• Run Commuting with Kids - Featured

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.


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.


By |June 18th, 2014|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , |3 Comments
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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


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.

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Is Run Commuting a Movement?

Did anyone see this question in the latest edition of Runner’s World?

“Ask Miles.” Runner’s World, October 2012:18.

We were asked whether we thought run commuting was a movement earlier this year during the WalkJogRun interview (though it was later edited out).  I said that I didn’t think so.  But since then, it really does seem like it has been taking off.

We’ve heard from some readers who have been running to work for years, some who just started last week, and others who have started running to work with their friends/coworkers.  Many of you are current or former bike commuters.  Some are run commuting to train for marathons and ultramarathons.  All of you are runners…

I want run commuting to be a movement.  I want it to gain momentum and, drawing from Runner’s World poll question, become a “realistic option” for getting to and from work.  Where do we start?


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First Timers

It seems like a lot of people have been trying run commuting lately.  There are many possible reasons for that, including nicer weather, training for upcoming races, or maybe,  just maybe, it’s starting to catch on…  Whatever it may be, here are a few recent stories or posts from or about people new to run commuting.   Check out the rest of their sites, too, and show a few fellow bloggers some love!

Kristin’s Fitness Nook: The adventures of running to work a.k.a. – dodge car

It’s a yellow light, I can make it! CRAP, go faster, go faster.

Please see me car. Oh good, you did.

Seriously…it’s f-in hot at 7am!

What are you looking at d-bag in your jacked-up gas guzzler.

McDonald’s drivethru packed…no comment.

I cannot wait to sleep in on Saturday.

Yeah, someone else running to work…no, they’re just teenagers trudging along for summer training.

<read on>

Run Commuter Buddy – Eli

Eli contacted me a few weeks ago and wanted to set up a run commute.  He lives close by, so it worked out very well.  We lit out at 7:00 in the morning last week, arriving 45 minutes later at his place of work 5.5 miles away, with plenty of time left over to talk some more before he had to head in and hit the shower.   He ran with a Nathan HPL Race Vest.

Check with some of your local running clubs or ask a running friend to try running to work sometime with you.  It’s a great way to change up your old routine – or start a  new one!

Start Slow, Then Taper:  Run to Work Day

Monday – I ran to work. My car battery died Sunday afternoon before I was to go for a run. After taking my wife’s car out to go run at Lake Conestee, it was too late to take the battery to get checked – priorities you know!

I only live 4-5 miles from work, depending on the route, so it was very manageable. What made it a little more interesting was the fact that I had to carry my laptop and my clothes/shoes for work. My camelbak was full!

<read on>

Barefoot Runners Society: First Try at Run Commuting

RunningPirate’s Part One

Today, I made my first try at run commuting. I’ve been toying with this for about a month or so – that’s when I heard about the concept of running to work. Up to this point, I’ve been bicycle commuting and either running on my days off, or doing a short run at lunch. When I heard of run commuting, it opened up some new possibilities.

My commute is broken up into different sections, so I run BFR the first 2.4 mi to the local train station, take the train south for a bit, and then run shod the remaining 3.8 mi in to work. Over time, the plan is to gradually increase my BFR mileage (using the 10%/week rule) so that the entire run is barefoot. As of yet, I am not running home, but that can become a possibility in the near future. Ultimately, the thought is to run the entire 11 miles in to work.

<read on>

RunningPirate’s Part Two

I took my second swing at run commuting, today. Did the same route and run/mass transit distribution as last time. I did, however, learn that my route is 0.3 miles shorter than I originally thought – a discrepancy between manual mapping and real-time mapping with MapMyRun. I understand this is quite silly to fret over, but I’m still a little bit of a data junkie.


I tried a couple of different things, this week. Last week, I was having problems with the shoulder straps loosening while I was running, which led to the pack wagging left and right while I was running. Also, when I got to work, my lunch salad was…well, let’s just say that all the jostling made it less than crisp.

<read on>

TalkJogRun Interview with The Run Commuter

On Monday, Kyle and I sat down for a chat with Caitlin Seick of WalkJogRun, a popular running route finding and planning website, and talked all about run commuting. WalkJogRun’s iPad app recently  hit #7 in the health and fitness category, so check it out now, hipster, so you can say you knew all about it before it was #1. Blog post with audio/podcast below.

Article:  Running To Work – WalkBlogRun

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In The News: The Flintstone Commute

The Real Flintstones

The Real Flintstones

A reporter for the Arts and Life section of The Daily, an iPad-exclusive national e-newspaper, recently delved into the mysterious – nay, ‘prehistoric’ – world of run commuting, even going so far as trying it himself for two weeks.  Now that’s dedication that we here at TRC can appreciate.

Bill Bradley interviewed long distance run commuter, Bob Heskovitz, who shared some solid tips on running to work.  In addition to the article, Bradley reviewed a few of the smaller running backpacks, too, including the Osprey Manta 20.

Article: The Flintstone Commute: Running to work is good for your health and your schedule

Pack Reviews: The Right Stuff

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Technique: Keeping Your Shoelaces Tied

Nothing makes me more angry than having to stop and re-tie shoes during a race.  It doesn’t usually happen during 5K’s because the laces tend to keep themselves together for that short amount of time.  But for anything over that, it’s kind of nice to not have to worry about it and focus on the run.

Over the years, runners develop their own techniques for fixing this potential problem (and many others.)  Here are a few lace techniques that I have used over the past four years without fail:


By |September 21st, 2011|Categories: How To|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

In the News: Why a new Burlington cafe offers showers

Cleaning up after running to work is a topic of much discussion and debate.  Some people will absolutely not run to the office if they can’t shower when they get there.  Others, including some of the fine writers here at TRC, clean up without showering at all.  We’ll have a post about that soon, but until then, check out this piece about Maglianero Cafe in Burlington, VT.

Biking or running to work in Burlington and finding that morning fix when you get there can be tough.

Rene Hanson said, “Most offices don’t have a shower and they don’t have a great coffee place either.”

The team at the new Maglianero Cafe on Maple Street is in business to change that. Its space is bike friendly and riders can grab a shower free of charge.

The folks are Maglianero are awesome!  While it looks like their regulars are mainly cyclists, the shower facilities can be used by other alternative commuters, too.  Check out their blog and if you are in the area,  stop in and tell us about your visit!

Article and video:  Why a new Burlington cafe offers showers.

Getting Started – Part 1: Mentality

Anyone can run commute.  As long as you set your mind to it, you can do it.

Ok, ok…  Maybe not everyone can do it, but the hardest part of trying anything new is convincing yourself to give it a shot and then doing it.

Disregard the initial, extremist thoughts that may enter your head when you think about run commuting:  Namely, that it means you have to do it every day, only athletes are able to run like that, or you can’t because you need special facilities at your job to do so (shower).

I’ve heard many reasons why people can’t do things – as in, “I could never bike to the grocery store,” or “I could NEVER give up cheese/junk food/TV” and after making a few changes in my life, I realize now how much this annoys me.  But they’ve convinced themselves they couldn’t do whatever it was before they even tried.  It used to be me, too.   (more…)


I’ve been an on-again, off-again runner for just over 15 years now (yikes!). It began as preparation for US Army Basic Training. I had three months to get ready and knew I would be running a lot once I was in, so I needed to be ready. So off I went on my first run down our dirt road…and a half a mile later I was done – as in the-hell-with-this done.  Thankfully, I was “pushed” a little in the following months and grew to love running. (more…)