W elcome 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
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    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.

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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

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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.

[contact-form subject='New Run Commuter Submission!'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Location (City%26#x002c; State%26#x002c; Country)' type='text' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Tell us a little about yourself and your run commute!' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

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Editor-in-Chief of The Run Commuter by night, paralegal by day. Father of two (soon to be three) boys. Husband to the world's greatest bicycle advocate. Avid runner. Lover of beer and urban gardening. Can be found running with a backpack around the streets of Atlanta, Georgia.

2 Responses to “The New Run Commuters – February 2014, Part 2” Subscribe

  1. Annie Crow February 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    I love these features. I run to work a few times a month and have been looking to increase that substantially – it’s mostly logistics that make it hard to do more, so I’m grateful for some of the tips I read here.

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  1. Daily News, Thurs, Mar 13 - March 13, 2014

    […] This guy’s ben running “on and off for 15 years”, he runs to work every day, and he’s never entered a race. Funny. […]

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