The New Run Commuters – February 2014, Part 2

Welcome back! In our second February installment of The New Run Commuters, we feature Brent, a lawyer from Washington D.C., and Ivan, a Certified Financial Planner from San Diego, CA.

In March, we will return to a once-a-month, double feature of TNRC. Be sure to contact us if you are interested in being featured! 

Runner Basics

  • Name: Brent Allen
    IMG_1022

    New Run Commuter Brent.

  • Age: 45
  • City/State: Washington, DC
  • Profession/Employer: Lawyer
  • Number of years running: 15-20 years on-and-off (sadly, more “off” than “on”)
  • # of races you participate in a year: None. I’ve never tried a race.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I run only on sidewalks, or paved paths in nature areas. I’d love to run on trails, and there is a system of trails in nearby Rock Creek Park. My secret hope it that I will get good enough to start using those trails to commute home over the summer.

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Osprey Stratos 24. Thanks to TRC for the recommendation! Great advice to get a large-capacity backpack, so I won’t run out of space. Over this winter, I’ve needed the extra space for carrying coats and sweaters. During summer, the extra capacity does not add any meaningful weight.
  • Shoes:  Asics Nimbus / Brooks Trance. But I’m flexible, so I’ll try almost any well-rated shoe that’s on sale.
  • Clothing:  Still learning what works best. Ideally, just shorts and a cheap running shirt. I’ve discovered I need a high-necked shirt to prevent the pack from chafing my neck.
  • Outerwear: Over my first winter of run commuting, I’ve been testing all the old winter gear that’s collected in our closets, to see what combination works. So far, the best combo is thermal long underwear from cross-country skiing, topped with a zip-up fleece, and maybe a nylon shell if it’s wet. I’m cheap, so I want to avoid buying new gear unless I really need it. But I’m really hoping to find some excuse to buy a nice running jacket! 
  • Headgear: A basic Headsweats hat during the summer was a good investment. During the winter, a Pittsburgh Steelers baseball hat works well. (Go, Steelers!) I like having a hat with a visor, to help shield my eyes from stray tree branches hanging over the sidewalks.
  • Lights: When it got dark this winter, I bought some eGear flashing lights. They make me feel incredibly dorky and conspicuous, but I’d feel even stupider getting hit by some car. 
  • Hydration: So far, just a 12-oz plastic bottle I refill with water. I like that it gives me an excuse to stop and walk for a bit. Also, I’ve found that my evening run is much more enjoyable if I drink lots of water during the day.

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

About 8-9 months ago, I got frustrated because I never had enough time to exercise. My job is pretty time-consuming, and I have three young kids at home, so exercise was always an after-thought. Also, I found it too easy to skip exercise, and use other commitments as an excuse for my laziness. Since I reached my 40s, doctors had been warning me about the need to get healthier. I want to be around to watch my kids grow up, so I needed to create a dedicated routine for exercise. After considering the problem for a while, I hit on run commuting as a possible solution. Then when I researched the topic, I discovered TRC and other resources with great advice and encouragement.

 How often do you run commute?

Every day if I can. I skip only when I’m traveling for work, or have some evening commitment that prevents me. I find that I need consistency to keep committed.

 How far is your commute?

6-7 miles, depending on my route. I only run home from work in the evenings.

 Do you pack or buy a lunch?

n/a. I usually take the subway to work, and then run home, so I never run with food.

 What do you like most about run commuting?

It has found time in my schedule! Before run commuting, I’d spend 45-60 minutes at the gym at work (when I actually went), then stay late at work to make up that time, and then lose another 45-60 minutes on my commute home. Now, by combining my commute with exercise, my total time spent is just a little over an hour. That’s more time with my family almost every day!

 Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

I don’t know anyone personally, but I’ve been trying to encourage various friends to give it a try. Now that I’m running, I notice lots of other run commuters on the streets though. They’re a friendly bunch, so I’m waving often. It might be my imagination, but I think the number is increasing.

IMG_1023

Brent, on his way home.

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

It varies depending on the day – train/subway/car.

 If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be? 

Don’t be intimidated to try run commuting. It looks much more difficult than it is. It’s OK to walk; it’s OK to go slow. The running itself gets much easier once you develop a routine. Also, the logistics need not be an obstacle. As a lawyer, I often need to bring work home, and I worried that would pose a problem. But over time, I’ve discovered work-arounds for almost everything: I access most materials electronically, and plan ahead to minimize what I need to carry.

 Anything else that you would like to include? 

Run commuting is the single best change I’ve made to my lifestyle/schedule in the past two years. It’s got all sorts of positives for both my family life and my health. After my most recent physical, the doctor noted my improved vital signs and commented that I must’ve started running regularly. My kids cheer for me when I get home each night, and run away to avoid “sweaty kisses.” I love that my kids are seeing me exercise regularly, and I’m hoping it will help teach them to keep fit.

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Runner Basics

Schleder - Profile pic - Narrow

New Run Commuter Ivan.

 

  • Name: Ivan
  • Age: 41
  • City/State: San Diego, CA
  • Profession/Employer: Certified Financial Planner
  • Number of years running: 30 years, off and on
  • # of races you participate in a year: None since high school
  • Do you prefer road or trail? Road only. Because I’m afraid of turning an ankle!

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Black Diamond BBEE. Took me over an hour trying on everything they had at REI! Went with it mostly because it was light, and had comfortable shoulder/stomach straps. Also, a bonus was a small notch to attach a bright bike taillight.
  • Shoes: Currently Merrell Road Glove (also tried Saucony Virrata) – Anything zero-drop is the only way I go anymore.
  • Clothing: Dri-wick t-shirt (during the winter also a thin compression undershirt for warmth) and compression shorts. Also Giro biking gloves in the winter.
  • Outerwear: Nothing additional is ever needed living in San Diego, even in the winter!
  • Headgear: Pearl Izumi Thermal skullcap all year round (keeps me warm in the winter, and collects sweat in the summer)
  • Lights: Black Diamond Storm Headlamp 100 lumens in front, Planet Bike Superflash 1 watt bike taillight attached to the backpack (bike taillights were the only ones I felt were bright enough to be safe)
  • Hydration: Don’t bring anything with me. But I always drink a couple gulps of water before starting the run.

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I started bike commuting about 3 years ago, and was looking for more of a challenge! Plus, since switching to zero-drop footwear and transitioning to a mid-foot strike (not the heel) a couple years ago, I’ve found a renewed interest in running in general.

How often do you run commute?

I run commute 2-5 days per week, depending on my energy level and time.

How far is your commute?

Seven miles each way.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I don’t carry any food with me. I keep my office stocked.

What do you like most about run commuting?

I enjoy the challenge! Plus the automatic workout that it builds into the day saves me from having to “work out.” And the auto expense savings ain’t bad either!

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

I don’t know anyone else who run commutes. In general people think I’m nuts.

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

By bicycle. I’ve actually driven my car to work only 5-6 times in the past 3 years.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

Travel light! Stuff like don’t pack a full towel for after your shower, just a dry washcloth. Make sure all your toiletries are small travel size. Don’t bring jeans, do khakis (they’re lighter), switch your huge, heavy metal watch for something thin with a leather band, buy the lightest backpack in the store! Buy only bright colored tops, and also if you run in the dark, invest in the brightest head and taillights you can find. Can’t be too careful!

Anything else that you would like to include?

I have access to a full locker room/shower at my office, but don’t let not having one stop you from run commuting! The showers were out of commission for a couple weeks a while ago, so I just brought an extra washcloth (or you can bring some baby wipes if you’re picky), and hit the bathroom stall for a quick “poor man’s shower,” change the clothes, brush the teeth, comb the hair (though I shave my head), and I’m set to go!

I bring a plastic bag in the backpack and bag my run clothes for the day, and re-wear for the run home. So, honestly, they’re a bit damp for the run home, but nothing’s perfect. I guess one could backpack a fresh set, but I don’t want the extra weight in the backpack.

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If you are a new run commuter and want the running world to hear your story, let us know!
We are now accepting submissions for May and June. If you are interested, submit the form below and we’ll contact you.
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By | 2016-10-22T20:26:42+00:00 February 27th, 2014|Categories: General, News, People|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

HLN feature on The Run Commuter

HLN ran a feature on Josh and his run commute! Josh talks about how he, and we, got started, what it’s all about, why, and how. He sounded professional and informed, and looked handsome and rugged, and made us all-around proud.

If your colleagues and dear ones ask you to summarize run commuting, direct them there — then nudge them toward trying it for themselves.

BONUS: we are still on the HLN Top 10, but this morning ranked second, sandwiched between murder.

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Murder, Run Commuter, Murder is the new Duck, Duck, Goose.

By | 2016-12-24T10:28:23+00:00 February 19th, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

The New Run Commuters – February 2014, Part 1

After a fantastic response to January’s The New Run Commuters post, we’re back with one of two TNRC features this month. In our first, we introduce you to Chris and Tarun, two runners from different parts of the world, united not only by run commuting, but by teaching as well.

Chris, an ultramarathoner, uses running for more than just run commuting – he runs errands and picks up his daughter after school in a jogging stroller; while Tarun, takes  a more laid-back approach to running and wisely suggests easing your way into running to work to give yourself time to figure out the logistics of it all.

As always, if you are interested in being featured in an upcoming TNRC post, please submit the form at the end of this post. Thanks to everyone who has contacted us so far! It’s great hearing all of your stories and your approach to run commuting and life!

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Chris Van Dykethe run commuter, run commuting, running to work, new run commuter, running to get places, osprey stratos 24, chris van dyke
  • Age: 35
  • City/State: Brooklyn, NY
  • Profession/Employer: High School English Teacher, New York City Department of Education
  • Number of years running: 7 ½
  • # of races you participate in a year: I used to race all the time – the first year I qualified for the NYC Marathon in 2008, I ran thirteen races.  Since having kids, not many.  I always try to do the Bed-Stuy 10K, since it’s the only road race held in my neighborhood, and I like that it’s small and local and in a neighborhood most people don’t think of when they think of running.  The few races I do tend to be really long – this year it was a 24-hour ultra, last year a 50K trail run and a marathon.
  • Do you prefer road or trail (and a little about why)?  Despite the current “correct” answer being trails, I have to say I love both.  Being in Brooklyn, I really wish I could get out and run more trails, but I honestly love running in the city.  I love discovering new neighborhoods or new routes to the same locations, and try to approach any of the “disadvantages” of road-running as opportunities in disguise: hurtling a pile of garbage blocking the side-walk adds a bit of flair to one’s run.

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Osprey Stratus 24.  Super light-weight but massive capacity.  Lots of straps to keep things locked down, very roomy waist-pack pockets, and comes with a rain-cover.
  • Shoes: Mostly ultra-minimal, always zero-drop.  When the weather is warm, I wear Unshoe’s Pah Tempe sandals.  When shoes are required, I rotate between Merrell Roadgloves and Altra’s The One.  For trails or bad weather, Altra Lone Peaks
  • Clothing:  Until its freezing, shorts (Target brand) and either singlets or technical T’s, mostly just one’s I’ve gotten at races.  Basically I try to wear as little as possible whatever the weather, and push what most people think is reasonable to an extreme.  I’m used to people yelling, “Aren’t you cold?” as I pass.
  • Outerwear: When it drops into the 30’s or lower, I have a pair of CW-X tights and a Craft jacket I dropped some real cash on over five years ago and they’ve held up great.  I also have a crushable Sierra rain fly that I can toss in my pack if it looks like rain, and a pair of North Face water-proof pants.  For extreme winter weather, I’ve got a balaclava and facemask, a few pairs of layering gloves, and Yak Tracks for my shoes.  It’s all about layers; one of the advantages of running with a pack is you have somewhere to stash clothes if you get too hot, or keep a raincoat just in case.
  • Headgear: Normally just a visor.  Running hat in the autumn; skully when its freezing. 
  • Lights:  The streets of Brooklyn are pretty well-lit any time of day, so I don’t really use lights.  I do have a Black-Diamond head-lamp and a few clip-on flashing lights in my bag just in case.
  • Hydration:  Typically nothing, as my commute isn’t that long.  If I’m going longer, I’m a fan of hand-helds.  I have a 20oz Amphipod and an Ultimate Direction Quickdraw.  Mostly that’s for long weekend runs, not commuting.

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I’ve been running for years, and it’s my favorite way to get around New York.   Once my kids were born it got harder and harder to find time to fit in runs, and at the same time I started teaching at a new school that was less than 3 miles from my apartment.  My school is in East Flatbush, which is nowhere near a subway line, so my only public transportation option is bus, which I hate: buses are crowded, slow, and you can waste so much time just waiting for them.   At first I biked to work and would run once in a while, but after my bike was stolen, I took it as an opportunity to step up my run commute.

How often do you run commute?

Five days a week, to and from work.  I’ve run both ways every day since the school year started, with only two exceptions.  I took off the Friday before a 24-hour ultra, and I got a ride after work to the staff Holiday party.  Other than that, I’ve run every day.

How far is your commute?

2.5 miles each way, so 5 miles total.  Sometimes longer if I have errands to run – if I have to stop by the post-office, grocery store, or pick up my daughter at school, it can add up to 2 miles to the trip home.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

Pack.  I actually make myself a massive salad every day for lunch.  I have a mini-fridge at work, and I run in supplies a few times a week.  Fridays I run my salad bowl, knife, utensils, and cutting board home to run them through the dishwasher, then run them in with lots of veggies on Monday.  Any day of the week my pack might have home-made baked tofu, garbanzo beans, a couple of avocados, spinach, carrots, or bags of brewer’s yeast.   I amuse my students by pulling just about anything out of by bag.

the run commuter, run commuting, running to work, new run commuter, running to get places, osprey stratos 24, chris van dyke, running with groceries

Chris runs his lunch supplies in to work every week.

What do you like most about run commuting?

What’s not to like?  I get to fit in a run every day and avoid a bus or car commute – it’s like finding free time in your day!  How often can you straight up trade something you hate for something you love?  I love starting the day with exercise, and ending work with some stress-relief.  And once I’m at work, it forces me to get in the run home and gets past excuses and lazy days.  Every so often I don’t want to run home but don’t have any choice, then end up loving my run. 

My absolute favorite part, however, is the small group of “friends” I’ve made over the last year along my route, strangers I see every few days who wave and say hi, since I’m the only person running in East Flatbush in the morning.  There’s a woman at one of the housing projects who calls me “sexy legs” whenever she sees me, and that always shaves a few minutes off my time.  Last week some guy stopped me to say I’d inspired him to start running again.  Then there’s a mom who walks her two sons to school in the morning, and I pass them almost every day.  We always say hi, and this year we exchanged Christmas cards.  It reminds me that Brooklyn isn’t so much one big city as a whole lot of small towns just crammed together.

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?  

No.  I’ve got a number of co-workers who bike, but I’m the only one who runs.  I’m pretty much the only person I see running in this part of Brooklyn ever. 

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?  

My school is a mile from the subway, so it would have to be the bus, as I don’t own a car.  The bus I’d take, the B47, takes me, on average, 45 minutes.  I can run my commute in 25 minutes if I’m lazy, sub-20 if I’m pushing myself.  If I wasn’t running I’d bike, but frankly I prefer running.  Much more relaxing, and a lot less maintenance. Basically, I don’t think of there as being options – I run, period.  I run in the snow, in the rain, in the dark.  I ran during the polar vortex in negative 15.  If there’s going to be severe weather or I have to take in books or clothes, I don’t think “How am I going to get to work?” I think “How am I going to do this while running?”  With the right gear and a bit of stubbornness, anything is runnable.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be? 

Just do it – the logistics really are a lot less daunting that you think.  Once you have a few work outfits at the office (and a can of body spray!) you’re set on that end.  A good pack is really the only essential “specialty” gear, and since you’ll spend a lot of time with it, try it on and spend enough to get something comfortable that suits your needs.  But you’d be surprised that, with a little planning a head, how little you actually need to get you to work.  I’m lucky, in that I’ve got an easy distance to do round-trip, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  Run to the commuter train or bus stop; get a ride and run the last 5 miles.  Break the route into a runnable chunk and then do it.  I’m also a huge fan of pod-casts when I run.  At some point, your run does just become a commute, some distance you have to cover to get to work or to get home.  I try to find enjoyment in every run, but sometimes, when its dark and cold, I just need to tune out with some NPR Pop-Culture Happy Hour and commute.

Anything else that you would like to include?

Work doesn’t have to be the only “practical” destination for a run – the post office, drug-store, even small grocery trips can be a place you can fit in a run.  I’m fortunate that New York City is so compact, so much of what I need is within runnable distance.  After you factor in how long you have to wait for a train or a bus, or to look for parking, running is one of the most efficient ways to move around the city.  Once I realized that, I started running most of my errands.  That’s when a good pack is essential.  I can fit most daily grocery needs in my pack.  At an extreme, I’ve run two miles home with 20 pounds of dog-food on my back and a USPS package under one arm.  I’ve got a massive BOB double-jogging stroller, so I can run my kids to the park, with me to store, to gym class.  If you decide to run home 4 miles after a staff happy-hour, I do suggest you stop after the third beer.

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Tarun Rajanthe run commuter, run commuting, running to work, new run commuter, running to get places, tarun rajan
  • Age: 31
  • City/State: Sydney/NSW/Australia
  • Profession/Employer: Biology Teacher at Macquarie University
  • Number of years running: 4
  • # of races you participate in a year: Did four last year, with hopes of doing more this year.
  • Do you prefer road or trail (and a little about why)? I like running trails, but for the sheer ease of getting out and doing it, road running works for me.

 Run Commuting Gear

  •  Backpack: I currently use a High Sierra 14L backpack that I picked up from Costco for not much. I removed the bladder from it to make room for things to carry to work.
  • Shoes: I have big dreams of running bare feet, but for now I pound the road in Brooks Ravenna 4.
  • Clothing: I use the running singlets that get given out at races and just about any shorts I have sitting in the cupboard.
  • Outerwear: It doesn’t get that cold in Sydney during winter. I don’t own a jacket or a base layer. Generally just run with a singlet or t-shirt on.
  • Headgear: Don’t wear one.
  • Lights: I run on dedicated cycleways which are well illuminated. Haven’t bothered purchasing one.
  • Hydration: I use a Caribee 1.5 hydration pack for my longer runs (15+km). I just drink plenty of water when I’m home or once I reach work.

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

It’s good from a time management and financial perspective (don’t have to worry about parking tickets, petrol). I’ve only been doing this for 3 months though, so am fairly new.

How often do you run commute?

I run commute thrice a week (to and fro.)

How far is your commute?

Distance ranges from 6.5 to 10km depending on which route I take. If I’m in a hurry, I take the shortest route, but some days I run the longer distance just to mix it up.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I bring lunch from home everyday. I’ve got some decent Tupperware boxes which I cover in a plastic bag and put in my backpack.

What do you like most about run commuting?

It’s cheap, convenient and faster to get around during peak hours and I’ve heard some say it’s not too bad for your health either! Other commuters (bike, run) acknowledge you and it provides some motivation.

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

Glen, my mate, is a God at running. He clocks some amazing mileage. He’s a real inspiration. I’ve taken to run commuting after him. He’s just so good at it. At this point in time, I only know of us two commuting to work on foot.

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

I ride the bike to work twice a week (on Mondays and Fridays). I get my clothes for the week in a bigger backpack and store in the locker. Work is great, in that we have showers and lockers.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

Logistics are definitely a big issue. It takes a few goes to see what works for you. Take only what is essential, try and get it to work on days when you aren’t running.  Try and ease into commuting.  

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If you are a new run commuter and want the running world to hear your story, let us know!
We are now accepting submissions for April and May. If you are interested, submit the form below and we’ll contact you.
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The New Run Commuters – January 2014

Runner Basics run commuter, run to work, running backpack, claire brandow, new york runner, alternative commute, run commuting

  • Name: Claire Brandow
  • Age: 25
  • City/State: Brooklyn, NY
  • Profession/Employer: I work in fundraising for an environmental nonprofit.
  • Number of years running: 10
  • # of races you participate in a year: About 4 in the last year, with plans to do at least 9 in the next year to qualify for the NYC Marathon through the New York Road Runners 9+1 program.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I love running trails, but hardly get the opportunity. Hoping to make more trips out of the city for trail running excursions this year.

 Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: I gleaned a lot of tips from The Run Commuter backpack roundup, then snagged a cheap Camelbak Blowfish 2L off of Ebay. My only regret is that I didn’t get a women’s backpack. The chest strap doesn’t go quite high enough, but it’s still a relatively comfortable and perfectly sized bag.
  • Shoes: I once had dreams of being a zero-drop barefoot babe, but I just can’t. Instead I wear Saucony Triumph 10, and they feel like Cadillacs.
  • Clothing: Target athletic wear is my dirty secret for warm weather gear and base layers. So cheap! So comfortable!
  • Outerwear/Lights: I like the Nike Element for wicking and warmth, layering it under the Saucony ViZi jacket for keeping out wind and providing a little light/reflection. I don’t use much else for lights, as I don’t often run in the dark.
  • Headgear: Battered old headbands- anything to keep my ears warm.
  • Hydration: Water. I generally run commute in the morning, so I try to drink lots the night before.

manhattan-view2

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I found myself with a million excuses to skip runs, and they all hinged on my commute: it’s too dark at night after I commute, I would need to wake up too early to accommodate my commute. Run commuting made all of those excuses null.

How often do you run commute? 

I shoot for three times a week.

How far is your commute?

5 miles from my apartment in Brooklyn to my office in Manhattan. I just run one way- into work in the mornings.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I try to pack! I don’t have a system for running with lunch yet, so I subway commute two days a week to bring in more lunches and clothes.

What do you like most about run commuting?

Run commuting (and running, in general) is the best way to see the city. Running over the bridges here gives great views, I run through neighborhoods I wouldn’t otherwise visit, and it’s fun to see how the city changes over the course of the year.

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

 I’ve convinced a few of my colleagues to try run commuting! Our environmental nonprofit prioritizes alternate commuting (though the NYC Subway is an excellent mass transit option), so they provide showers for those of us who run and bike. An in-office shower is sort of the run commuting Holy Grail.

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

I take the subway. Run commuting takes almost exactly the same time.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

I think people are intimidated by the logistics of run commuting. The truth is that, after a little bit of time and trial and error, you’ll develop a system that should feel pretty effortless. Stick with it!

Anything more about you that would like to include?

In my travels the last year, I’ve been struck by how many run commuters I have seen in London and Sydney. I wonder what accounts for this. Running’s popularity is ever on the increase, but I also imagine that the alternate commuting conversation is a little farther ahead outside of our US borders. (Though I’m happy to report that there seem to be more fellow run commuters in NYC over the last year!) I know The Run Commuter has linked to some international press about run commuting, but it would be great to hear from a foreign New Run Commuter sometime.


If you are a new run commuter and want the running world to hear your story, let us know!
We are now accepting submissions for March and April. If you are interested, submit the form below and we’ll contact you.
 
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By | 2016-12-24T10:31:01+00:00 January 17th, 2014|Categories: General, News, People|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

REPREVE Fabric and the Importance of Recycling

It’s time to up our game, run commuters.

Yes, you are already doing an exceptional part in creating a better, cleaner, and healthier environment by replacing your automobile commutes with running, but I really had my eyes opened last week and it made me realize that we can do even more.

We were sent a green beanie, whose fleece fabric, REPREVE, was made from recycled plastic bottles. In fact, six bottles go into the making of each one of their green, eco-friendly beanies. Awesome, right? The TRC team have always been big recyclers, but not everyone in the communities around us have taken up the torch. In fact, the U.S. plastic bottle recycling rate is less than 30 percent—so less than one-third of all plastic bottles get recycled.  So, Repreve is on a mission to get the word out: Just recycle more. That’s a message we support 100%. 

You’ve probably heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a large area in the Pacific Ocean where vast quantities of trash particles accumulate in the upper water column. Scientists believe that 80% of the materials in the Patch (which is primarily composed of plastic), arrived there from land-based sources, including storm drain runoff.

I normally don’t notice trash around me when I run and I never look for it. But during a recent 5.3-mile morning run commute, I decided to conduct some field research and count the number of plastic bottles I could find littering my route. The results were pretty shocking.

REPREVE, turnitgreen, recycled fabric, recycling, the run commuter, run commuting, neighborhood trash, recycling plastic, recycled plastic bottle products

92.

92 plastic bottles, slowly breaking down, and making their way into our storm drains and waterways. That’s 17.36 plastic bottles per mile.

The majority of the bottles (60%, or 55 bottles) were found along partially fenced railroad tracks within a large shipping yard. However, 35% (32 bottles) were found in residential and small commercial areas. I found flattened bottles on the sidewalks near resident’s parked cars, in close proximity to recycle bins, in people’s front yards – everywhere you would think that homeowners and business owners would see them and pick them up. Yet, there they sat.

The cleanest area was the downtown core of Atlanta with only 5 bottles (5%) found in just over a mile.

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REPREVE, turnitgreen, recycled fabric, recycling, the run commuter, run commuting, neighborhood trash, recycling plastic, recycled plastic bottle products

Here’s what I’m asking you to do as run commuters: Pick up some plastic bottles on your run home and add them to your recycling. They don’t weigh much and, when flattened, can be stuffed into any side or external pouch on your pack. Pick up some trash and put it into a nearby trash can if you can. Let’s create our own, neighborhood Adopt-a-Highway projects along our running routes and help keep them clean and beautiful. Let’s add this small task to what a run commuter “does.”

Repreve will take over on the other end, crafting fabric from our recycled bottles, allowing a plethora of companies to make products which fit our pursuit of a healthier, greener lifestyle.

And, if you are feeling creative and lucky, REPREVE is giving away $5,000 and some cool gear as part of their #turnitgreen X-Games contest. Details below.

Contest Dates: CONTEST HAS ENDED.

Grand Prize: $5,000 cash. To celebrate the X Games, REPREVE invites participants to share how they “turn it green”, or how they live a more sustainable life by recycling or reusing materials, by sharing an image or video on Twitter, Instagram or Vine with the #TurnItGreen hashtag and @Repreve. Once you share the image or video with the hashtag and company link, you will be entered into a sweepstakes where four entries will be randomly selected as the Top Four. Those four will be voted on by visitors to Repreve.com where the image or video with the most votes will win a $5,000 cash prize. The other three video entries will receive a REPREVE Jacket and a Go-Pro camera (retail valued at over $350).”

Thanks to REPREVE for sponsoring today’s post around recycling, an important topic to us!

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:43+00:00 January 12th, 2014|Categories: General, News|Tags: , , , , , , , |1 Comment

The New Run Commuters – December 2013

Many of our non-run commuting readers often wonder what kind of person decides to try running to work, and are even more curious about those runners that continue to do so year after year. In our first installment of The New Run Commuters, we take a look at two runners – Ernie and Jeffrey – that are separated by almost 800 miles and experiencing dramatically different winters, but bound together by their determination to try out run commuting.


 Runner Basics

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Geared up and ready to go

  • Name: Ernie S.
  • Age: 33
  • City/State: Grand Rapids, MI
  • Profession/Employer: Environmental Engineer for State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Number of years running: 10, but more seriously the last 12 months.
  • # of races you participate in a year: 2 in the last 12 months.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I much, much prefer a wooded trail for the dynamic workout and scenery. However, trail running is a luxury I can’t often afford time-wise. I typically run on the city sidewalks, or nearby asphalt trail systems.  

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: While not on the TRC Backpack roundup, I picked up a brand new Camelbak Cloud Walker on craigslist (cant pass up a good deal). I removed the hydration pack for commuting. I consulted the TRC roundup to see what features to look for. I do sometimes regret not getting a pack with a waist strap – however if I pack light and run smooooooth it’s not too bothersome.
  • Shoes: I’m hoping to transition gradually to zero drop footwear. I train sporadically with Merrell Trail Gloves, but log most commuting miles with the Innov-8 Road-X 255, which I love.
  • Clothing: Still finding my preferences. I believe in…layers! Base layers, specifically.
  • Outerwear: Zorrel Cortina jacket.
  • Headgear: I’ve gone full facemask. Sugoi Face Mask
  • Lights: Princeton Tec Byte headlamp.
  • Hydration: I’ll use the Camelbak insert when necessary (10 miles+ training runs).

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?
 
It is my excuse to stay motivated and running through the winter and with a newborn on the way in January. It also makes sense for time management (kill two birds) and also from a monetary perspective (no parking passes, no gas or bus fares).
 
How often do you run commute?
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Early morning in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.

 
Daily, with the intention of twice a day (there/back).
 
How far is your commute?
 
4 miles.
 
Do you pack or buy a lunch?
 
Pack. I typically keep week-long supplies of nut/fruit mix, couscous, oatmeal, coffee, and supplement on a daily basis.
 
What do you like most about run commuting?
 
Strange looks in the freezing pre-dawn hours in downtown GR. Being free of a vehicle.
 
Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?
 
Not yet.
 
When not run commuting, how do you get to work?
 
Drive, bike, or bus. Preferably the latter. Oh, and my wife picks me up sometimes (thanks, honey).
 
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Calder Plaza cooldown

 
  If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?
 
  I took TRC advice and spent a week or three doing my regular (bike) commute but thinking about the logistics of doing it via run. It really helped ease the transition and   now I simply enjoy the feeling of using my feet to get to work!
 
 
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Runner Basicsthe run commuter, run commuting, running to work, winter running, winter commute, cold weather running, atlanta runner, running in atlanta georgia, atlanta commute, commuting in georgia, bike commuting, atlanta cyclist, Jeffrey Wisard

  • Name: Jeffrey Wisard
  • Age: 29
  • City/State: Atlanta, GA
  • Profession/Employer: Lead Development and Digital Marketing, Kwalu
  • Number of years running: 3
  • # of races you participate in a year: 2-3
  • Do you prefer road or trail? Road; if it’s a road race, then I can usually bike there.

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: I currently carry everything. Looking to change that soon.
  • Shoes: New Balance Minimus
  • Clothing: Just a regular wicking polyester shirt/socks and running shorts…nothing fancy.
  • Outerwear: None
  • Headgear: Peal Izumi Red Beanie (when it’s cold)
  • Lights: I use my bike light, which is the NiteRider Lumina 350 Light
  • Hydration: None

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

My good friend Kyle told me about it and got me hooked on the idea. I love functional fitness – getting your exercise in going from point A to point B. 

How often do you run commute?

1 to 2 times/month. I usually bike, otherwise.

How far is your commute?

3 miles to the train, and then 1 mile to work.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I usually run home after work, so I bring all my gear/lunch with me in the morning. 

What do you like most about run commuting?

The freedom. Run commuting in no way limits me. I can take stops, detours, and find adventures along my run home. It’s fantastic. 

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

Kyle, Hall, Josh.

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

Bike, bus, train or car… in that order.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

Make sure you bring a light. Staying well-illuminated is key to not getting into trouble with car commuters. Also, be minimal. Only carry what you need, e.g., a key instead of the whole keychain, your credit card and ID instead of your whole wallet. 

More about Jeffrey:

Jeffrey Wisard loves making “big ideas” a reality and then building community around that reality. His current big idea: The Atlanta Cycling Festival (www.AtlantaCyclingFestival.com). He also has a penchant for very hoppy IPAs, strong coffee and beautiful women (I.e. His amazing girlfriend). Learn more about him at: www.linkedin.com/in/jwisard/


If you are a new run commuter and want the running world to hear your story, let us know! Send us an email to info@theruncommuter.com and we’ll go from there.
By | 2016-10-22T20:26:43+00:00 December 17th, 2013|Categories: General, News, People|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments

Back to School

Kids Running

Learn as much as you can while you are young, since life becomes too busy later. ~Dana Stewart Scott

I love the smell of juice boxes in the morning. ~Robert Duval

I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. Like if you put on flipflops, you’re saying: ‘Hope I don’t get chased today.’ ‘Be nice to people in sneakers.’ ~Demetri Martin

Are you one of the elusive run commuting parents out there? Do your days now look something like this?

Both of my kids are now in school. Our 4.5-year-old and 11-year-old started Pre-K and 6th grade (respectively) on Monday. In a flurry of planning, packing, lunch-making, and last-second coordination, they were off and arrived on time for their first days at school. On days where everything goes well and as-planned, life is good. But nevertheless, their new schedules affect our old schedules. Here is what a typical day in a running and cycling household looks like.

  • 5:30am: Josh wakes up, gets ready for work, packs lunches
  • 6:00am: 11-year-old “wakes up”, prepares himself for the day
  • 6:45am/7:00am: 11-year-old needs to be out the door to catch a bus
  • 7:00am: Rebecca and 4.5-year-old wake up, start getting ready
  • 7:30am: Josh’s No Later Than (NLT) time to leave in order to run commute
  • 8:00am: Rebecca leaves with 4.5-year-old to drop him off at school
  • 8:15am: Josh arrives at work
  • 8:20am: Rebecca drops car off at home, gets ready for work, bike commutes to office
  • — Kid’s in school, adults at work —
  • 4:30pm: 11-year-old arrives at drop off point 1 mile from home
  • 4:50pm: Josh leaves work, catches train, runs home from train station nearest home
  • 5:30pm: Josh arrives home, hops into car and heads out to pick up 4.5-year-old
  • 6:00-6:30pm: Everyone is finally home…

This isn’t terribly different from what our schedule was before they were in school, since there was daycare and summer camp, but we have definitely had to make some adjustments this week. And this makes for some interesting conundrums; like this one – How does the 11-year-old get home at 4:30 while we’re both still at work?

Walking, our prefered method, is unfortunately dangerous – traffic is ridiculously fast, red light runners are rampant, street crossings are inadequate, and there is very little foot traffic at all. Thankfully, we have an awesome neighbor whose son in our son’s class that he catches a ride with once he gets off the bus. We may be able to pair him up with another walker or two as time goes on, but for now this will work. Aside from a couple of quirks like that, there are time constraints that we have to deal with, too.

I pick up the 4.5-year-old, but what if I have to stay a few minutes late at work? Will I be able to catch a train and run home with enough time to make it to his school without incurring exorbitant, ransom fees and (equally painful) cold, hard stares from his keepers?

And another – Running behind schedule. If I can’t make my 7:30 hit time for leaving the house, I can only run part way to work. I have to run to a train station a couple of miles away and ride transit in to work to make it in time. It’s frustrating cutting a run short early in the morning.

So while we, as parents, celebrate the return of our children to school, hopefully, we, as run commuters, can still make our preferred commutes happen on a regular basis. 

For the run commuter parents/child-rearers out there – Does your kid’s school schedule conflict with your run commute? What are your challenges? How much do you adjust your commute to make things work? Are you a seasonal (school breaks) run commuter?

 

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:44+00:00 August 7th, 2013|Categories: General, News|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

New Features on TRC

It’s been a busy (and ridiculously hot) summer this year, and while we’ve been a bit short on reviews, tips, and stories about run commuting lately, we want to show you a couple of new features we’ve added to the site in case you missed them. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on the Spartan Race, a writeup on the newest version of a running pack designed by an Atlanta college student, and food transportation options.

Running Backpack Roundup

In the market for a new running backpack, but not sure which one is right for you? The Running Backpack Roundup will help you find your perfect pack!

The Roundup includes all the features in a pack that are important for run commuters: waist and sternum straps, volume, compression, rain cover, and more. We will continue to add packs to the list as we come across them and review them when we can. In the future, we’ll roll out a user-based rating system, so you’ll be able sort the table and find out which packs are user favorites and which ones to avoid.

Updated Featured Image

  

Twitter Hashtag Stream

Look to the sidebar on the right of your screen and you’ll see a new Twitter stream. Add the hashtag #runcommute to your run commuting tweets and join many others around the world talking about running to work and all the adventures that come from choosing to avoid a lifestyle of traffic jams on the roadway.

 RunCommute Hashtag Stream Snapshot

Become a Run Commuter

While the content of this topic isn’t new, the way it is accessed on the website has changed to make it simpler for newcomers to quickly and easily access the core posts on run commuting. 

Become a run commuter

That’s all we have for now. Let us know if there are any other features, stories, or additions you’d like to see on The Run Commuter! Email us at info@theruncommuter.com.

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:44+00:00 July 24th, 2013|Categories: General, News|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

On everyone’s minds

Two weeks ago, I got three comments while running home from work. It’s not unusual: friends passing might hail hello; would-be wits and jerks in general offer more inflammatory fare, often from a passing car’s window. One of the comments that day came from an addled homeless lady sitting spread-eagle in the middle of the sidewalk outside a warehouse down my street: “Did you just get off a fire engine?” she squawked. No, ma’am, I assure you: I did not. I am to firemen what Steve Rogers, pre-Super Soldier Serum, is to Captain America.

The other two comments were the same, hurled heartily from speeding vehicles on North Avenue, a east-west artery of rolling hills, several lanes, and one speed: fast. It was while I was huffing up said hills that the aforementioned comments came, both of them, “Go, Boston!”

Scrotum graffiti is an eyesore, but hearts are welcome.

Scrotum graffiti is an eyesore, but hearts are welcome.

Then I spied this on a viaduct not much further on that passes over North Avenue, and pulled up short to consider. That structure carries on its shoulders the BeltLine Eastside Trail, a spiffed-up rail-trail that is Atlanta’s shiny new thing, universally adored by the city’s yuppies (and, for some reason, parents who think such a busy multi-use trail is an ideal environment for their kids to learn to bicycle). On one side of the viaduct, Murder Kroger, a grocery store that perfectly ties together all qualities and characters of North Avenue’s parallel thoroughfare, Ponce de Leon Avenue. On the other side, the Masquerade, a music venue-nee-cotton mill outside which suburban teens, greasers, Nth generation punks, emo kids, goths, and Hall queue to see their favorite bands.

One side of the viaduct has a colorful, well-crafted mural touting the BeltLine. This side, though, is a scratch pad for aspiring taggers, their handles like Crass, Squeak, Squeal, Queequeg, and Hall — seldom, if ever, seen again — snippets of bad teen poetry and the proclamations of self-fancied philosophers. Quite the contrast.

But the area is changing; North Avenue is changing. Developments like Ponce City Market, Historic 4th Ward Park, and the BeltLine are gradually, inexorably altering the areas in which they are situated. I saw Tuesday morning bags of trash piled high along that side of the viaduct that formerly served as taggers’ collective scratch pad. Weeds were pulled. Dirt was swept away. And the wall was painted that Eastern Bloc gray-blue color that is rolled over all permutations of “Queequeg was here,” and denotes that graffiti was there.

IMG_7519

Except this. The entire length of the wall: gray-blue, then, bam: preserved with painstaking care, “Boston On My Mind” remained. And I hope it remains there for a long, long while. Community immersion is a benefit of run commuting, and running in general. Similarly, the marathon has been called the most democratic of sporting events, as it offers the least barrier between spectators and athletes, a minimum separation between those who cheer and those cheered on — including the former’s entrance to that athletic endeavor.

Perhaps drivers that day spied this, inspiring them to call, “Go, Boston!” as I huffed over those hills, rather than something derogatory or deflating, or nothing at all. I enjoy when strangers shout encouragement. I enjoy that they engaged me, as a member of the neighborhood, as a fellow citizen and person, despite the odds that we will never know one another or even again cross paths.

Perhaps passersby of all kinds, everyone, will take note, keep those barriers down, and keep the literal and figurative Boston on their minds and in their hearts.

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:45+00:00 May 1st, 2013|Categories: General, News|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Mike: family man, marathon man

DeKalb Avenue is off my typical run commute route, but the morning was foggy and DeKalb offers a wonderful view of the skyline’s sentinels huddled in their wooly blankets. It also allowed me to meet Mike, another run commuter!

run commuter

Two miles out, two miles home daily = 20 miles during the work week.

I spied Mike’s florescent orange shirt from several blocks back and hot-heeled it after him, grabbing for my camera. I caught him at Georgia State University’s campus, and we huffed out a bit of exchange over the next two blocks.

Mike shared that he started run commuting about two or three months ago, while training for the March 17, 2013, Georgia Marathon. His kids’ needs and schedules sometimes precludes longer runs prior to or following work, so he began running two miles to the train station in the morning, and two miles home from it after work. That round-trip train ride also affords Mike 45 minutes in which to read, to his delight. Mike’s family lately scaled back to being a one-car family; this multi-modal run commute helps make that easier. It is something with which Josh’s family has experience, having gone from one car to being car-free (eventually going back to one car, after Ben joined their family). But that is how Josh came to run commuting, too.

Running light -- and bright! -- though a hip or waist strap would reduce bag sway.

Running light — and bright! — though a hip or waist strap would reduce bag sway.

Mike and I had about as many minutes as blocks in which to speak before our paths parted, so I neglected to advise him about improvising a waist strap. As you can see, above, his backpack lacks that feature; I could see from blocks away that it changed his form significantly, and swayed visibly back and forth. Many options to allay this: a bungee cord, preferably one of the flat kind; some string; a web belt, of the Army surplus type; an old bike tire: limitless options.

Mike, if you read this and would like to add anything, or more likely, if I botched some info, comment or contact us! The question we all have: what was your time in the marathon??

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:45+00:00 April 30th, 2013|Categories: General, News|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments
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