M any 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.

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2 Responses to “The New Run Commuters – 12/2013” Subscribe

  1. Tracy December 17, 2013 at 10:54 am #

    Way to go Ernie! I’m a new Michigan run commuter as well, in Ann Arbor, MI.

  2. Ernie December 17, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Awesome, Tracy! It’s good to know there are other RC’s here in the mitten state. Enjoy the winter weather!

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