As part of our 2014 effort to encourage not only run commuting, but running for a purpose (aside from fitness alone,) we want to show you all of the different useful and practical ways to run to get somewhere. Maybe it’s running to the library or running to the gym. Or, it could be running to pickup groceries.
Rats! You are three ingredients short for that new Mark Bittman recipe you saw on the New York Times website and you want to make it tonight. You live just over two miles away from the grocery store. Normally, you would drive your car for this errand, but you feel guilty because you still haven’t managed to get in your long run yet! Can you combine your long run and get groceries, too? You sure can! Here’s how:
Get dressed for your long run and plan a route that includes a stop at the grocery store somewhere during the last 1/3 or 1/4 of your run. Grab an empty backpack and strap it on. Don’t forget your wallet! Then, off you go.
Once you arrive at the grocery store, cool down outside for a few minutes before heading in. As you shop, keep in mind how many items you think your pack can carry. You don’t want to pack it full and have items left over that don’t fit.
Self-checkout works best when getting groceries on the run. This method lets pack your own bag as you see fit and allows you to fill any and all empty space in your bag.
Pack wisely: Unlike traditional backpacking which calls for heavy items up top, running with a pack requires heavier items go on the bottom. Those items will shift down to the bottom of your pack as you bounce along, creating havoc on softer, more fragile items as they move downwards, so placing them on the bottom keeps them from moving.
Use your discretion when it comes to choosing items to purchase for your grocery run. Some things do not pack and carry well, such as berries, chips (or any dry, crisp snack in a bag half-filled with air,) ground meats in thin, plastic packaging, soft plastic containers with liquid, and boxes of loose, dry pasta to name a few.
When finished, try on your full pack, make any necessary adjustments, and continue on the last leg of your run.
Don’t push yourself too hard on the way home. In this instance, I had an additional 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) of weight on my back. Go slow and make the last remaining miles count. If you feel up to it, throw in a few hills along the way to help build additional strength.
Everything held up really well during the last, hilly 2.5 miles of my run. While the pack only weighed 12 pounds, it really felt like 20. What would you do if you needed to do a heavier grocery shop with more items?
Use a jogging stroller!
Even if you don’t have kids, decent jogging strollers can be found for less than $60 on Craigslist. They carry anywhere from 50 – 100 pounds and some models even double as a bike trailer.
Combining trips is something that more people should think about whether they are driving, taking the train, walking, or running. Yes, it’s better for the environment, but it is also more efficient, and saves you time and money overall. Try adding grocery shopping to your list of Things You Can Do While Running!