Josh

About Josh

Editor-in-Chief of The Run Commuter by night, paralegal by day. Father of three boys. Husband to the world's greatest bicycle advocate. Avid runner. Lover of beer and urban gardening. Can be found running with a backpack around the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Josh at info@theruncommuter.com

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
image

Patrick Benko in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

  • Age: 33

  • City/State: Germantown, MD

  • Profession/Employer: American Public Health Association

  • Number of years running: 20+

  • # of races you participate in a year: 15

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

Run Commuting Gear

On Run Commuting

IMG_8512

A typical scene from Patrick’s morning run commute

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

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

How often do you run commute?

Everyday, to and from the office.

How far is your commute?

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

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

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

What do you like most about run commuting?

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

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

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

IMG_8923

Running past an Impeach Obama demonstration

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

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

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

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

Anything else that you would like to include?

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

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Megan Allore
Allore - geared up

New Run Commuter Megan Allore

  • Age: 24

  • City/State: Miami, FL

  • Profession/Employer: Evaluation Manager, City Year Miami

  • Number of years running: 4

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

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

Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: Gregory Navarino 12

  • Shoes: Saucony Guide 7

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

  • Outerwear: None (It’s Miami!)

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

  • Lights: None

  • Hydration: Nathan QuickDraw Plus

On Run Commuting

Allore - gear

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

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

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

How often do you run commute?

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

How far is your commute?

My route is 1.75 miles.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

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

What do you like most about run commuting?

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

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

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

Allore - commuting

Running past beautiful Biscayne Bay

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

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

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

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

Anything else that you would like to include?

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

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By |2017-02-26T11:34:36-04:00August 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 |2018-02-27T15:01:14-04:00July 18th, 2014|Categories: General, People|Tags: , , , , , |3 Comments

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 |2018-02-27T15:01:13-04:00June 18th, 2014|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

The New Run Commuters – June 2014

What is the farthest you’ve ever run commuted? Personally, I’ve done about 15-16 miles or so round-trip. Pam Walker, from South Lyon, MI runs that distance to work in the morning… and then runs it again on the way home, for a round-trip total of 31.2 miles! Find out more about her and fellow midwestern runner, Anne Ellis, (who has also surpassed my farthest run commute) in this month’s edition of The New Run Commuters.

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Runner Basics

Pam Walker running the Run Through Hell race

Pam Walker running the Run Through Hell race

  • Name: Pam Walker
  • Age: 46
  • City/State: South Lyon, MI
  • Profession/Employer: Clinical Pharmacist (Emergency Medicine)
  • Number of years running: 8 years
  • # of races you participate in a year: 8-12, but cutting back this year to focus on ultramarathons
  • Do you prefer road or trail? 50/50, I like to have the balance. Trails are nice and easy on the leg and tend to have more hills for me to work harder on. The road (or rather paved Rails-to-Trails) gives me a more flat training environment and it’s easier to focus on form changes with the bonus of a safer environment being separated from vehicular traffic.

Run Commuting Gear

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I started run-muting this past October since I needed to get in more training miles (training for my first 50 miler – JFK in November. I didn’t want to cut into time at home with my husband. He’s already been more than patient with my time out running. I found a shower facility at work so I just had to plan out the proper route to work and bring in needed clothes, food, etc., on the Mondays since I drive in on that day. I run 80% dirt roads (many rolling hills) into my job at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor.

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Pam’s route to work

How often do you run commute?

Twice a week – both round trips.

How far is your commute?

15.6 miles one way on some really beautiful back roads.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I pack and bring everything in on Monday for the full week. It’s far easier to make sure that I have healthy foods to ensure good recovery for the next run. I am big on using Garden of Life’s Raw Meal post-am run to cover all my BCAAs, protein and some glucose needs and that is easy to just leave a tub of it at work. I will take essential amino acids before I set back out to run home. Since I feel that this type of training can increase the inflammatory process I keep up on my Omega 3’s capsules and I do have issues with iron deficiency, so I have to take iron tablets to stay on top of that. Yeah, typical pharmacists popping pills, nutritional supplements that is ;)

What do you like most about run commuting?

I enjoy seeing the sun rise and/or set on my runs. It’s beautiful running on the rolling dirt roads, listening to the birds and frogs in the early morning. It’s interesting because I am far from a morning person but this run in helps prepare me for work and those running endorphins help with my needed creativity for certain projects that I may be working on.I love this run for all the farms and horses out and about, great way to leave the work day behind.

Pam W 03

Running through the countryside

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

No, I wish I could find someone doing the same thing, especially if there was a way for our paths to cross and run a section together. But I have talked some friends into running a few miles with me after work.

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

Drive my car but I am looking for ways to “inherit” my husband’s mountain bike and add that in for another 1-2 days of commuting.

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

Use The Run Commuter page to get inspired and learn how to make it happen. I got started because I was inspired by how easy they made it all sound. Then I searched out a safe route and tested it out with my car to see how busy the road traffic might be and to make sure that I wouldn’t be too isolated. Planning, planning, and more planning. Let your friends and family know what you are doing, often times I have friends keeping their eyes open for me and it’s always nice to have them wave or shout out to me on my run-mute and its keeps me more motivated and potentially safer. In fact, I am thinking about getting a Spot Satellite Messenger to let my family and friends track where I am and use it to text when I am done or need help. Keep a foam roller in your office or cube, if possible, and see about finding a sports massage therapist if you don’t already. Have a backup plan, mine is bribery (dinner out) if I have to bail and get picked up. Really, if you put your mind to it and work up to the distance following aerobic heart rate training, it is not only easy but makes you a more content person.

Anything else that you would like to include?

Keep in mind the road conditions and your fellow cyclists and drivers. I did stop with my run-muting during this crazy winter (Jan – Mar) because of all the snow and ice on the roads. Not only do I worry about my own safety, but I do not want to create unsafe conditions for everyone else. Also, use bug spray and keep your cellphone dry (learned from a bad experience.)

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Anne Ellis
Anne E 01

New Run Commuter Anne Ellis

  • Age: 42
  • City/State: Chicago, IL
  • Profession/Employer: Program Manager at a large urban church
  • Number of years running: 18
  • # of races you participate in a year: 4-6 in the past 5 years or so, didn’t really race much before then
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I love both. When I started running it was mostly on trails (rural Massachusetts) and I still run on them whenever I can. I love the varied terrain (makes my run feel like play) and being in nature. But being in the city I’ve had to embrace road running. I like running through the different neighborhoods, I like my city and I like watching people. I think it would be hard to run on roads if I lived someplace less interesting. (Even now, I run off pavement as much as possible.)
  • Run Commuting Gear

    • Backpack: Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest (1.0) It is not water- or sweat-proof, so I put my important items in a large Ziploc bag before putting them in the back compartment, and my phone in a smaller Ziploc bag in front. I bring in my clothes and food the day before, and leave behind anything I don’t absolutely need overnight.
    • Shoes: Brooks Ghost
    • Clothing: Race shirts and Road Runner Sports compression shorts or tights
    • Outerwear: My favorite lightweight piece is a Mountain Hardware windbreaker, many years old now. Otherwise, I wear a mix of layers. I have a great cold weather running hoodie that I got from a race and I ran in that all winter. I could use something really waterproof, maybe next winter I’ll splurge. Also, as I get older I’m having more trouble with my hands getting cold and I need to get more running gloves, even for summer – it gets windy along the lake. Or, maybe I’ll just remember to wear the ones I have.
    • Headgear: Turtle Fur gaiters for when it’s really cold or bandanas when it’s just windy (I don’t like my neck to be cold). I have a beanie from another race and a Mizuno beanie for colder weather, and then I wear Brooks running hats when I need shade.
    • Lights: Not needed, I don’t run in the dark.
    • Hydration: I have a UD bladder that fits my race vest for really long runs but mostly I use 8 or 10 oz. Fuelbelt flasks in the front pockets of my vest – I like the way they fit against my chest. The bigger bottles that came with the vest are too unwieldy.

    On Run Commuting

    Why did you decide to start run commuting?

    I was training for my first marathon (2010) and needed a way to get the miles in! I commuted 1-2 times a week but stopped once the marathon was over. I was using a small backpack that I had jury-rigged with safety pins and it wasn’t very comfortable. Then last year when I decided to do a marathon again I splurged on the UD race vest and that made a huge difference. I also had a second child in the meantime and didn’t want to take weekend time away from the family for the long run, so I decided to incorporate that into my run commuting. Towards the end of my marathon training last year I was running in twice a week and loving how I felt with the higher weekly mileage, so I decided to continue with run commuting through the winter. I had to take a break for two months due to injury but have been back at it for a couple of months now.

    Anne E 02

    A view from Anne’s run commute

    How often do you run commute?

    Right now, 2-3 times a week. In the winter I’ll probably drop back to 1-2 times a week.

    How far is your commute?

    At a minimum it’s 6 miles. I like to make it 7 or 8, and I also use it as my long run, so have done up to 18. I have a semi-flexible schedule and work several evenings a month so can make my commute serve that purpose when I need to.

    Do you pack or buy a lunch?

    Usually I pack a lunch (and snacks!) in the day before along with my clothes. At the end of the each week I look ahead at the next one and figure out when I’ll need to bring in clothing and food (and towels).

    What do you like most about run commuting?

    I like having the extended quiet time to myself, while still being out and about. I also like having a purpose to my run and the idea that I am getting myself where I need to go. And having the extra time though mostly I’ve filled that up with new athletic pursuits.

    Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work? (If so, tell us a bit about them)

    No. Very occasionally I’ve seen people running (usually on the way home) that look like they might be run commuting, but haven’t managed to get up close enough to them in time to make sure.

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

    Public transportation. That’s the only thing I miss with run commuting, the train is my reading time. On the other hand, running is my only opportunity to listen to albums in their entirety.

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

    Anne E 03

    Anne’s office setup

    Make lists of what you’re going to need to bring in (or leave behind) and use them. I’ve forgotten a few things from time to time, usually not serious, but a couple of weeks ago I forgot to bring in pants. I needed to look semi-professional that day, otherwise I would have just stayed in my running kit all day, so I ended up waiting until the Columbia store opened and getting a new skirt. Luckily there are plenty of shopping opportunities where I work. I do plan to bring in a backup outfit to leave behind for the future, which would also give me more flexibility in deciding to run in or not.

    Anything else that you would like to include?

    I leave a cleanup kit at work. When I first started I relied on baby wipes and washcloths to get clean, but now we have lockers and showers at work which is nice, especially as I can go straight down to the basement and get cleaned up before anyone sees me, other than the security guards.

     

    By |2016-10-22T20:26:37-04:00June 16th, 2014|Categories: General, People|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

    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.

    Q&A with UK’s #run2workday Founder Gordon Lott

    If you are from London, you may have recently noticed a significant increase in media coverage related to run commuting. And, if you dig through the deluge of television stars and top athletes touting their love and support of running to work in the London Evening Standard and elsewhere, you’ll find one man behind it all.

    The founder of #run2workday (June 5th, 2014) and health advocate behind a tax-free running gear petition in the UK, Gordon Lott, 40, believes people should ditch the Tube and instead turn to run commuting to help maintain their fitness and ease overcrowding on London’s transit system. And, he’s not alone. The Mayor of London has gone all-in on the idea…

    We asked Gordon about his beginnings, his vision for #run2workday, and what the future holds for cities and politicians that support running to work as a regular commute option.

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    Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background? Are you a runner?

    I’ve always loved ball sports and I only got in to running when I decided to do a triathlon 6 years ago as a new goal for myself to get fit. I now do two or three Triathlons a year to help keep the weight off – I weigh 95kgs, so I’m not naturally built for running; I drink too much, I’ve smoked; I love chocolate and food, so running is a necessity for me to stay fit and keep the weight off, and I love the feeling of achievement having been on a run.

    How did the idea for #run2workday and the tax petition originate?

    I felt running needed a campaign to attract more people to it – not just those already predisposed to running.  There are lots of 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and great events like Tough Mudder and triathlons, but too often these events speak to people who are already fit and running. What we haven’t done well is engage people who don’t naturally consider running or jogging, however far, to be active and healthy.   Many, like me don’t ‘love’ running and probably never will, but I certainly enjoy the sense of achievement when I do it, and running to work, even just two or three times a week, is an easy way of keeping fit within your daily routine and can save people a lot of travel money. 

    Our mission is to help get 1 million more people running at least once a week by 2020 (currently it stands at 2 million, so its a 50% increase).

    So I set up www.run2work.com as the first dedicated hub to helping people run to work in the UK.  The Route Planner shows you the quickest and shortest route to take, and you can set up run2work Groups with people at home or work who will keep you motivated. #run2workday is an idea to help people try running to work, and with our Partners including the Evening Standard, Virgin Active, and Amazon Audible, we’re giving people information and incentives to do so.  

    However #run2workday isn’t a long term, sustainable solution.  To create real change, we need to provide more information, the right kit (such as ruck sacks to carry laptops), and environment (such as more showers at work), and incentivise people.  That’s why we’ve launched the petition for the cost of running to work to be tax-free which could save people over £100 a year.  The long term savings to the National Health Service and Transport system far outweigh the tiny reduction in tax income.  In the UK, Cycling to Work is already tax-free – you purchase a bike and equipment through an employer’s scheme before tax on your salary is deducted.  Over 500,000 have signed up to one of these schemes, which is 65% of all people who cycle to work, so it has clearly worked and cycling as a sport is experiencing fantastic growth. 

    Why did you choose Thursday, June 5, 2014 for #run2workday?

    Thursday 5 June is the first #run2workday – we’re holding them throughout the summer on the first Thursday of each month, so we help people make it a habit and not a one off. They all fall between a number of running and mass participation events, so we hope people can use Running to Work as a way to train and stay fit.

    Is #run2workday mainly for the people of London and the surrounding area or is it open to runners from around the world?

    The offers people get for taking part in #run2workday are just for the UK, however people all over the world are taking part in #run2workday which is great – the more the merrier!

    How did the mayor of London become involved with this project?

    One of the Mayor of London’s biggest priorities is to reduce overcrowding on London’s Tube Network – he wants fewer people to use it because there is only finite capacity, so for him and TfL (Transport for London), more people running to work can help them achieve this objective.

    run2work logo 300 x 250Do you think participation by the mayor and star athletes will increase public buy-in?

    We certainly hope so, and we also hope David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, will also take part – he regularly runs in London’s Parks, so maybe he could run to the Houses of Commons or another meeting.

    Cycling to work typically faces a social barrier: drivers vs. bikers, and who owns the roads; however, run commuting’s bane is usually that, unless one’s workplace touts showers, people see it as unhygienic. Do you think that will be a significant barrier to run2work?

    I don’t see a lack of showers being any more of an issue for running to work than it is for cycling to work. Yes, there are some people who cycle only a short distance and don’t need a shower, but many who do cycle in need a shower, so the shower facilities issue is really important for everyone who wants to get fit running or cycling to work. As well as tax-free running kit, we also believe the government needs to regulate or incentivize builders to put more shower facilities in any new-build or redevelopment project.

    The Route Planner is fantastic! Do you see any future applications for it beyond #run2workday?

    Absolutely – we want to do much more with it, such as create printable versions, expand the map size, and show alternative routes. We also hope to create an app once we get additional funding.

    What would it take for you to consider this scheme a success: several dozen who participate the one day, as something of a novelty or one-off; or conversion of some commuters to dedicated run commuters, from their other modes?

    In the long term, success will be when more people than don’t say that running to work is an easy way to commute and stay fit, whether part or all the way, and however regularly they run.

    Great question! In the short-term, we’re hoping 10,000 people will join in #run2workday over the summer 2014 – we have just shy of 1,000 already signed up in just three weeks since launch, so we’re on track. Making running to work tax-free, incentivizing more showers, helping people set up run2work groups and other initiatives such as these will helps us achieve this ambition.

    For more about #run2workday visit their website and join the run2work Facebook Group.

    By |2016-12-24T10:30:09-04:00May 15th, 2014|Categories: News, General|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.)

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    By |2018-02-27T15:01:13-04:00May 13th, 2014|Categories: News, General, People|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments
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    The New Run Commuters – April 2014

    In this month’s TNRC feature, we profile M. Suzette from Atlanta, GA, and Presh from Washington D.C. Loving the city life and rich history of D.C., Presh talks about packing light and that familiar, sinking feeling of being passed by a runner while sitting in traffic. M. Suzette, a nurse at a children’s hospital here in Atlanta, talks about choosing run commuting over the lure of wine and long shuttle bus rides. She is also TRC’s newest contributor, so stay tuned for more on M. Suzette and her tips, tricks, and stories about running to work!

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    Runner Basics

    • Name: M. Suzette Birdling
      New Run Commuter M. Suzette - Before and After

      New Run Commuter M. Suzette – Before and After

    • Age: 35
    • City/State: Atlanta, GA
    • Profession/Employer: Registered nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
    • Number of years running: 5
    • # of races you participate in a year: I pay for 1 or 2 (Peachtree and one other), but I race myself every time I go out.
    • Do you prefer road or trail? I have to have a preference? I love them both! Sometimes I want to feel like a wild animal running and jumping over obstacles through the woods, and sometimes I prefer the urban wilderness, dodging cars and navigating uneven pavement.

    Run Commuting Gear

    M. Suzette's backpack contents

    M. Suzette’s backpack contents

    • Backpack: Camelbak Mule without the bladder. 
    • Shoes: I alternate between a pair of Saucony Ride 5 and Brooks Ravenna 4
    • Clothing: Shorts, tech fabric shirt, knee socks and a lightweight pullover if it’s below 30 degrees, shorties and no pullover if it’s warmer. Occasionally if the weather is different than I anticipated, I will run home in all or part of my uniform.
    • Outerwear: I wear a Nike Run pullover hoodie for warmth. It has lots of reflective patches which is a bonus. I’ve been lucky and not had rain any day that I planned to run commute, so I actually don’t have any rain gear. I’m not sure yet how I’ll handle rain.
    • Headgear: None. I fix my hair before I leave home, and headgear would mess it up! 
    • Lights: Err, none. I have reflective things on my pack and shorts and shoes though.
    • Hydration: It’s only 2.7 miles, I just drink when I get there.

    On Run Commuting

    Why did you decide to start run commuting?

    A couple of months ago CHOA moved a lot of our parking over to Emory. We then take a shuttle bus to the hospital. It took my 2.7 mile/ 15 min car commute to over 35 minutes. I thought about riding my bike, but then I saw The Run Commuter website and knew I’d found a great solution to multiple problems. I am a single mother and I work long shifts. Most of my runs are while the kids are at school. And after getting up at the crack, working a 12+ hour shift on my feet all day, I know that if I go home to change for a run, I am going to pour myself a glass of wine instead and hope for more energy tomorrow.  Even though my commute isn’t very far, it takes less time to run there than to drive, and I am getting in some exercise on days when I otherwise wouldn’t. Plus, I’m finding it’s incredibly cathartic to change out of my scrubs, lace up my shoes and just run away after a particularly stressful day.

    How often do you run commute?

    2-3 days a week. I work 12-hr shifts and tend to work them all in a row. I drive in on the first day with a few changes of scrubs, running clothes and shoes, Luna and Lara bars, some fruit like oranges or apples, and all my cleaning-up stuff. I leave it all in my locker until the last shift of the week when I drive home with all the dirty laundry.

    How far is your commute?

    Arriving at the office

    Arriving at the office

    It’s 2.7 miles by the shortest route; somehow it feels all uphill both ways. I don’t really try to go fast on the way to work. I don’t want to be a sweat ball when I get there. I have very enthusiastic sweat glands.

    Do you pack or buy a lunch?

    I do both. I also bring my breakfast. Usually a pita sandwich of some kind, a piece of fruit and an Illy coffee drink (or 2) in a can.

    What do you like most about run commuting?

    I like the feeling that I have accomplished at least one good thing for myself in a day. When I get to work, everyone else is still sleepy and grumpy, but I’m sweaty and smiling. My face is bright, and I am awake! 

     

    Drying clothes at work

    Drying clothes at work

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

    Nope, no one. I often run past a gentleman (going the opposite direction) who looks like he might be run-commuting. We just do the “Hey, Other Runner! God that hill sucks. No way, I’m not out of breath…” two-finger wave across Briarcliff Rd though. And the way the hospital greeters look at me when I walk in, like I’ve just stepped off a spaceship, suggests that not a lot of other people run commute there.

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

    I just drive, park with the rest of the red-headed stepchildren, and ride das Bus.

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

    Once you get yourself organized, it’s easier than you think. You’re not going to stink, and no one cares if your hair is perfect anyway. 

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     Runner Basics

    • Name: Presh (“Precious”)
    Presh ready to run

    New Run Commuter Presh

  • Age:  31
  • City/State: Washington, D.C.
  • Profession/Employer:  Regulatory Affairs, Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Number of years running:  8 years on and off
  • # of races you participate in a year: 0
  • Do you prefer road or trail?  I find road running the most stimulating.  I’ve given trails a shot, but I’m energized by the city, and people walking, riding bikes, shopping, etc.
  • Run Commuting Gear

    • Backpack: I conv