The New Run Commuters – August 2014

Here we are again and summer is nearly over. Wouldn’t fall be a great time to start run commuting? Give it a shot and send a brief email to info@theruncommuter.com telling us about yourself and your commute, and we’ll feature your story on The Run Commuter.

This month, we are featuring New Run Commuters Patrick Benko and Megan Allore. Patrick run commutes through Washington D.C. and documents the daily sights around the capital on Instagram.  Megan started run commuting to keep herself race-ready in between events, and enjoys the community feeling that running through Miami, Florida neighborhoods brings to her.

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Patrick Benko
image

Patrick Benko in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

  • Age: 33

  • City/State: Germantown, MD

  • Profession/Employer: American Public Health Association

  • Number of years running: 20+

  • # of races you participate in a year: 15

  • Do you prefer road or trail? As long as I am surrounded by green the surface doesn’t matter but I find a technical trail run my favorite.

Run Commuting Gear

On Run Commuting

IMG_8512

A typical scene from Patrick’s morning run commute

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I live 30 miles from my office so I thought my commute was too long for run commuting. Finally, I had a eureka moment when I was delayed multiple times by trains and buses just a few miles from work. I did the math and realized I could actually get to work faster running the last few miles instead of making transfers.

How often do you run commute?

Everyday, to and from the office.

How far is your commute?

It varies, the straight route is one mile but I will extend the morning run to 5-12 miles depending on my training schedule. I use different train stations, modes of travel and routes to keep things fresh. It is rare that I run the same route twice in the same week.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I pack a lunch but I never trust it. Sometimes I worry I am spending all the money I save on fancy Ziploc bags and Tupperware containers. If I was hit by a car I might be messed up but my lunch would be fine.

What do you like most about run commuting?

The long list of reasons I enjoy run commuting is what I love most. I’ve found myself giving different reasons why I run commute and they seem to change by the run and the seasons. 

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

Washington, D.C. has a strong and hearty contingent of run commuters. Some of the military folks have rucksacks that put my little backpack to shame. I see Capitol Hill folks with dry cleaning hanging off the back of their bag. My favorite D.C. run commuter moment was during the polar vortex when I looked up and down the National Mall and the only other people I saw were three other run commuters.    

IMG_8923

Running past an Impeach Obama demonstration

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

If I’m not running to work I’m probably too injured to go to work. Joking aside, I do have a Capital Bikeshare membership which is also great for setting up some fantastic point to point runs.

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

Do your homework. That’s a good catchall for planning your route, adjusting for your ability and having the right gear. My least favorite phrase is “I tried that but…” followed by some pitfall we all encounter in our early running days.

Anything else that you would like to include?

As a run commuter you are participating in what many call Active Transportation. I challenge not only run commuters, but also anyone who runs, to be an advocate for using your feet to get places. This means talking about how you get to work with those who drive to put a name and face to the runner on the street. Keep an eye out for opportunities to tell your elected officials that sidewalks and paths are important pieces of transportation infrastructure. And when you do drive set a good example by yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks (both marked and unmarked), staying off the phone and not speeding.    

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Megan Allore
Allore - geared up

New Run Commuter Megan Allore

  • Age: 24

  • City/State: Miami, FL

  • Profession/Employer: Evaluation Manager, City Year Miami

  • Number of years running: 4

  • # of races you participate in a year: 4-6; 5k, 10k, and half-marathon distances

  • Do you prefer road or trail? Road, mostly because I’ve never lived in close proximity to any trails, and I love to just walk out my door and go!

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Gregory Navarino 12

  • Shoes: Saucony Guide 7

  • Clothing: Race shirts and shorts with a long inseam. I love my Moving Comfort “Work It” short, but I think they’ve changed the style slightly since I got them.

  • Outerwear: None (It’s Miami!)

  • Headgear: Occasionally a cap if it’s very bright or raining

  • Lights: None

  • Hydration: Nathan QuickDraw Plus

On Run Commuting

Allore - gear

All of Megan’s gear, including her pink reusable sandwich bag

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

In March, I had just come off participating in the Florida Storm Series, in which I completed 4 half-marathons in 4 months. I was looking for a way to keep active since I didn’t have another major race in mind until this December. Run commuting seemed like the perfect way to stay motivated.

How often do you run commute?

I consistently run to and from work twice a week, sometimes adding in a third day. I’m aiming to consistently run to and from four days a week.

How far is your commute?

My route is 1.75 miles.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I pack most days. I carry sandwiches or salads since they don’t get too squished or destroyed in my backpack. It’s worth getting a couple reusable sandwich bags; I find the food stays a little more intact since it’s not banging against a plastic container with every step.

What do you like most about run commuting?

Running is the one of best ways I’ve found to engage daily in my community. I love seeing Miami wake up as shops open and people make their way to work. I’m way more present in the morning when I run commute; I’ve already spent 20-30 minutes with my head up waving and smiling to other people on the street instead of spending that time head down on my phone or in a book avoiding eye contact on the train. Running home from work helps slough off any stress or tightness that accumulated while I sat at my desk all day.

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

I’ve seen the very occasional run commuter around town, but I don’t know any personally. Quite a few of my colleagues and friends ride their bikes to work and a few have talked about trying out run commuting.

Allore - commuting

Running past beautiful Biscayne Bay

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

Downtown Miami has a free MetroMover that picks up a few blocks from my apartment. My boyfriend and I recently became a one-car couple, so if I don’t lace up, I’m on the Mover.

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

Lay everything out the night before. It is so easy to talk yourself out of running when the morning comes.

Anything else that you would like to include?

Be safe out there. South Florida has a high rate of hit and runs, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists, but the danger is unfortunately not unique to our state. Wherever you are running, be mindful of crosswalks and keep your eyes out for what vehicles around you are doing. If you notice a bad intersection or damaged sidewalk, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local government to help make things safer for all runners, walkers, wheelchair users, stroller-pushing parents, and cyclists.

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By | 2017-02-26T11:34:36+00:00 August 15th, 2014|Categories: General, People|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

The New Run Commuters – July 2014

In this month’s edition of The New Run Commuters, we feature Marcel Beaudoin of Gatineau, Quebec, and Dell Wilson from Madison, Alabama. Both are current or former bike commuters who began run commuting to train for longer races, and they have great bits of advice to pass on to those thinking about giving run commuting a try.  

And, interestingly, both are Buff wearers. I guess we’ll have try one of those things out…

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Runner Basics

  • New Run Commuter Marcel Beaudoin

    New Run Commuter Marcel Beaudoin

    Name: Marcel Beaudoin

  • Age: 40
  • City/State: Gatineau, Quebec….Canada
  • Profession/Employer: Patent Examiner, Government of Canada
  • Number of years running: 3. Previously, I commuted to work on a bike in the summer. However, my bike got stolen from the bike locks at my office…it is a bit harder to steal the shoes from my office.
  • # of races you participate in a year: Three – 2 ½ marathons (Ottawa Race Weekend ½ Marathon, Canada Army Run ½ Marathon), and a Spartan Sprint)
  • Do you prefer road or trail? Road. At 40, after 6 years in the military, plus another 5 years playing lunchtime soccer on a field that only Salvador Dali would consider flat, I do not want to punish my ankles much more.

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: I used to run with a backpack I found at home, but it was not what I would call stable. I just (Father’s Day) got a Deuter Race X from my wife, so I look forward to running with something with chest and waist straps to help in the stability.
  • Shoes: Saucony Viziglo (fall 2013). I’ll be honest, they are comfortable, but I also admit to buying them because they are OMGWTF visible. Slowly, but surely, I am getting my wife used to them so that I can buy the most incredibly bright and gaudy pair of running shoes I can find.
  • Clothing: Socks – Whatever socks I can find in my drawer; Shorts – Nike DriFit shorts. They are comfy, and are pretty good at not riding up between my thighs; Shirt – Whatever technical t-shirt with sleeves I can find. Sleeveless shirts get a lot of chafing around my neck and my armpits. I tried, once, using a normal t-shirt…my bleeding nipples were the first sign that I had made a mistake. The pain in the shower was simply confirmation that I had made a significant error.
  • Outerwear: As I have only been run commuting for about since May 2014, I have been lucky to have avoided really cold weather. That being said, I live in Canada, which has winter a fair amount of the year, so in the fall I plan on picking up a bunch of winter running gear.
  • Headgear: When I started running, I would just go with what little hair on my head I had. 3 pairs of shorted-out earphones later, I switched to baseball caps. That lasted a month, and then my wife said that my sweaty hats were disgusting, and that I had to find something else. I then got informed about Buffs (From Buff Canada) and have been a convert ever since. And I am totally not an addict, I can stop buying new patterns whenever I feel like it.
  • Lights: Running in the summer means not having to worry about lighting. However, the latitude I am at means that in the winter it will be getting dark at around 4pm, so I will have to look into a lighting system once I see how the street lighting is.
  • Hydration: Currently I have a belt pouch with 2 small water bottles. I may look into throwing a CamelBak hydration system into my Race X, but I don`t need to yet.

On Run Commuting

Marcel - Path

A multi-use path along Marcel’s route.

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I started run commuting for a couple of main reasons. With 2 small kids, going running after work meant either abandoning my wife for an hour or so immediately after supper, or heading out at about 9:30 after they have gone to bed and their stuff for the next day is prepared. In addition, I had signed up for a ½ marathon that took place at the end of May, so I needed to get some pavement behind me. Work has a shower freely available, and a personal cubicle means I can hang up my stuff to dry during the day. I can also leave sandals and other stuff at work, which lightens the load for my commute.

How often do you run commute?

I run to work 4 times a week and, due to after-school activities, can only run back 3 times. So, call it 3.5 run commutes a week. In the summer, when after school activities are no longer going on, 4 days a week.

How far is your commute?

It is about 5.5 km one way. It is pretty flat, with a total drop of only about 60 metres from the start to the end. Some mild hills in between, but it is overall downhill from home to work. Here is a typical run, as tracked by my Garmin FR220. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/524180326

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

Typically I try to bring lunch to work. Either a bunch of sandwiches or something I can heat up at work. Occasionally, I will treat myself to a smoked meat sandwich or a fish and chips platter at work.

Marcel - Town

Downtown Gatineau

What do you like most about run commuting?

It is very peaceful. Running, for me, is fairly Zen. One foot in front of the other. No matter how bad my morning before work was, or how many coworkers I have to deal with, running always calms me down.

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

My run commuting inspiration, Nicolas Pedneault, recently joined The Run Commuter as a columnist. He runs about 11 or 12 km each way, pretty much year-round.

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

I take the bus to work, which is a nice way to catch up on podcasts or reading.

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

Don’t measure yourself against other people who are running to work. There will always be people who run farther to get to work, faster to get to work, have hillier hills or flatter flats. Just worry about yourself.

Anything else that you would like to include?

Oooo look, another new buff pattern.

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Runner Basics

  • Dell - Profile

    New Run Commuter Dell Wilson

    Name: Dell Wilson

  • Age: 50
  • City/State: Madison, AL
  • Profession/Employer: Software Architect @ Intergraph PP&M
  • Number of years running: 1
  • # of races you participate in a year: 1
  • Do you prefer road or trail? Road, I currently have little experience with trail.

Run Commuting Gear

On Run Commuting

Dell - Ready to go

Ready to head out.

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I’ve been a full-time, year-round bike commuter for the past 5 years and I self-identify as a cyclist primarily. Last November, the younger guys in my department challenged me to run 100 miles during the month and culminate with a half-marathon. Because we dress casually on Friday’s (don’t have to carry office clothes) and go out to eat (don’t have to carry lunch), that day became a perfect opportunity to gain additional mileage for the challenge. After the challenge was over, I continued it because I enjoy it and I learned that I can deal with harsher weather running than cycling, which helps to keep my fitness up during the winter.

How often do you run commute?

I bike commute Mon through Thu and run commute on Fri.

How far is your commute?

4.25 miles to work and 3.75 miles home.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I carry my lunch on the days I bike commute and buy lunch on the day I run commute.

Dell - Neighborhood Road

A shot from Dell’s route.

What do you like most about run commuting?

I feel a freedom because I can get around on my own power. That’s one of the things I’ve always liked about cycling and, with running, you’re even free of the mechanics of the bicycle.

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

I’ve not met any other run commuters in my city. However, I live in a small city so that is not surprising.

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

Bicycle!

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

I give the exact same advice to those considering bike commuting. I see many people jump in thinking they’d start full time and then fall as soon as life intervenes to cause you to drive. Instead, start with one day per week and take the attitude that you are going to run (or ride) on that day no matter what comes along. You can plan activities that require you to drive on the other days. If you’re like me, you’ll find that you begin to look forward to that day more than any other and your hunger builds to add another day and then another. The key thing is to get in a groove and dare the world to push you out of it.

Anything else that you would like to include?

My department now has a new challenge to run the local marathon (Rocket City Marathon) in December. While I found working up to half-marathon quite easy, I expect this to be difficult. I’ll begin training in August and I’ll weave my run commute into my training plan.

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:36+00:00 July 18th, 2014|Categories: General, People|Tags: , , , , , |3 Comments
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Run Commuting with Kids

We’ve got a great guest post for you today! Brendan Couvreux and his family of four run as their primary form of transportation. That’s right. Rather than drive or use public transit to get to work or run errands, they primarily run to get where they need to go (they do have a vehicle for longer road/camping trips).

Brendan and his wife Chloe, both avid climbers before having kids, made a few changes to their lives after their first child was born to continue to remain active and maintain their fitness levels. It worked so well for them that they continued to run everywhere around their hometown of Boulder, CO after having a second child. They chronicle their running, camping, and climbing adventures on their excellent blog, A Climbing Party of Four. Here is the post that Brendan shared with us:


Brendan and kids, running through Boulder, CO on a snowy day.

Brendan, running through Boulder, CO with his children in a Chariot stroller.  

I am a regular guy who appreciates the simple things in life. Along with trying to keep things simple, I’ve always had an appreciation for alternative means of transportation. Through my college years, I lived in San Francisco and learned to love biking all across the city. It was definitely the best way to get around, considering the traffic, parking hassles, money savings and of course the added benefits of some physical activity and a great MPG rating. I eventually ended up in Boulder, Colorado where biking around town was even easier than it was in San Francisco.

Soon my wife and I had our first child. We were both active individuals and spent lots of time climbing, mixed in with some occasional running, skiing and hiking. We had heard of the challenges and frustrations people run into in trying to stay active with children. We had heard that it was the small things that would start to trip people up. Things like running errands and going grocery shopping suddenly became incredible time consuming nightmares while trying to juggle the moods, naps and needs of a potentially screaming child. Add in some traffic, full parking lots, inclement weather and things can become downright stressful and dangerous. Who really wants to go “workout” after spending a day of doing that?

My wife and I wanted to try and just learn as we went and try to adopt as few of these assumptions as possible. We invested into an expensive, high-end stroller we could use as a bike trailer and running stroller. We also found one where our little kiddo could be fully enclosed and bundled in times of inclement weather. 

MilkChariotSoon after our first child was born, we began bringing him around town in the bike stroller a lot, and running with him in it on occasion as well. As time went on, we began running more and more. By the time our second child was born, we had learned and adapted to use running as our primary form of transportation.

Neither my wife nor I ever considered ourselves “runners.” We would enjoy occasional trail runs but nothing too crazy. As our life with children evolved, we began to realize the potential “exercise” and movement that was guaranteed by our daily life chores, simply by running everywhere, instead of using the car, or even the bike. Running, for us, would prove to be more versatile than biking. No matter the weather or the terrain, we could always run with the stroller and the kids. The bike was more questionable in times of snow and ice. Riding on the road in the dark never felt very safe either. Running proved to be much easier, and quicker, to tend to the children if one was unhappy, needed a pacifier, snack water bottle, or whatever. We could just stop and take care of them. There was no waiting for a red light or undoing seat belts to reach the back seat. Parking was obviously a non-issue. Time of day and nap schedule was hardly limiting in that one or both kids could nap in the stroller and we could go about our errands (in and out of stores) without having to wake them up and take them in and out of their car seat.

SleepingChariot

The miles would slowly add up through the days, through the weeks, and through the months. The kids became used to taking the stroller to go everywhere. Our bodies began to adapt to the running lifestyle. Running around town became baseline for us. We could always put one foot in front of the other while pushing the stroller. We adapted to all the seasonal conditions, and would run no matter if it was rain, shine, snow or wind. The kids could see this too, and started to become inspired on their own to mimic mom and dad.

When we marvel at people such as the Tarahumara and their incredible ability to run for long distances, and for it to be seemingly so consistent across so many generations; I wonder if this is part of what we are missing as a civilization. Something so simple, and so basic. Running is a wonderful form of transportation on its own, and it’s amazing what starts to happen when we use it as such. Is it about being committed to fitness, to the environment, or just going back to basics? Maybe it’s a little bit of it all.

Running

 
By | 2016-10-22T20:26:36+00:00 June 18th, 2014|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , |3 Comments

Review: Henty Wingman Backpack

Henty takes a simple method of storing and transporting clothing to an entirely different level with their Wingman Backpack.

This unique, smart bag transforms a heavy-duty garment carrier into a securely rolled-up backpack, making it a mobile gear transportation system for runners, cyclists, and walkers alike.

Though a bit expensive, cyclists have sworn by the messenger-style Wingman for years. Listening to customer feedback, Henty decided to add backpack straps to make the bag more appealing to cyclists who preferred that setup to carry their bags. With that simple modification, the Wingman Backpack opened up to the running market. I ran with it multiple times over several weeks under varying conditions to see how it performed. Here are the results.

Test Scenario 1: Suit coats and a laptop

I chose to test the Henty Wingman Backpack out on the run commute home, so I dressed in my normal business casual attire, packed up my lunch and gear, then headed to the train station.

Packed and ready to go

Packed and ready to go

The Wingman Backpack consists of two pieces – the garment bag, and the duffel. The garment bag seems like it is full of secret pouches, velcro attachments, straps, buckles and zippers. One pouch even contains an integrated raincover!

Garment Bag Opened

Garment Bag Opened

One of the zippers reveals this quick-access area, complete with a detachable passport-style organizer. This is a great feature if you are a run commuter who combines running and transit (easy access to bus/train pass).

Quick-access pouch with removable organizer

Quick-access pouch with removable organizer

Overall, there is a lot of space in this pack. The duffel is extremely durable yet simple, with no extra pockets or gadgets within. It held everything I needed to pack into it and had remaining space left over. The duffel bag buckles inside the empty, center space of the rolled-up unit. 

Looking down into the WIngman Backpack from above. The duffel fills the empty space within.

Looking down into the Wingman Backpack from above. The duffel fills the empty space within.

The hanger system is awesome, consisting of a single, high-grade plastic hanger that pivots to allow you to pack the curved “hanger part” away when not being used. Henty recommends one suit jacket and one shirt, or three shirts as the maximum load for the garment bag. 

The pack felt different when I donned it, but not in a bad way. I was unused to wearing a cylindrical-shaped backpack, and the feel of it against my back was unusual and tight, but out of the way of my swinging arms. It felt great while walking, though when I started to run, I could feel the effect of the change in center of gravity away from my back due to the extra weight of the suit coats and laptop. The laptop also altered the fit against my back, making the contact width wider than it would have been without a laptop. 

Padded laptop sleeve rests against your back

Padded laptop sleeve rests against your back

The laptop protective sleeve is fantastic and kept sweat out like a champ. Around mile three, the shoulder straps started chafing under my arms a bit, but not terribly bad. I tried it again a few days later under the same conditions and had the same results. It works well for shorter distances under this configuration.

Also, the suit coats looked great when I pulled them out after arriving at home. 

Ideal Distance (no laptop, no suit(s), normal clothes): 1 – 3 miles

Test Scenario 2: Regular clothes, no laptop, normal daily items

For the second test, I again took the train to work dressed in my normal business casual attire, and packed my lunch and running clothes in the duffel. At the end of the day, I hung the clothes on the hanger, packed away my things, cinched everything up, and headed out.

Without the laptop, the bag fit much better. It rested on my back in between my shoulder blades and maintained body contact down to my lower back. And, since it was a bit lighter this time without the suit coats and laptop, the pack’s center of gravity changed to a more normal location.

On the run, I had to occasionally adjust the straps to keep the pack in place. That is a fairly common thing to have to do, and why we recommend choosing a running backpack with easily adjustable straps for on-the-fly cinching.  

Unlike a regular pack, the Henty Wingman Backpack did not affect my arm swing, and it was a comfortable run for the entire 5.2 miles back to the train station. 

Henty - Test 02 Arrival.jpg

The end of a my run commute home with the Wingman Backpack

I did not use the sternum strap very frequently, however, as it is a bit too short. I have a small chest, and it was tight on me. It could probably use another 5 inches of length, but the pack fit securely enough without using it all.  

The only other thing I could see that might affect runners with a different body shape than mine is how far it extends down beyond the lower back. It might rub if the runner has a larger backside. With a standard cargo load, the Henty Wingman works well for medium distances.

Ideal Distance (no laptop, normal clothes): 3 – 6 miles

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Overall, it is extremely well-made, durable, and works pretty well for running. It would be ideal for run commuters who bring a suit or two in on Monday, and bring it back home on Friday. I would forgo carrying a laptop, as it will change the fit a bit too much for running. It’s also perfect for those run commuters who cycle in on Monday morning with clothes for a few days, and run home and to work until they need to change out clothing or supplies.

The cool part about the Wingman Backpack for me is that it combines two things that I normally use – a clothing carrier (Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder 15) AND a backpack (Osprey Manta 20) – into one easy-to-use system.

As always please try on a running pack to ensure that it fits your body properly and comfortably before you commit to it.

Click here for Henty’s US Website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

By | 2016-11-03T11:35:39+00:00 June 11th, 2014|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , , , , , |1 Comment

The New Run Commuters – May 2014

It’s already May! Hopefully your run commute no longer involves snow (sorry, those of you in the upper elevations of a few Canadian Provinces and several US states!). However, with warmer temps come more heat-related running issues, so stay tuned for  high-temperature tips and information that will keep your all-weather, year-round run commutes worry-free.

In this month’s feature, we meet Anna, a seasoned ultramarathoner and aspiring 100-mile finisher; and Aad, a frugal, minimalist run commuter in the Netherlands, who can be found running bridges and viaducts to get in his hill training. As always, if you are interested in being featured, fill out the form at the end of the post. See you next month!

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Anna Liao
    Anna L 0002

    Anna Liao

  • Age: 33
  • City/State: Berkeley, CA
  • Profession/Employer: Energy Efficiency Engineer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Number of years running: Ran cross country in middle school and high school, then stopped running until my half marathon and triathlon phase in 2007-2008. Started running again late-2011 to train for the Big Sur Marathon, discovered trail running and the awesome Berkeley Running Club and now running is an integral part of my routine.
  • # of races you participate in a year: 6 in 2013
  • Do you prefer road or trail? Trail. I love running on single track and enjoying the great views. I have run a few 50k trail races and am currently training for my first 100k trail race (Miwok 100k) in May.

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: I usually run commute with an old Camelbak M.U.L.E. where I cinched up the straps for stability. The Camelbak has a good amount of capacity for schlepping what I need to bring to work. I also have a Nathan Intensity hydration vest and the Ultimate Direction Jenny Ultra Vesta pack. The Jenny pack is new and really comfortable, though not much storage capacity. The small bottles in the front are really useful.
  • Shoes: I usually run commute with the Montrail Rogue Racers. I also run with the Altra Intuition when I want something swifter. I run road races and track workouts with the Intuition. Altra Delilah if I want something minimalist.
  • Clothing: Lightweight merino wool tank/shirt (Icebreaker, Smartwool, Ibex) or tech tee, shorts or run skort, arm coolers. In colder weather, I wear run capris and long sleeve lightweight merino wool top.
  • Outerwear: Marmot Stride Vest or Patagonia Houdini in rainy/windy conditions.
  • Headgear: White visor or white Outdoor Research Sunrunner cap. Asics hat with water resistant material for rainy weather.
  • Lights: Clip-on Nathan flashing LED light for the back of my pack and handheld mini LED flashlight for front illumination (moreso to alert other pedestrians on the streets). I use the Black Diamond ReVolt when running on trails.
  • Hydration: Plastic bottle in pack. Also, have a hydrapak bladder but usually only use it for long trail runs, and not run commuting. I usually only drink water during run commuting. For runs > 10 miles, I will use SaltStick and 3fu3l (carb/protein/fat mix) for long slow runs or Tailwind (electrolyte mix) for medium distance faster runs.

On Run Commuting

Anna L 0004

View of San Francisco Bay from Anna’s Run Commute Route

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

My boyfriend who runs 100-mile races started run commuting 5 years ago. He was the one that inspired me to try it. I started with walking to work and gradually added in running.

How often do you run commute?

I try to run commute every day though sometimes I will walk instead if I’m recovering from a weekend long run or I drive if I need my car to go somewhere directly from work.

How far is your commute?

Most direct route is 1.5 mi, 500’ gain. When I want to add on some mileage, I make it a big loop up a 15% grade 1-mi hill to make it a 4.8 mi, 1100’ gain route.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I usually buy lunch. Sometimes I will bring some fruit for snacks and bread and almond butter for a post-run breakfast.

What do you like most about run commuting?

It’s a great way to jumpstart my day and unwind after the work day. I also like seeing my fitness and speed improve over time. I discovered that I enjoyed commuting via walking, running, or even biking so much more than being in a car. Particularly in dense urban areas, driving is really stressful.

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

My boyfriend is the only other person I know in the area that run commutes. He doesn’t own a car so he run commutes everywhere (to my apartment, to the pub, etc.). There are many people at work that commute via biking or walking, but I have not seen any other run commuters.

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

I drive, walk, or take the shuttle.

Anna L 0005

Anna’s Clothes Drying System

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

Ease into it. Maybe start with walking first. You could also just run commute once a week at the beginning and then add more days as you get more comfortable.

Anything else that you would like to include?

I leave my towel, shampoo/conditioner, and soap in a tote bag at work and there is a shower in the women’s restroom in the building next to my office.

Long commute: http://www.strava.com/activities/122629247
Short commute: http://www.strava.com/activities/112627881

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Aad vd Sman 0017

Aad van der Sman

Runner Basics

  • Name: Aad van der Sman
  • Age: 57
  • City/Province/Country: Nieuwegein, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Profession/Employer: Travel Consultant BCD Travel
  • Number of years running: More than 20 years
  • # of races you participate in a year: I have not ran many over the past few years – only 4 to 6 in the year and mostly only in my own region. Some years ago, I ran 2 marathons a year; for instance New York and Berlin.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I prefer running the road. For me, this is the easiest – just close the door and go.

Run Commuting Gear

Aad's Backpack

Aad’s Backpack

Backpack: Lightweight running-backpack made from lycra from Innovation of Sport and a SPIbelt: I try to carry as little as possible. Something about my back-pack: Lycra is stretchy, breathable and weighs almost nothing. You hardly feel that you are carrying something. The backpack has four storage compartments, with a larger one on the left. The front has a small compartment, too. In my backpack I carry my SPIbelt sandwiches, phone, keys and a small water bottle. When I bike to work, I carry towels, shower gel, dry clothing, etc. for the next morning.

  • Shoes: For the last couple of months I’ve been using Sockwa, a “shoe” with a super-thin sole. They are zero drop, with the sole being just 1.2 millimeters thick everywhere! And they are the lightest shoe available.
  • Jacket and New York Marathon Shirt

    Jacket and New York Marathon Shirt

    Clothing: I don’t use a special brand. I have Nike and Asics, but also cheap clothing from the discounter. Sometimes they sell cheap running stuff of rather good quality.

  • Outerwear: My favourite outerwear is the nightlife clothing from Brooks: Tights and a jacket. This stuff is ideal to run in the darkness, and in the winter this stuff keeps me warm as well.
  • Headgear: I wear a wool hat, but only when it is extremely cold.
  • Lights: Just 2 bike-lights; one with a white led-light for the front and 1 red light for the back.
  • Hydration: During weekend long runs I use Isostar or AA-drink. I carry no drink with me during run commuting.
  • On Run Commuting

    Aad vd Sman 0016

    A view along Aad’s route

    Why did you decide to start run commuting?

    It saves so much time!  That is the most important reason to run from home to work and vice-versa. And I don’t have to run in the evening, when I would rather be watching a soccer game or an other program. Run commuting is a part of my nearly daily routine.

    How often do you run commute?

    Monday, after work, I run from work to home and the next morning, I run from home to work. Same schedule for Thursday and Friday. So 4 times a week I run from work to home, or from home to work.

    How far is your commute?

    The shortest route is just 4 miles, but I run mostly between 6 to 10 miles by making a detour. On Monday when I run from work to home, the route is the longest – about 10 miles. Friday, the route is shorter, but then I do mostly hill training. As Holland is a flat country there are no hills, so I use bridges and viaducts.

    Do you pack or buy a lunch?
    I make my own sandwiches.

    What do you like most about run commuting?

    I like the morning run the most. It is still very quiet on the road and you start your working-day very relaxed.

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

    I know some people from Facebook and Twitter do, but I don’t know them personally. As far as I know, none of my colleagues are run commuters.

    Aad vd Sman 0013

    Aad uses these lights to increase his visibility.

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

    I use my bike.

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

    Just try it and see if it works for you.

    Anything else that you would like to include?

    I have a tip if you carry a mobile phone. Mention in your contacts ICE – This stands for In Case of an Emergency and add a phone number of the person they have to call in case something happens to you.

    ———————————————–

    Are you interested in being featured in an upcoming The New Run Commuters feature? If so, please let us know by filling out the form below.

    (Note: “New” can be anywhere from a week to a year.)

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    By | 2016-10-22T20:26:38+00:00 May 13th, 2014|Categories: General, News, People|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

    Review: Thorlos Socks

    One of the most overlooked pieces of running gear has got to be socks. Around here, we talk about socks quite a bit. At trail races, we occasionally overhear brief discussions about interesting looking specialty socks; another runner’s knee-high, neon green compression toe socks, for example. However, I rarely hear conversations about someone’s everyday running socks. That is, unless you are talking about Thorlos

    People that we know who wear Thorlos, love them. Whether they wear them for running, tennis, or walking, they can’t say enough good things about them. In fact, many who try them, soon become loyal Thorlos wearers for life.

    Thorlos, Thorlos 84N, Thorlos Trail Running, Thorlos More Casual Comfort, Thorlo

    Thorlos 84N Runner, Experia, Trail Runner, and More Casual Comfort

    Recently, Thorlos sent us four pairs of their clinically tested, award-winning, made-in-America padded socks to test out; three for running on roads or trails, and one pair for wearing around the office. It’s hard to tell whether socks are “good” or not without putting in some decent mileage under a variety of conditions. So, we ran these through as many conditions as we could over the past month to ensure we could provide the best opinion possible.

     Thorlos 84N Runner

    Thorlos, Thorlos 84N, Thorlo, road running socks

    On the foot

    Thorlos, Thorlos 84N, Thorlo, road running socks, Merrell Mix Master Road Shoes

    Thorlos 84N Runners and Merrell Mix Master Road Shoes.

    Made for “feet that hurt,” the 84N is definitely the most comfortable running sock out of the three I tested. They are thickly padded, giving your feet a protected environment which allows you to continue your running routine uninterrupted.

    Since my feet don’t normally hurt and are not prone to blisters (another thing the 84N’s help to prevent,) I decided to test them during my normal morning run commute, during two different temperature ranges over the course of two weeks; mild (50F – 60F) and cold (25F- 35F.)

    Upon donning both the socks and shoes, it felt like I was wearing a completely different kind of shoe altogether. My foot was snugly tucked away with little remaining space for movement, including toe wiggle. It felt a little constricting, but not uncomfortable or bulky.

    The 84N’s performed very well under both temperature levels – My feet felt good throughout the whole run, and they were especially warm during the cold commute. That warmth, however, led to lots of fairly normal sweating during the run in mild conditions. Thankfully, the socks wicked as promised, and my feet emerged unscathed. A solid performer.

    Conclusion: Fantastic, comfortable socks suitable for everyday use.  Ideal for running short and long distances, or as a recovery sock after a long distance race. 

    Thorlos Experia Socks

    Thorlos, Thorlos Experia, Thorlo, Merrell Mix Master Road

    Thorlos Experia with Merrell Mix Master Road Shoes

    Thorlos, Thorlos Experia, Thorlo, padded running socks

    Thorlos Experia with Lite Pads

    I wore these during several morning commutes, including a rainy morning run and was quite pleased with the comfort and wicking properties of the pads. Unlike the rest of the socks in this review, the Experia have “Lite” pads, as opposed to the thicker, engineered pads (CTPS) that the others contain. For the most part, the Experias are primarily made of a thin, blended material (Coolmax) that is mesh-like and extremely breathable. In fact, parts of the sock are so thin, that you can actually see through them in places.

    In addition, they are one of Thorlos only socks to come in a wide variety of eye-catching colors, including Electric Orange, Jet Pink, and Very Berry.

    I like the wearing the Experia during most running days, but also enjoy the comfort of the 84N, so I switch back and forth throughout the week.

    Conclusion: Light, minimal, breathable, and padded only where necessary, the Experias are an ideal running sock for short- to middle-distances, under everyday road conditions. Made for feet that don’t hurt.

    Thorlos Trail  Running Socks

    Thorlos, Thorlos Trail Runner, Thorlo, North Face Ultra Guide, trail running socks

    Thorlos Trail Runner Socks paired with North Face Ultra Guides for a snow and ice-filled morning run commute.

    Unlike road running, where surface conditions are relatively unchanging, every step is different from the last while running trails. Rocks and fallen trees are bounded over; muddy paths are slipped along; streams and rivers are crossed. Impact and variability of surface conditions require socks (and shoes, for that matter) that are comfortable over long distances, absorb shock, provide protection, and quickly move moisture away from your skin.

    The Thorlos Trail Sock is very similar to the 84N runner in overall feel. The ball and heel pads add a generous amount of comfort and protection from the ever-changing conditions of the trail and the sock is snug and comfortable all around. Like many trail socks, the top of the sock is higher, to protect from debris, and brushes with sharp sticks and rocks. The instep and arch have extra cushioning for long-lasting comfort.

    The Trail Sock performed extremely well during both a snow and ice-covered commute and while on a road-and-trail morning run to the office. 

    While the snowy commute tested the overall function of the trail shoes I was wearing at the time (North Face Ultra Guide), the Thorlos Trail Sock kept my feet warm and dry throughout. It was also a fairly slow run, with cautious steps while traversing many icy sections, so I couldn’t say much about how well they performed related to impact and quick-changing conditions. 

    For my next tests, I threw in several morning detours, including some trails, for which these socks were designed. Previously, I used Drymax socks during my trail runs, because I was always worried about getting blisters from having wet feet due to regular stream crossings, so, I was a bit apprehensive about trying out anything different.

    Surprisingly, the Thorlos Trail Sock performed much better for two reasons – not only did they quickly wick water away after stream crossings, but they provided a level of long-lasting comfort that I was not used to from other trail socks. This comfort was felt while running the uneven terrain of the trails, stepping (intentionally) on stray rocks and sticks, and while going uphill and down. I’m anxious to try these on a long trail race!

    Conclusion: Great sock for trail (and even road) running. Wicks away water very well, and is very comfortable from start to finish.

    Thorlos More Casual Comfort Socks

    Thorlos, Thorlos More Casual Comfort, Thorlo, office socks, comfortable socks

    Thorlos More Casual Comfort Socks

    I tested the More Casual Comfort sock out during many endless hours of grueling, rigorous… desk work. I’m not on my feet much around the office, but I try to move around as much as I can to keep myself a little bit active throughout the day. 

    The Casual Comfort socks are quite different from my normal office socks. My feet tend to be warm (and stay warm) all day long, so I usually choose a cheaper, thinner sock, hoping that they will allow my foot to breathe properly. This can be a problem after wearing the socks inside dress shoes all day though, as certain fabric blends, well… stink. And, I always rely on my shoes to be comfortable, and the comfort of the socks I wear has never mattered.

    With the Casual Comfort sock, you get a thicker sock with great wicking performance, it is extremely comfortable all day long (It seriously feels like you are walking on a cushion of air,) and best of all NO STINK!  They come in several colors as well – black, khaki, and white.

    Conclusion: A very good sock for wearing all day long while at the office. Looks good with a dress shoe. Warm, but breathable and extremely comfortable overall.

    Important Note

    I have a fairly wide variety of shoes and even though they are all the same size, different types of Thorlos padded socks fit differently depending on the brand and type (road, trail, casual) of shoe I was wearing. In order to ensure proper fit, Thorlos recommends choosing a sock first, then wearing that pair while trying on shoes.

    Thorlos is currently offering a free pair of their padded socks (just pay s&h) to anyone interested in trying them out. Click here for more info, or click on the image in the sidebar.

    For additional information on Thorlos visit their website, follow them on Twitter, or check out their extensive video collection on their YouTube channel.

     

    By | 2016-10-22T20:26:41+00:00 April 16th, 2014|Categories: Gear, General|Tags: , , , , , , |1 Comment

    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.

     ——————————————-

    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.

     ——————————————–

    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

    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!

    ———————————————————————————–

    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.

     ———————————————————————————–

    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.  

    —————————————————

    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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    Groceries on the Run

    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.

    Just arrived at the grocery store

    Just arrived at the grocery store

    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.

    Running with a pack full of groceries

    Running with a pack full of groceries

    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!

    Holds a bag of rice just as well as it holds Little Timmy.

    Holds a bag of rice just as well as it holds Little Timmy.

    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!

     

     

    By | 2016-10-22T20:26:43+00:00 January 31st, 2014|Categories: General, How To|Tags: , , , , , , , , |1 Comment

    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
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