Choosing to become a run commuter can be a life-altering decision. As we outline in our Become a Run Commuter series, one must first tell themselves that they will do it, and then begin the planning and logistics necessary to ensure success. If you already have a challenging life as it is, then throwing a run commute into the mix can be difficult – You may have to wear suits every day; your route may lack adequate public transportation; your office may lack shower facilities; you may live 20+ miles from the office, and so on. In this series, we will address some of these issues individually. First up, parenting.
Note: We realize that everyone has unique circumstances that may not fit the solutions provided in this article. We offer these only as examples of how to overcome some more common challenges.
We’re pleased to release the findings of our first International Survey of Run Commuters!
If you would like to provide any feedback or have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
Here are some of the highlights of the survey:
We received a total of 145 responses from 22 different countries.
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.
You’re probably already aware of the many, many ways in which run commuting is good for your physical and mental well-being, the environment, and others around you, but sometimes, you can’t run to work. On those days, think ahead and try to carpool with coworkers. What are the benefits of carpooling? Take a look at this handy infographic from CarInsurance.org:
Did anyone see this question in the latest edition of Runner’s World?
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?
One of the things I do now is work with children having cognitive skills deficiencies such as Autism and Asperger syndrome. The center where I help out is perfectly placed at a manageable 7 miles one way.
I only mention I work with children because for me it has significance to my story. Doing the type of work I did in the past; I only did it for the money – period. There’s no kicking it around and I won’t kid myself or you by attempting to make it something it was not. I had a longtime fear of never having enough money so I did everything I could to make sure I was never without it. That ‘mindset’ cost me dearly in all aspects of my life especially where health was concerned.
I would never have run commute to any one of my past employments. There were many times I didn’t even want to get out of bed much less contemplate the thought of getting up earlier and challenging myself physically to get there. Even though I was very good at what I did, I did not enjoy it and the work relationship(s) were definitely one-sided. Therefore, transitioning to do things which provided me real satisfaction, joy, excitement and which were in-line with a newly defined purpose of health and happiness drastically changed my outlook. I began to contemplate taking on a run commute endeavor.
Firstly, it’s hot here – real hot. The children I dedicate time to all come in the midafternoon and early evening so running in 100 degree temperatures was/is something I just have to deal with. I wasn’t crazy about running in those temperatures and I wasn’t willing to destroy my body for the run commute. I went ahead and bought a bus pass so if I felt like I was going to drop out I could at least haul my limping carcass onto an air conditioned transport for some of the way.
I have taken mass transit systems in the U.S., Japan, Korea, etc., but I honestly had never taken the bus in San Antonio. I was excited to learn though. I hopped on a bus just to see how to navigate my way through stops and pickups. I was happy and rode with a smile. I will comment that it seemed like I was pretty much the only one enthusiastic about riding the bus. Even though I was beaming with excitement, none of my smiles were returned to me. As a matter of fact, one guy’s look made me almost want to pin my lips over my teeth all together.
I didn’t even know how to exit the bus. This fact was graciously, but aggressively, pointed out to me from a large burly fellow who yelled, “Push the door open!” I told myself, “No sir, you’re not going to steal my sunshine” as I skipped off the bus steps. Obviously, I am kidding there. But, it really didn’t shift my mood all that much. What I was doing was for me. It was something I wanted to do so my want of doing so squashed any bad feelings which would have risen up and gotten out of control. Besides, after being to a variety of places around the nation where people tend to interact with you more antagonistically, this guy with his sparkling attitude seemed rather charming.
I am a first time run commuter. I mean sure I had been on long hikes, camping trips which required me to haul a lot of gear, ran with a hydration pack, – I won’t go into the entire minutia of activities. But, I had never run to environment where I had to look presentable and then instead of relaxing, refueling and cleaning up, transition straight into performing a task.
So naturally my first time run commuting I over-packed and over-prepared. I packed all the things I thought I might need: extra food, toothbrush, tooth paste, night lamp, extra socks, sunblock, water bottle, reading material, bus route maps, air tight food bags, dry clothes bags, wet clothes bags, and on and on. I had an insane amount of stuff on top of the things I would actually need like my dress clothes, shoes, belt, lunch, snacks and drinks. It was like I was going on a three day excursion! Needless to say, I stuffed all my items into an old dilapidated North Face backpack which I had modified (i.e. disassembled for makeshift parts).
The elastic side-mesh pockets were all stretched out and did not function anymore to hold items. There is only one center holding area with its failing zipper system. The center synch bungee on the back didn’t really do anything but roll the bottom of the backpack up away from my body. There is no waist belt because I cut it away years ago to be used on something else which I cannot remember. It does however, have a sweet Utah gecko patch from an old Moab trip, so that pretty much alone spits coolness and makes the bag a keeper. Okay, maybe not, but it is what I have so I use it and I am grateful for it.
Am I getting a new pack? Yes, eventually. My outlook was/is I want to learn from the run commuter experience(s) so I get exactly what I really need. I think this is important because only I know everything I really need on a daily basis. There are the basics items you want to have with you of course. I won’t go through the items I take/use right now but definitely check out the posts Josh’s Gear, Kyle’s Gear, and Sophie’s Gear for some great gear information and also the ‘How To Get Started’ section under the contributor’s block starting here.
“You don’t have to have everything all figured out. Just get moving…”
We’re going global!
The latest edition of Urban China magazine featured a very cool article on “Community-based Micro-sports”, devoting a two-page spread to run commuting (and a pic of TRC’s Josh and Kyle). They even included a bit about the Atlanta BeltLine and Historic Fourth Ward Park.
The section on run commuting features general tips on gear selection and packing, choosing a route, and cleaning up once you arrive. Other pages cover running at work during lunch hours, after work and on weekends with friends, and fitting in workouts when you only have a short amount of time available.
Editor Tao Shiqi writes, (and this is translated very loosely using Google Translate):
Although we in China are successful in competitive sports, our public awareness of fitness is still in its infancy. A 2010 survey in Jiangsu Province revealed that more than 80.3% of the respondents do not have any fixed fitness habits. Micro-movement is a more social and effective way for city people to regain the habit of doing exercise. From the use of fragmented time, micro fitness is an intermediate state with aspects of commuting, socializing, and working, to the movement regarding habits of life and enjoying the fun of it all.
Here is a bit about Issue #53 from their website: http://www.urbanchina.com.cn/?issue=%E5%85%8B%E6%8B%89%E7%8E%9B%E4%BE%9D.
For the non-run commuters out there – how do you exercise when you are short on time?
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!
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.
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!
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!
Barefoot Runners Society: First Try at Run Commuting
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.
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.