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
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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.