The New Run Commuters – January 2015

In our first edition of The New Run Commuters for 2015, we meet Kate Livett from Sydney, Australia. Kate is a recent and die-hard convert to run commuting and though her job contracts and office locations often change, she’s determined to make the run to or from work no matter the circumstances. Rock on, Kate!

If you are interested in being featured in The New Run Commuters, simply fill out the form at the bottom of the post and we’ll get started on your profile. We look forward to hearing your stories! 

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Runner Basics

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New Run Commuter Kate Livett

  • Name: Kate Livett
  • Age: 36
  • Hometown: Sydney, Australia
  • Profession/Employer: Academic (English Literature), various universities around Sydney (currently UNSW)
  • Number of years running: 7 years
  • Number of races per year: None. I went in a couple of road races and was not a huge fan of the crowds, but I’m planning to do some trail ultras in 2015.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? Trails are my passion (Whenever I can I run on trails.) I’m very lucky to live 40 minutes’ drive from a massive national park of native forest with very technical, rocky and rootsy singletrack, loads of mini-waterfalls, giant goannas, echidnas, kangaroos, poisonous snakes (!), unspoiled coastline and generally all-round amazing natural beauty. I try to run in the national park at least once a week. Running in the city, I enjoy looking at people’s gardens and meeting cats and dogs or watching birds in trees, etc., but I hate the aggressive drivers in Sydney, and constantly having to be ‘on my guard’ against crazy cars.

Gear

  • Backpack: I have several…*ahem*. Depending on weather and load, I switch between the Deuter SpeedLite 10, Osprey Stratos 24, Salomon Advanced Skin Set 12 (2013 version) on the road, and Ultimate Direction Wasp and Nathan Intensity for trails. For me, backpacks are as important to get right as shoes.
  • Shoes: Altra Torin for road, Altra Superior and Lone Peak 1.5 for trails, Inov-8 Trailroc 235 for super-technical trails and hills (though,they are too narrow and give me blisters), and flip-flops with shoelaces around the heels for homemade huaraches when it’s hot (see photo). I love zero-drop and wide toeboxes.
  • Clothing: I try to buy from brands that respect at least one of the following ethical criteria: vegan/environmentally sustainable/workers’ rights. This is very limiting; for example, I won’t buy Salomon or Nathan from now on. I know, I know, I have packs by both those brands. They’re awesome packs, too. But, I made the decision to try to “buy ethically” just after I got the Advanced Skin Set and starting sometime is better than never, right? I am hoping they will get some specific policies on ethical issues soon, so I can buy their stuff again! I just bought a long-sleeved Patagonia capilene tee with UPF50+ sun protection. It’s made of 60% recycled plastic bottles. I’ve worn it twice in 90 minute runs in 30-degrees Celsius, and it’s totally awesome — cool and light and protective. Moving Comfort bras. Basic running shorts.
  • Outerwear: Puma PE windbreaker jacket for trail and when I’m not commuting. For run commuting in winter a huge yellow neon cycling windbreaker, which i wear with my pack underneath. It makes me look pretty silly, but ‘safety first’…
  • Headgear: I always wear a cap and Polaroid sunglasses.
  • Lighting: Two bicycle froglights on my pack and reflective clothing.
  • Hydration: None in winter. In summer, I will drink up to a litre of water on the exact same run. I recently bought two Ultimate Direction soft-flasks (see them in the front pockets of my pack in the photo). They’re pricey, but i cannot recommend them highly enough — best investment ever, for trail and road. You don’t have to run with half-empty or empty bottles all the time. They are much better suited to the female anatomy as well.

General Questions

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I have been obsessed with running since I took it up in my late 20s. Since that time I’ve been employed all over the place at different things, often working from home. I didn’t know there was such a thing as ‘run commuting’, and always did my running before/after work. Looking back, even if I had heard about it, I’m pretty sure I would have thought it was impossible for me to run commute, as I lacked general ‘running knowledge’ and wouldn’t have felt confident running with a backpack, timing my meals etc.

Last year, though, (having accumulated 6 years’ running experience) I got a contract to work regular 9-5 hours in the Sydney CBD, and about a month before I started, I stumbled on The Run Commuter website. The universe aligned, and I decided I wasn’t going to let my running be sacrificed to employment! I read every post on this site and successfully run commuted for that whole 6 months. I’m about to start another contract with regular hours. My New Year’s Resolution is to embrace the changing GPS coordinates of my employment, and to adapt to run commuting wherever the location of my latest workplace. I’m lucky that my partner is very supportive of my run commuting and doesn’t mind if dinner time is delayed a bit because I’m run commuting home.

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Mishi, checking out Kate’s homemade running sandals

How often do you run commute?

Usually four days a week either to or from (mostly to). I would love to do both ways every day, but it would kill me!

How far is your run commute?

Last year’s 6-month stint was 12-14 km one way, depending on the route. The job I’m just about to start is almost the identical distance.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I try to pack a sandwich and apple. I admire the runners profiled on this site who run with frozen soup, strawberries, etc.! I’m not sure I’d be successful with that…

What do you like most about run commuting?

Chris Van Dyke, one of the first run commuters profiled on this site, says it best when he says: “How often can you straight up trade something you hate for something you love?” Similarly to Chris, I have loved swapping the peak hour public transport experience (cranky sardines in a slow-moving can…) for exercise and personal room to breathe, and I feel physically and mentally invigorated all day after running to work. When I’m run commuting i’m actually excited to go to work. Like most things in life, once you’ve done it the better way it’s hard to go back. Now I get cranky with myself if I don’t get to run commute because I’ve slept in.

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

Runners, no. Quite a few of my colleagues bicycle commute.

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

Train and then bus (unfortunately). Sometimes drive, but parking is impossible and the aggression of other drivers stresses me out.

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

If you’re lucky enough to have showers at work, before you start run commuting try to ascertain what the unofficial “shower schedule” is — if you’re going to be rocking up at the same time each morning you don’t want to find that the shower is “pre-booked” every 15 minutes until lunchtime.

Specifically for the ladies — backpacks are generally made for men’s bodies. It can be discouraging trying to find one that doesn’t bounce, look stupid or feel wrong. Spend extra time researching this key piece of gear, and possibly spend extra cash on it, too. I’ve found it’s worth spending more at the beginning for a superior product– you will save money in the long run by not giving up run commuting due to an uncomfortable pack. (Happily, this logic also justifies my backpack fetish…) At least you’re not shelling out as much as you would for a sport like cycling/golf/triathlon. Also, don’t forget clean socks.

Anything else that you would like to include?

I know some people are put off trying a run commute by the thought that other commuters driving or walking past are ‘judging’ them or staring. But, if you feel self-conscious, just remind yourself: “They are probably very jealous that I am enjoying my commute and they are not.” The other confidence booster I like is the haughty self-question-and-answer: “Are THEY running 12 km to work? No, they aren’t!”

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2014 International Survey of Run Commuters

We’re pleased to release the findings of our first International Survey of Run Commuters!

The survey results can be viewed here, and the raw data is available for public use here. Please acknowledge The Run Commuter if using for a publication/blog/paper/etc.

If you would like to provide any feedback or have any questions, please email us at info@theruncommuter.com.

Here are some of the highlights of the survey:

We received a total of 145 responses from 22 different countries.

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Run commuters are more likely to be:

Nearly half of the respondents (49%) have been run commuting less than a year.

57% of run commuters run both ways in the same day.

When not commuting by running, the preferred method of transportation is the bicycle, with 55% choosing cycling over other forms of travel.

On average, respondents live 7.47 miles (12 km) away from their workplace.

The average run commute is between 3 – 7 miles (4.8 – 11.2 km).

93% of run commuters have run with a backpack at some time in the past, while 77% continue to do so regularly.

11 respondents run with laptops.

A majority of respondents keep hygiene items (72%), and an extra set of work clothes, including shoes, at the office (~65%).

More than two-thirds of run commuters have access to a shower at their office, but nearly the same amount say that they would still run if none were available.

Aside from running to work, nearly one-fifth of respondents use running to pick up groceries and run errands. 14% occasionally run to meet friends.

An equal number of respondents have run to the pub as have run to the library.

Corridaamiga Founder Silvia Cruz on Brazil’s “Friendly Running” Initiative

We’re very excited to introduce you to Sylvia Cruz, an inspiring run commuter and passionate active transportation advocate from São Paulo, Brazil. The 29-year-old environmental manager only began running three years ago, but it had a major impact on how she sees the cityand interacts with others around her. Further, it inspired her to educate and encourage others to join the ranks of those who not only run, but run as a form of urban mobility.

She started Corridaamiga, or “running friends,” as a way to connect experienced run commuters with those interested in using running to get around the city, with the overall goal of promoting active transportation throughout the country. We asked her about Corridaamiga, about running in France, Brazil, and South America, and how she got started. We hope what she is doing in Brazil can be replicated by run commuters in other cities around the world!  

About Sylvia Cruz

How long have you been run commuting?

I’ve been running since 2011, and started run commuting in 2012.

After your first run commute, how did you feel?

Free, strong, and even smarter!

Corridaamiga founder Sylvia Cruz.
(Sign reads “Respect: One Less Car”)

What other forms of transportation do you use to get around São Paulo?

If I am not running, I ride a bike.  Sometimes, I need to take a bus or the subway, and less frequently, I take a cab.

In your video, you mention using running as a form of transportation while living in France – were there certain things that made running for transportation easier or harder in France compared to São Paulo?   

In France, they have good quality pavements, the public places are cleaner, and the air is less polluted than São Paulo. This is obvious if we compare the urban statistics between Lille (France) and São Paulo (an unfair comparison). In São Paulo, and in Brazil in general, people are afraid to walk or run for several reasons.

First, we have a “syndrome” of insecurity. I know that we have high level of violence, etc., but I think that part of this “panic” arises from our television/newspaper that reinforces this issue too much. And, I am sorry, but according to the statistics, if you are in a car, you are not safer than me!

Second, our pavements are not of good quality, which makes it difficult – if not impossible – to safely run commute. Our public places are underutilized and badly-designed, not favoring conviviality and social interactions. We need to improve our city planning; after all, we all want to live in a better city.

Run Commuting in Brazil

What is the state of run commuting in Brazil?

In Brazil, most of the initiatives that involve running are not related to urban mobility, but rather with running as a sport. For instance, most of big companies are used to providing running instructors as an employee benefit. Still it does not work exactly like run commuting. As far as we know, Corridaamiga is officially the first run commuting initiative in Brazil.

On the other hand, initiatives for other kinds of active commuting – such as Bike Anjo – are steadily increasing in all 5 regions and different states of Brazil. I believe this reflects a time of people power, i.e., a time where most of the more important solutions for megacity problems are being done by ordinary citizens, who utilize individual willpower and personal initiative to make something change, rather than waiting for the government to do something about it. An integration of all these solutions – individual and institutional – will give us a better scenario in the future.

How many run commuters do you know of in your city?  

We don’t have this number for the city of São Paulo. Since we started the network 4 months ago, we have had 48 volunteer runners (run commuters), and 54 people that requested Corridaamiga to help in their first routes, showing the best ways and sharing instructions and information about how to run in the streets.

What factors make run commuting appealing to you or others in your city? For instance, is automobile traffic terrible, or public transportation overcrowded?

Although Corridaamiga aims to have volunteers registered all over Brazil, it is based in São Paulo. São Paulo is known for its intense traffic, the incredible use of automobiles (people even use it for going to the bakery and we have bakeries in every corner of the city), and overcrowded, expensive, and inefficient public transportation. Because of this, different initiatives of different natures have come along over the last decade, aiming to be innovative solutions. Mobility is not the only focus – it is also about designing cities for people.

There are days in São Paulo where the traffic jams exceed 300 kilometers. Also, 4,000 people die annually due to problems caused by air pollution. The city already has more than 7 million vehicles circulating and Brazilians’ weight has been increasing in the last years.

50.1% of men and 48% of women are overweight. We have seen a lot of initiatives in São Paulo that are geared towards increasing quality of life, while improving the individual mobility. Among these are Corridaamiga, Bike Anjo, Cidade Ativa, Colab.Re, SampaPé, Cidadera, Mobilize, Hortelões Urbanos and all of them talk about empowering people to bring innovative solutions for creating a city designed for people.

They are definitely essential, but the overall solution will come about as a result of discussions and collaboration between civil society and the public and private sector. This is what happened during the First Brazilian Run to Work Day (inspired by the Run2work day in UK): we invited people to take pictures of sidewalks in terrible conditions, so we could deliver this information to the governmental organizations responsible for fixing them, because broken, deteriorated sidewalks are also a mobility problem.

To the best of your knowledge, which cities in Brazil have the most run commuters? In South America?

I don’t know of other initiatives, but in the “Corridaamiga” network, most of the run commuters are from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Curitiba. In South America, I really don’t know.

corridaamiga_onde estamos

Requests for Corridaamigas and volunteer submissions have been coming in from all across Brazil over the past 4 months

Do employers or government programs provide incentives for employees who use alternative transportation, such as bicycling or walking, to commute to work?

In Brazil, some employers already stimulate the use of alternative transportation. Nevertheless, companies are usually only reactive (as opposed to proactive) and afraid of incentivizing people to use alternative – and possibly unsafe – modals.

I’ll give a successful example: Riding a bike is seen as a really dangerous way of transportation in the city. However, given the context and great effort of bicycle activists, more and more people are riding their bikes to work. This is creating structural changes within companies, and sometimes the advocates even consult the employers on policies that could improve and make their life more comfortable. Some companies even try to increase the number of people who ride bikes through programs that teach cycling safety techniques. Even so, neither the government nor the private sector has made notable policies, such as tax-free incentives for alternative transportation that have been extremely successful in other countries. On the contrary, buying a car is getting even easier and cheaper in Brazil.

Corridaamiga

Why did you start Corridaamiga?

I started Corridaamiga because I wish more people would discover other transportation alternatives. I want to show them that it is possible to change their lives. We do not need to suffer stuck in the traffic, suffer for the lack of time to exercise, or lack of time to be with our friends and family.

In 2013, I did an interchange program in Lille, France. While there, I used to run as a way of moving around the city and benefited a lot from it. I got to know places and people, and saved a lot of money on subway tickets. It also helped to fight loneliness. I was thinking how I could make more people feel the same way I felt when I used running as a way of getting around.

Inspired by Bike Anjo (a volunteer group of urban cyclists that assists people who wish to learn to ride a bicycle in their city), the idea of “Corridaamiga” emerged, with the intention of helping and inspiring runners who want to use running as a means of transportation. In short, Corridaamiga is a voluntary initiative that emerged in early 2014, as a result of the idea of “Brazilian run commuters” that aims to assist and inspire individuals to use running for urban mobility.

It stimulates a low-CO2 form of transportation, as well, which is also responsible for increasing people’s quality life, therefore making people happier. While running, the person has a totally different and (we believe) more pleasurable experience in the city. It is healthier, too. It is worth saying that Brazilians are getting fatter and more sedentary. Thus, our main purpose is to act as multiplying agents; spreading the practice of running as urban mobility, and passing on the complementary benefits (time optimization, reducing costs, improving quality of life, etc.) to other citizens.

How has the running community reacted to your initiative?

So far they have been very positive and curious about the initiative. It has been only several months since we started the network and already more than 3 magazines related to the sport and other organizations related to urban mobility have contacted us to promote the initiative.

What is the general background of the expert runners that pair up with beginner runners? Are they mainly current run commuters? Professional running coaches? Weekly group run leaders?

I got it!! In one hour I did the route from work to my home! It is great for self-esteem! That’s amazing! While I was running, all cars stuck in the traffic … I felt very smart, too. Thanks Corridaamiga! – Larissa Tega

Right now, the runners are not professional running coaches. Our volunteers are common people that run and decided to help other people. In order to guarantee the best running habits possible, Corridaamiga is in contact with a nutritionist and some coaches that give weekly tips, voluntarily, for our website and Facebook page. In addition to general health tips, we also give tips about how to run to work, what to carry on our bags, which bags are appropriate for runners to use, and even the best routes for the runner.

Where do you see CorridaAmiga in 5 years? What does it look like? What does your city and/or country look like?

I always wanted to learn how to run on the streets! This is totally crazy (for me) because the route work-home has 7.5 km. During the trip many thoughts came to my mind “oh my Gosh, [it] is still far away from home”, “should I have started with a shorter distance?”, “I need to breathe calmer and slower”, etc… Finally 7.5 km and 1h05m after, the challenge was completed. And I’m very proud of myself – Naomi Kawasaki

Around the world, we have seen a tendency to use running, walking, and cycling as a means of transportation, due in no small part to the large waste of time in the journey, increased personal risks, and detrimental health effects caused by the use of individual motorized transportation in big cities. Experts worldwide are beginning to discuss and recognize the role of “active transportation” as a healthy alternative to a sedentary lifestyle and its ability to improve the quality of life of the population.

Therefore, it is essential to expand the “Corridaamiga” network, so that more and more runners are willing to use running as urban mobility. In Brazil, this activity is still in the embryonic stage, so it is vital to encourage and spread the idea of run commuting, as well as recognize and minimize the barriers that still hinder running as a viable and healthy choice of transportation for all individuals.

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
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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

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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.    

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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 | 2018-02-27T15:01:14+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 | 2018-02-27T15:01:13+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.

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    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.)

    [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
    By | 2018-02-27T15:01:13+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
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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.

    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
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