The New Run Commuters – February 2018

It’s still winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and the handful of people that continue to run commute year-round in snowy regions have their fair share of sub-zero temperatures, icy paths, unshoveled sidewalks, and slush-filled roads with which to deal.

Enter Frederic Otis.

He only started run commuting two months ago, but to begin in winter, when the weather in Québec can be at its worst (and continue to run throughout) makes Frederic an especially notable New Run Commuter who will no doubt continue to run to work for years to come.

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Frederic Otis

  • Age: 36

  • City/State: Quebec City, Québec

  • Profession/Employer: CRIQ

  • Number of years running: 9

  • # of races you participate in a year: I have only ran one race… the Montreal Half-marathon in 2012. I plan to register for a marathon, or a 25km trail run, later this summer.

  • Do you prefer road or trail? I really like both! For me a great run is a mix of both. I’m lucky to live in an area where it is possible to vary a lot – road, trail, hills, riverside, etc. And, there’s also winter running, which is not quite road or trail… That would be my favorite, because the conditions change a lot, and rapidly. One day can be extremely cold, the next one windy, and the other icy like an ice ring…or all three together!

Frederic Otis

 

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Lululemon Surge Backpack It’s truly a great backpack, but I couldn’t bring my work clothes in it because they would be all creased up. I’d really like to try the IAMRUNBOX backpack for that reason.

  • Shoes: Summer shoes –  Vibram FiveFingers V-Run, Winter shoes –  Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SG

  • Clothing: Summer clothing – plain sports t-shirt and shorts. Winter – I wear merino wool base layer because it keeps warm and dries very fast.

  • Outerwear: Winter: My merino base layers (1 or 2) plus a soft shell to cut the wind.

  • Headgear: Summer : Ciele Athletics cap (another Montreal based company that makes great stuff), Winter – merino beanie for warmer conditions, or a country skiing hat

  • Lights: None, or a running light on one of my arms.

  • Hydration: For longer runs or when it’s hot, I use a Camelbak pack like this one.

Frederic’s gear

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I finally decided to start run commuting in December 2017, once I was finally well established at my new job, and the distance from home seemed perfect. I just needed to find a way to organize my runs with 2 drop-offs : one of my girls to school and the other one to daycare. While reading on the subject, I ended up finding a great article that inspired me to make the move – Run Commuting Challenges – Parenting. I really have to mention that my wife (also a runner) is incredibly supportive, because it puts more pressure on evenings to go get the kids and get dinner ready.

How often do you run commute?

My run commute history began only in January this year. Since the first week back to work, I run commute two times a week. Gradually, I plan building up to 3 times a week in Spring.

How far is your commute?

It’s a total of 15-16 km to and from work. In the morning, it’s a smooth downhill run, but to get back home is much harder…especially when there’s lots of snow and/or ice.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I always bring my lunch to work even on run commute days, because it’s the best way to eat healthy food. Homemade meals are the best, and it’s so much cheaper! The only additional food item I have in my lunch box when I run to work is a Naak bar. It’s an energy bar made with… cricket protein powder! Crickets are the most sustainable protein source, and the bars taste very good.

What do you like most about run commuting?

What I like the most is being able to combine running and transportation to work (who likes traffic!). On about half of my run, I literally go faster than the traffic, which is a pretty cool feeling. Also, I get to be outside longer, and start (and end) my day with the best exercise in the world.

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

No, I don’t know anybody else who runs to work. I’m trying to influence a few colleagues though…

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

I have to drive to work when I don’t run. Unfortunately, the bus that could take me to the office doesn’t work well with my schedule.

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

Well for me it started with putting my daily routine on paper, and playing with it to fit running. It seemed so complicated at first, but in the end it’s part of my routine. If you are not sure of your schedule, why not try to do it on a weekend to see if your plan works?

Anything else that you would like to include?

Especially if you have to run in changing conditions, make sure to have an emergency kit: cell phone with battery charged, money, extra pair of socks, ID cards, etc.

Are you interested in being featured on The New Run Commuters? If so, fill out the form below and we’ll send you more details.

The New Run Commuters Submission Form

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Tell us a little about your run commute! (required)

The Math of Run Commuting

Twin Peaks, San Francisco, where my morning run commute starts

Here are my calculations that turned me into a run commuter. I concluded that I could invest twenty minutes of time per day for a full workout. I was already considering the idea. But I was persuaded by the argument from efficiency.

I live in San Francisco. That is an advantage. People travel by every conveyance in the Bay Area: cable car, ferry, bicycle, motorcycle, and powered skateboard are acceptable means of arriving at the office. There is no judgment, and what you wear, or even if you are clothed, is not regulated as would be true most other places. The city also is compact. It is seven miles by seven miles. My home is on the “other” side of Twin Peaks. My office is near City Hall.

My primary mode of transit was either the MUNI train or my vintage Honda Hawk GT V-twin cafe racer. By the former, it was about 25 to 30 minutes door to door; by the latter, perhaps 90 seconds faster, but with the tasks of putting on and taking off a high visibility riding suit over street clothes. I actually tracked it for these purposes.

I was walking everywhere anyway. So I did a test. On foot, without too much exertion, I could make it in under an hour. It is a 4.5 mile route with the option of a modest hill, through the park overlooking the famous “Painted Ladies,” the Victorians seen on postcards with the skyline in the background. With a bit of training, and considerable sweat, I have brought my PR down to 47 minutes. It is realistic to believe that I could achieve 45 minutes.

Painted Ladies, Alamo Square via Wikimedia Commons

At that rate, the run is an incremental increase of 20 minutes over the alternatives. That seemed to be a worthwhile investment for the benefit of clearing my head and exercising my heart.

The mornings are almost always cool, sometimes foggy. I have quite a bit of company along the route, especially in popular areas such as the “panhandle” of Golden Gate Park. Every now and then, I will double the distance by returning in the afternoon with a slightly slower jog. If I am feeling like a bit of leisure, I will take my camera for a photo stroll. On the occasions I fall behind, I allow myself to cheat. I will catch a bus through the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. I figure I’m still better off having done a couple of miles under my own locomotion, than if I hadn’t bothered at all. I’m not trying to impress anybody.

The most important social science finding to report is borne out by research. You can form a habit quite easily. Laziness is a habit, as is its opposite. I could have been accustomed to, and probably was, staring at my smartphone while on the short train ride from the Forest Hill Station (said to be the first such subway stop with a building in the West) to the Civic Center Station. After finishing my first run commute, however, I became addicted to it, and as a consequence, if I take too long of a break my body protests the withdrawal into inactivity.

Before I tried this experiment, I would not have believed it was possible for me to do it. But it has worked better than I could have imagined. I run commute about three days per week. No doubt others can best that if they try.

Strava Data Reveals Surprising Numbers on Run Commuting

London tops the list of cities with the most run commuters, according to Strava’s recently-released 2017 Year in Sport report, while Amsterdam, Paris, New York City, and Sydney, Australia round out the top five.

We’re fairly certain that our friends at Corridaamiga were solely responsible for #8, São Paulo, Brazil, as they are at the forefront of run commuting advocacy in that city.

What is even more exciting to see, is how much run commuting has grown over the last year. The number of run commuters grew by 43% and the number of runs tagged as commutes is up 51%! While these numbers come only from those that use Strava to record their run commutes, last year alone, 136 million runs were uploaded. That’s a ridiculously large set of data to analyze. 

While the percentage growth is impressive, the actual numbers are even more amazing. Over 31,000 run commutes were recorded weekly in the United States alone! Let’s break that down a bit.

According to our 2014 International Survey of Run Commuting, a majority of respondents said they ran to and/or from work 2 – 4 days a week. Lets go with the middle number of 3, and assume they ran to and from work, for a total of 6 commute events per week, per person. Now, if 31,169 commutes are recorded per week, and each run commuter racks up 6 of those, then that means approximately 5,194 people are run commuting in the United States each week!

Obviously, we’re making some assumptions here, but even at the high end of our guesstimate, saying that the only people who recorded commutes every week, worked 7 days a week and ran both to and from work (14 commute events per week), the number still comes out to 2,226 run commuters!

And the grand total of Strava-recorded run commutes in the U.S. over the past year?

1,620,788!

We’re seriously blown away. We knew you were out there running to work, but we had no idea you were doing it so much. Keep it up throughout the next year and all years to come!


If you are not using Strava to record your run commutes, please make 2018 the year you start doing so! You can sync your fitness tracker to it, and then tag your run as “commute” on the phone app once your done. There is also a Global Run Commute Crew club you can join (currently at 125 members). See you on the streets!

The New Run Commuters – December 2017

Welcome back to another edition of The New Run Commuters! For our last profile of 2017, we’re featuring Alex Zinni of Mansfield, Massachusetts. While most run commuters take up commuting by foot after years of road and/or trail running, Alex only started running this past year. To maximize family time and to stay healthy, he took up run commuting a few months ago and hasn’t looked back.

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Alex Zinni

  • Age: 36

  • City/State: Mansfield, MA

  • Profession/Employer: Quality Engineer, Med Devices / Bridgemedica

  • Number of years running: 1

  • # of races you participate in a year: 0 (hopefully that will change soon)

  • Do you prefer road or trail? Road, mainly because I’ve never run a trail

 

 

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: After much debate, I went with the Osprey Rev 24 M/L in blue. I have an Eagle Creek garment folder (S) that I use to keep my clothes from getting wrinkled and it fits into the Rev really well along with my shoes, toiletries, lunch (when I bring it), and extra accessories. I pack my work socks, running socks (so I have clean ones for the way home), underwear, and belt into my shoes to save space. The Rev 24 has plenty of straps to tighten it to your body. Unfortunately, my phone does not fit in the media pocket, which is slight bummer, but the bag has a nice slash pocket up at the top so it does not get wet.

    Shoes: Right now I’m using the Ghost 9 from Brooks.  I have wide feet and everyone said they’re one of the best at making wide, light shoes with a neutral sole.  So far, they have not disappointed.

    Clothing: Some type of non-cotton shirt and Under Armor running shorts along with running tights, long sleeve base, and warm up jacket for when it gets cold.  I also have a Salomon WP jacket just in case. I try to go with loud colors because safety.

    Outerwear: Gloves in the winter, because running with cold hands sucks.  I cut out a little slot for my Garmin 735xt so I don’t have to roll the glove up on my left hand.

    Headgear: Since I am sans hair, the Under Armor ColdGear Infrared Hood has been a must during the winter, otherwise nothing.

    Lights: Blue flashing lights because everyone pays attention to blue lights.

    Hydration: Water bottle in the side pocket of my backpack.

 

Alex Zinni

 

Osprey Rev 24

 

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

tl:dr = I’m fat and I don’t have time to work out at a gym or run outside my work schedule. Full version… Run commuting has been the most efficient way to scratch the active lifestyle itch while maintaining our involved family life. With a wife (that works nights & weekends) and 3 kids at home, any time we have with each other and the kids is important to us and not worth giving up. But after putting on about 50lbs over the last 8 years and several half-hearted attempts to get healthy, I decided it was time to make serious change. I’ve been running after work and watching my diet more closely for about a year when I came up with the idea on my own to run to work. A quick search for running backpacks led me to TRC and others doing what I wanted to do. And, now, here I am…

How often do you run commute?

I’m a couple months or so in, and I’m running to work 2 times a week. As the chunkiness and shin splints decrease, I hope to add more days.

How far is your commute?

It’s a little more than 3 miles one way if I take the most direct route.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

Depends on the leftover situation, but I prefer to bring my lunch. I work really close to a supermarket, so either is not an issue.

What do you like most about run commuting?  

Everything. The way I get to combine commuting and exercise. The challenge is motivating even though some mornings I just want to drink coffee and listen to sports talk in a warm car.  The looks I get from people when I tell them that I run commute is priceless. Being outside is awesome. I’m so much more awake and focused once I get to work. I have an easier time staying active throughout the day, playing with my kids, sleeping, etc. Finally – my personal favorite – my wife is a fan of a less squishy me, though she promises me she loves the squishier me, too.

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

Nope, I am the only one of my kind.

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

Driving along in my automobile.

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

I’d say the same thing that I heard in the beginning – start slowly and just do it. Do whatever you need do to ease yourself into it. For me, I was fortunate enough to need several auto repairs and my mechanic is a little more than 1 mile into my commute. Since 2 miles was my previously normal distance, it was a no brainer to drop off my car and run into work from there. It also saved me the hassle of finding a ride every time I dropped the car off. My situation was unique, but the approach would be the same – just get out there and do it. No excuses.

What are the weather conditions like for your run commute?

I live in New England, where blizzards in May and 85°F days in November are equally likely.  The winters can get snowy with temps dropping as low as the 10’s & 20’s. The summers can get pretty hot and humid into the 90’s.

Anything else that you would like to include?

I just want to thank my wife for putting up with my crazy ideas and being supportive. She’s my inspiration, my quest, my love, and my friend. She is my gift and the world needs to know.

Are you interested in being featured on The New Run Commuters? If so, fill out the form below and we’ll send you more details.

The New Run Commuters Submission Form

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Tell us a little about your run commute! (required)

By | 2018-01-29T14:56:07+00:00 December 12th, 2017|Categories: General, News, People|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Running the Link

I have been an avid run commuter for over 10 years. To some extent, it even defines me; at work, most people don’t know my name, but they know about this crazy guy who runs to work all year round, and who even turned down a parking spot offer right outside the door to make sure it would not take away from his run commuting habits. However, there are days where, due to a lack of time, I need to shorten my running distances. On these days, I run what I now call “the link”.

Gatineau, Canada

Since the distance between home and work is 13 miles (21 km), I cannot reasonably think about running it both ways, day in day out, all year round. Therefore, I had to find a midpoint, where I could park my car, and then run to work. Fortunately, I did find a park and ride right in the middle of my path to work, which means running a total of 13 miles daily. However, there are days, more that I care to admit really, where 13 miles is just too much – either my body cannot take it, or the family schedule is just too hectic.

OC Transpo bus in Ottawa, Canada

So, on those days, I park my car, and run across one of the inter-provincial bridges between Gatineau and Ottawa. Then, I hop on the bus once on the other side of the river, for a running distance of approximately 3,5 miles (5 km). At the end of the day, when I have run the link both ways, I have run a total of 7 miles (10 km).

Inter-provincial bridge between Gatineau and Ottawa

I must admit, I used to think that running the link was cheating, but not anymore.  I am still in reasonable shape, and it even allowed me to improve my time on the 5 km distance! So, if life only allows for a shorter run commute, don’t feel bad like I once did, don’t ditch the habit, and embrace the link.

Run Commuting Challenges – Parenting

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.

Scenario

Our family consists of two adults and three children, ages 3, 8, and 15 (that’s daycare, elementary, and high school – three places to be, possibly at different times). We are a one-car family and public transportation is available. The adults work in, or near, downtown. All kids can be dropped off at the same time, and (mostly) picked up at the same time. Both my wife and I want to use active transportation to get to and from work.

Before school started in late-July, we sat down and planned out our days to see what would work in our given situation. I would do drop-offs and she would do pick-ups. My wife has meetings a night or two a week after work, so she wouldn’t be able to get them every day. I work criminal trials occasionally, and have to go in early and stay late on court days, so those days we would need to adjust accordingly (and possibly ask for outside help). But for the most part, we have a fairly predictable day. In order to help us create a schedule, we first mapped out all the places we might need to be during a typical day.

Planning

Once we had that in front of us, not only did we realize that everything was within a reasonable running and biking distance, but we were able to create a schedule and plan that works for everyone. Here is what a typical, active commuting day looks like for our family:

  • 5:30 am – Dad wakes up, showers, makes lunches, packs bags

  • 6:30​ ​am​ ​– Wake the kids up. Start feeding them, getting them dressed

  • 6:40 am ​– Mom comes downstairs with little kids

  • 6:40 ​am ​– 7:15 ​am ​- Chaos​, which sometimes includes breakfast, hopefully involves brushed teeth, and possibly involves clothes worn the day before​

  • 7:15 ​am ​– 15-year-old bikes or walks to school; Dad loads little ones in car, heads to their school/daycare​ (these are both within the same block)​

  • 7:25 ​am ​– Dad arrives​ at school​, parks car for the day at school​ (note: car has bike rack on back)​

  • 7:30 ​am ​– Both little ones are in place; Dad’s run to work begins; Mom bikes to work

  • 8:00 am – School starts​; Mom arrives at work and cools down

  • 8:10 am – Dad arrives at work, cools down, then cleans up; Mom begins work

  • 8:30 am – Dad starts working

  • 8:30 am – 3:45 pm – Parents working; kids in school

  • 3:45 pm – School ends/afterschool program begins

  • 4:30 pm – Teenager bikes home

  • 5:00/5:30​ pm​ – ​Work ends, ​Mom bikes to school, puts bike on car, picks little ones up. Dad leaves work, takes the train, and runs home from nearest station.

  • 5:40 ​pm ​- Everyone is home. Begin to prepare dinner.

Results

Following our schedule, here is what our daily mileage looks like:

Dad (dropoff)

Morning

  • 1 mile of driving

  • 5 miles of run commuting

Afternoon

  • 0 – 5 miles of train (depends on available time)

  • 1 – 5.3 miles of running

Daily Total: 6 – 10.3 miles run commuting, 0 – 5 miles on the train, and 1 mile driving.

Mom (pickup)

Morning

  • 3.5 miles bike commuting

  • 0 miles of driving

Afternoon

  • 3.5 miles bike commuting

  • 1 mile of driving

Daily Total: 7 miles of bike commuting, 1 mile of driving.

It is important to note that this is what works for us right now. This is a “while-the-kids-are-in-school” schedule, and once summer arrives and camps begin, everything will change, and we’ll go through the above planning once again.

“Yes, but…”

While this active transportation scheme works for us, we often have to modify it, and sometimes that happens a couple of times a week. Why? For many reasons, including unscheduled meetings, late work nights, etc. For the more common ones, here are some answers to questions I know readers (especially parents) will want to know:

What if your kid gets sick and your only car is at school? How do you pick them up?

This actually just happened this week. Our daycare called and said our little guy was sick and needed to be picked up as soon as possible. I put in for leave at work, set an out-of-office reply, changed back into my (still wet) running gear, and headed to the train station. Then, once the train arrived at my home station, I ran 2 miles to daycare to pick up my son and the car before driving back home.

My other option would have been Uber, a taxi, or a bus that gets me fairly close to school (but is slower than taking the train).

What do you do if your kids don’t finish school/afterschool at the same time each day?

If, for example, one child needs to be picked up at 5:00, and the other at 6:00, the parents could split pickup duties between themselves that day. Or, the main pickup person does both, while the other stays home and prepares dinner.

I don’t have time to do all this, and make dinner, and get the kids to bed on time. How can I make it work?

Using a slow cooker has saved us a lot of time and frustration. Get a good slow cooker with a built-in timer and a crock pot cookbook that has recipes your family would enjoy. Take a little time on the weekend to look through the cookbook, plan five to seven recipes for the week, and go out and buy the ingredients. Some cookbooks split meal prep into the night before, and the morning of, to make things easier.

Aside from the slow cooker, another option would be to cook two large meals on the weekend, then store them for serving throughout the week. For instance, make a pan of lasagna and a broccoli-cheese casserole. Serve on alternate days, and on Friday, take a night off and eat out.


 

I know, I know – this all sounds way too complicated…

However daunting it may initially seem, after you’ve done it for a few days, the routine becomes as normal as any other in your life. You have to get your kids to school and make dinner anyway, no matter how you decide to get to and from work, so why not try to throw run commuting into the mix, as well? You’ll be glad you did!

Run Commuting Story Roundup – April 2017

It’s the end of April and it is time for another edition of the Run Commuting Story Roundup! There seems to have been an increase in articles about lately, and while it’s probably tied to warmer temperatures (people more likely to run) we like to think it’s because run commuting is becoming more popular.

If you have written a post about run commuting on your blog, or have read a news article or post about run commuting that you want us to know about, send us an email and it may show up in a future Run Commuting Story Roundup.

(more…)

Review: Alpine Dam’s “The Shoreline” Trucker Hat

If a Goldilocks exists in my modest collection of running caps, it is Alpine Dam’s Shoreline model. The sweet spot especially is its brim.

That is no small praise. There is a glut of trucker caps proffered to the running community these days. They have grown increasingly popular since Anton Krupicka wore a trucker cap in his Leadville 100 victory. They espouse, perhaps embody, the simplicity and care-free attitude self-proclaimed dirtbag runners seek to claim – yet that counter culture cap, once de novo, has become de rigueur.

Salt-crusted hats are where it’s at.

Short of blocking sun, containing hair, or concealing a bald spot, choice of such caps really comes down to brand. They are, like bread, permutations of only a few ingredients assembled in different manners and amounts.

I have several, some of which were race takeaways, others I’ve purchased since my wife encouraged me to wear sun protection during Atlanta’s immolating summers. The reasons that have led to my abandoning some are precisely why I have grown enamored of Alpine Dam’s cap in the several weeks since they provided it for review. My disdain and disappointment in most are enumerated thus:

  1. Brim too long

  2. Dome too high

  3. Material destroyed by my incessant and salt-heavy sweat

There is a little room in the Shoreline’s crown, so air can move through and hair isn’t plastered to my scalp, yet not so tall that it looks absurd. Same with the brim: not a stub, as on bicycle caps (Krupicka’s current favorite, by the way), nor so long that it juts above your vision like the Star Destroyer in Star Wars’ opening scene, or that you feel you’re wearing a Goofy cap from Disney World. Even Beyonce looks a fool in a Goofy hat. You want to look good on your commute: you want to feel you look good, too.

The hat also wears well for hard-style poses amongst a trucker’s wasteland.

Here’s what really sealed it for me about the Shoreline: those long brims also obscure headlamp beams. That is important when you are run commuting in early or late hours, or running ultra distances. One shadow is enough to grab a toe and send you sprawling, leaving your flank scraped by Supermanning down a sidewalk, or your sternum marred by trail Braille.

The Shoreline cap is royal blue, with a mesh back and a foam front panel, sporting a flashy sherbet-hued logo: big, bold, and satisfying, like a glimpse of Atari, and absent the glaring day-glo safety colors so prevalent in active wear of late. So the cap is attractive, if unobtrusive.

You’ll notice it is choked with salt. As The Run Commuter founder (and my best friend) Josh can with a sneer of revulsion attest, my sweat is so salty that it appears I’ve been laboring the live-long day in the mines of Syracuse, New York, rather than enjoying an eight-mile run. It has honestly ruined cotton caps by destroying and warping the fabric. So far, the Shoreline’s foam has stood firm and shown no discoloration.

The logo is reminiscent of a mountain elevation profile, and wondered whether it was that of Mt. Tamalpais, located near Alpine Dam HQ in Marin County, California. Company founder Adam Melenkivitz clarified it is intended as the former (his daughter chimed it looked like their maps), and not actually Mt. Tamalpais. Rather, something with which anyone familiar with such profiles could identify.

He continued, “Specifically, the sharp end of the logo is how I imagined the climb from the Alpine Dam years ago … well prior to Strava. I always saw this as a winding, sharp climb in my mind. At the time, I had to work up to this ride, so ‘Alpine Dam’ was big goal for me. Alpine Dam for me wasn’t just the dam, or lake and the trails, but the entire experience of the loop.”

That’s a noble goal. It appeals to me, as certainly it will to others. It’s my Thunder Rock, or someone’s Iron Man, or another’s 15K. It might be your run commute.

The one detriment I’d note in the cap again comes back to sweat. Alpine Dam sent two models: the Shoreline, which I tested, and the BoFax, which my wife claimed. Hilary commented that she would like an integrated sweat-wicking band inside the BoFax. Neither model carried one, but it wasn’t much of an issue to me. The Shoreline did just fine, drawing sweat up into the cap’s body and brim.

One last thing I appreciate about the brand, which might be a deciding factor to some, is that Melenkivitz in his correspondence, and in Alpine Dam’s media, consistently references his kids. They are heavily involved in the products – selecting logo colors; doodling mountains on the patio; reviewing design ideas. Alpine Dam offers a few kids’ models, too. So though dirtbag runners seem to lean toward lone wolf branding, Alpine Dam might position itself across a variety of pursuits and social activities, as well as with active families.

That’s a rich market, neither too big, nor too small: just right.

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To see more of Alpine Dam’s products (currently with a 30% off code on the homepage!) visit their website.

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Disclaimer

Alpine Dam provided us with the trucker hats for review, however this did not influence my opinion regarding this product. The thoughts and pictures contained in this review are my own.

The New Run Commuters – March 2017

Runner’s World magazine (Oct 2016) recently gave Seattle the silver medal for number 2 best running city in America (behind San Fran). Aaron Mercer, our runcommuter for this month, is a Seattle resident who uses his runcommuting to make the most of what the city has to offer. He braves the state’s rainy, wet conditions to runcommute almost every day. Aaron is helping his work colleagues stay healthy, too.

A scientist at Novo Nordisk, Aaron is also the Wellness Committee chair and promotes running to other employees. Aaron says he enjoys exploring his city on his runcommutes. He manages to incorporate cafe-testing into these runs as well, taking advantage of Seattle’s abundance of coffee joints. An excellent idea for all runcommuters: the combination of running and coffee is a classic, and what better way to start (or end) the day…especially when it’s raining!

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Aaron Mercer

  • Age: 33

  • City/State: Seattle, WA

  • Profession/Employer: Research Scientist, Novo Nordisk

  • Number of years running: 17

  • Number of races you participate in a year: 4

  • Do you prefer road or trail? Trail, but I have learned to love the road again with all of my run commuting.

 

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Formerly an Osprey Manta AG 28, but I recently made the switch to the IAMRUNBOX Pro.

  • Shoes: Anything around 7 – 8 oz in weight from Brooks or Saucony. Their shoes fit my narrow feet better than most companies’.

  • Clothing: A mix of tech shirts and shorts, as well as race shirts. I never match, because run commuting is about form over fashion!

  • Outerwear: I have a few running jackets from Brooks, but I typically layer a short sleeve and long sleeve tech shirt because winters are pretty mild in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Headgear: I typically don’t wear a hat but I will wear sunglasses in the warm/sunny months.

  • Lights: Black Diamond Sprinter. It has good lumens for the dark and drizzly evening commutes in Seattle.

  • Hydration: I’ll hold a water bottle if I bring anything at all. I tend to only bring extra hydration for runs longer than 10 miles (16km), or when the temperatures get too warm outside (above 75F).

 

Aaron Mercer

Aaron’s runcommuting route.

Beer Run!! Aaron and his friend Pete ran 10 miles between 5 breweries. Did they follow it with a coffee run?

Aaron’s runcommute pack, in his home’s appropriately white, scandi interior. 

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

Evening traffic in Seattle can be atrociously slow, and my run commute many days is as fast or faster than most forms of transport. My office is next to Amazon’s ever-expanding campus in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, so traffic is almost always a grind. Runcommuting also gives me a chance to get in miles without cutting into my family time outside of work.

How often do you run commute?

2-4 days per week after work, but even on my “non-running” days I add in 2 miles of running between the most efficient bus lines to get home [editor’s note: we consider any combo of running+vehicular transport to be runcommuting! So, Aaron runcommutes more than he admits ;-)]

How far is your commute?

10.5 miles (16km) for the full run, and around 2 miles if I mix in bus commuting.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

Either, depending on what leftovers I have at home, and how much volume I have available in my backpack. My go-to spot for eating out is a Vietnamese food truck called Xplosive that seems to live on the Amazon campus — their vermicelli bowl is my favorite way to get veggies/carbs/protein when I’m in a hurry. I’m also fortunate that my job provides catered lunch twice a week.

What do you like most about run commuting?

1. I enjoy the efficient use of my time, since I get my commute and exercise finished in one activity.

2. Runcommuting keeps me disciplined with my eating and sleep habits to keep up with the demands of 20-40 miles of running per week.

3. It gives me a chance to explore the city. Seattle has a lot of history and interesting neighborhoods, so runcommuting gives me a great opportunity to scout the area. It’s also a good excuse to try one of the dozens of independent coffee shops here.

What are the weather conditions like for your runcommute?

Temperatures are always fairly mild in Seattle, but there are many days with rain and slick pavement. True to the stereotypes it is cool, wet, and cloudy for most of the year. It’s good running weather even if footing can get a bit tricky.

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

No, but I do see other people running with backpacks in the city. I would assume that they are runcommuting as well. There are many, many people in my office and in Seattle who bike commute, however.

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

If I’m not running, I will either car pool, or mix in 2 miles of running to get to-and-from express bus lines. Once Seattle finishes expanding its light rail network, I will be two blocks from one of the stations.

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

Invest in decent gear, and monitor your shoes for wear and tear. It’s hard to keep up with runcommuting multiple days per week with busted gear or a busted body.

Anything else that you would like to include?

My PR for a slightly longer run commute (11.46 miles) was set in October with a time of 1:18:32 (6:52/mile pace). I strive to beat that pace every time I run home!

I chair the Wellness Committee for Novo Nordisk in Seattle. My role is to oversee the budget for sports and events, as well as organizing our office’s participation in the annual JDRF Beat the Bridge Race. I encourage all Seattleites to run the race, and to join Team Novo Nordisk if they would like some camaraderie!

Even runcommuters need a holiday…Aaron in Tucson.

Are you interested in being featured on The New Run Commuters? If so, fill out the form below and we’ll send you more details.

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Run Commuting Story Roundup – February 17, 2017

Here’s a quick roundup of interesting run commuting stories I found recently. I’ll try and do a similar post monthly if enough content can be found.

If you have written a post about run commuting on your blog, or have read a news article or post about run commuting that you want us to know about, send us an email and it may show up in a future Run Commuting Story Roundup.

 


 

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