohol involved. The other night, the company I currently work for hosted a gala dinner as part of a two-day conference it put on. I wasn’t involved in the conference at all but somehow got invited to the gala dinner (score!) and it made perfect sense to get the bus to the office in the morning so I wouldn’t have to count my wine glasses at that dinner, worried about driving home. Seven glasses of wine later (I still counted them), I realised this whole not driving thing isn’t as bad as I remembered (the whole hangover thing is, however, even worse than I remembered).

Since I sweat approximately 456 liters during every run, running to work isn’t really an option, as I don’t actually hate all of my co-workers. Running home from work, while entirely realistic, has its own challenges too. It involves taking the bus in the morning, which means leaving the house earlier than usual. It also means I have to prepare stuff the night before, which can be hard if you’re me and absolutely suck at planning anything in advance.

Random running commute scene two. I may need to run back and buy this sweater.

Random running commute scene two. I may need to run back and buy this sweater.

Some things to keep in mind if you’re going to try run-commuting (from someone who clearly sucks at run-commuting but hey, do as I say not as I do, amirite?):

1. Prepare your clothes the night before
Keep in mind that if you’re planning to carry those clothes back home in your backpack, they should be lightweight. I thought of this today when I woke up and it was raining. It was definitely a boot and coat kind of a day but I stuck with flat shoes that I could easily stuff in my backpack. I’m so dedicated to running it’s unreal.

2. Only take the stuff you will definitely need
I fit every stereotype of the woman journalist you can think of. I carry a bunch of pens in my bag (except on those times when I actually need a pen), plus a notebook, a diary, a paperback book, my Kindle, my wallet, a bunch of keys I never need, and those important faded receipts from the times I went grocery shopping in 2009. You know, just the essentials. In my commuting backpack today, though, I had to really trim it down. Some cash, phone and house keys. The rest stayed home, which is ok because it turns out I don’t need to carry 2009 receipts with me anywhere.

3. Keep a pair of office-appropriate shoes at work
I realised when I got to work that I could actually just have worn my running shoes in the morning, since I have a couple of pairs of shoes living under my desk. Must remember this next time and then I won’t have to worry about picking shoes that fit in my pack.

4. Your office isn’t too far for this
Just because your office is too far away from home, it doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate running into your commute and use that time more wisely. If you take public transport for example, you can always consider getting off a few stops before the office or home and run the rest of the way.

5. Baby wipes and deodorant are the world’s greatest invention
Not really much to be said about this, really. If you’re just running home, then you can jump straight into the awesomeness that is the post-run shower. If you’re running to the office, though, you better have some of this stuff on you, unless you want to give them a reason to make you run to the unemployment line.

Bringing back the running-commute is the best idea I’ve had all week, unless you count blending a banana with my chocolate milk (and since it’s Friday, I wouldn’t expect it to get any better than this). It’s cheaper than driving, a bazillion times better for the environment, and stops me from wasting daylight sitting in traffic to then have to run in the dark (or, more likely, not run at all because it’s dark). It saves me a great deal of time, since I realised rush hour traffic means that, most times, it takes me as long to drive home as it would take me to run home. Running home also means I don’t have to run after I get home, which considerably increases the amount of time I can devote to watching old What Not To Wear episodes on You Tube. It also highlights the functional side of running, which is a pretty attractive aspect of the whole thing, if you’re into shutting up people who say there’s no point to running. I know I am, which is why I think it’s time to put the running in “running errands” more often.

Let’s hope it’s not another year before I run home from work again.

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4 thoughts on “Trying to give this running-commute thing a good try. Maybe.

  1. That’s very brave. I think it’s even harder if you’re a journalist….who often has to go out for interviews or events in the morning. And lug a work laptop around. (I speak from experience…) I did think about it. Really. Then I realised that I was going downtown for an event in work shoes and had no intention of hauling my running kit and laptop around a two-hour media tour.

    If I was much better at planning than I am right now), I’d bring several sets of running clothes to the office and stash them there to use up during the week. Sadly, I am hopeless at planning, so I just do all my running in the early morning.

    What are journalist hours like in NZ? Because over here they’re at least 9.30 to 7 (there is no point showing up early if government agencies are going to take all day to give you a coherent response and then editors have late queries)…and stretchy in one direction only.

  2. I need to try this – I love your suggestion of getting off public transport a few stops earlier. I could most definitely do that! Some of the neighborhoods are sketchy that I would have to go through so running the complete 12 miles is not an option I’d like to explore.

  3. Glad to see you found a way to make it work!

  4. I work about 5 miles from my house and have thought about running to work. I see a few people do it as they job past me at red lights! But I need to get my daughter to school in the morning andpart of my commute is on a busy four lane road.

    I still dream of doing this. You offer soem great advice. i’d like to add that if you run to and from work you really do not need to make time for running at night or at lunch. Your exercise for the day is more than covered.

    I’m thinking that I could take public transit once a week and bring my office clothes to work on those days and then just bring home my dirty clothes. I have no idea how people get dress shirts and khakis to work unwrinkled in a backpack. Some day.

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