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.

Pam W 02

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.

    How I spent my snow-mer vacation

    Mornings were a frenzy of sifting, mixing, baking and boxing goods; I filled the afternoons by running them to friends at the city’s four corners, where they’d cozied up or hunkered down at their homes; I thrived in the iciest, nastiest parts of the storm, without oops or incident, yet when it seemed spring sprung forth, the waxing sun clearing lawns and slopes and grass, and the temperatures rose, freeing sidewalks from the freeze, loosing ice from limbs, and flushing silt-clogged roads with melt, I nearly lost my life: this is a tale of how I spent my two-day snow-mer vacation. (more…)

    By |2016-10-22T20:26:42-04:00February 14th, 2014|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

    REPREVE Fabric and the Importance of Recycling

    It’s time to up our game, run commuters.

    Yes, you are already doing an exceptional part in creating a better, cleaner, and healthier environment by replacing your automobile commutes with running, but I really had my eyes opened last week and it made me realize that we can do even more.

    We were sent a green beanie, whose fleece fabric, REPREVE, was made from recycled plastic bottles. In fact, six bottles go into the making of each one of their green, eco-friendly beanies. Awesome, right? The TRC team have always been big recyclers, but not everyone in the communities around us have taken up the torch. In fact, the U.S. plastic bottle recycling rate is less than 30 percent—so less than one-third of all plastic bottles get recycled.  So, Repreve is on a mission to get the word out: Just recycle more. That’s a message we support 100%. 

    You’ve probably heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a large area in the Pacific Ocean where vast quantities of trash particles accumulate in the upper water column. Scientists believe that 80% of the materials in the Patch (which is primarily composed of plastic), arrived there from land-based sources, including storm drain runoff.

    I normally don’t notice trash around me when I run and I never look for it. But during a recent 5.3-mile morning run commute, I decided to conduct some field research and count the number of plastic bottles I could find littering my route. The results were pretty shocking.

    REPREVE, turnitgreen, recycled fabric, recycling, the run commuter, run commuting, neighborhood trash, recycling plastic, recycled plastic bottle products

    92.

    92 plastic bottles, slowly breaking down, and making their way into our storm drains and waterways. That’s 17.36 plastic bottles per mile.

    The majority of the bottles (60%, or 55 bottles) were found along partially fenced railroad tracks within a large shipping yard. However, 35% (32 bottles) were found in residential and small commercial areas. I found flattened bottles on the sidewalks near resident’s parked cars, in close proximity to recycle bins, in people’s front yards – everywhere you would think that homeowners and business owners would see them and pick them up. Yet, there they sat.

    The cleanest area was the downtown core of Atlanta with only 5 bottles (5%) found in just over a mile.

    REPREVE, turnitgreen, recycled fabric, recycling, the run commuter, run commuting, neighborhood trash, recycling plastic, recycled plastic bottle products

     

    REPREVE, turnitgreen, recycled fabric, recycling, the run commuter, run commuting, neighborhood trash, recycling plastic, recycled plastic bottle products

    Here’s what I’m asking you to do as run commuters: Pick up some plastic bottles on your run home and add them to your recycling. They don’t weigh much and, when flattened, can be stuffed into any side or external pouch on your pack. Pick up some trash and put it into a nearby trash can if you can. Let’s create our own, neighborhood Adopt-a-Highway projects along our running routes and help keep them clean and beautiful. Let’s add this small task to what a run commuter “does.”

    Repreve will take over on the other end, crafting fabric from our recycled bottles, allowing a plethora of companies to make products which fit our pursuit of a healthier, greener lifestyle.

    And, if you are feeling creative and lucky, REPREVE is giving away $5,000 and some cool gear as part of their #turnitgreen X-Games contest. Details below.

    Contest Dates: CONTEST HAS ENDED.

    Grand Prize: $5,000 cash. To celebrate the X Games, REPREVE invites participants to share how they “turn it green”, or how they live a more sustainable life by recycling or reusing materials, by sharing an image or video on Twitter, Instagram or Vine with the #TurnItGreen hashtag and @Repreve. Once you share the image or video with the hashtag and company link, you will be entered into a sweepstakes where four entries will be randomly selected as the Top Four. Those four will be voted on by visitors to Repreve.com where the image or video with the most votes will win a $5,000 cash prize. The other three video entries will receive a REPREVE Jacket and a Go-Pro camera (retail valued at over $350).”

    Thanks to REPREVE for sponsoring today’s post around recycling, an important topic to us!

    By |2016-10-22T20:26:43-04:00January 12th, 2014|Categories: News, General|Tags: , , , , , , , |1 Comment

    On everyone’s minds

    Two weeks ago, I got three comments while running home from work. It’s not unusual: friends passing might hail hello; would-be wits and jerks in general offer more inflammatory fare, often from a passing car’s window. One of the comments that day came from an addled homeless lady sitting spread-eagle in the middle of the sidewalk outside a warehouse down my street: “Did you just get off a fire engine?” she squawked. No, ma’am, I assure you: I did not. I am to firemen what Steve Rogers, pre-Super Soldier Serum, is to Captain America.

    The other two comments were the same, hurled heartily from speeding vehicles on North Avenue, a east-west artery of rolling hills, several lanes, and one speed: fast. It was while I was huffing up said hills that the aforementioned comments came, both of them, “Go, Boston!”

    Scrotum graffiti is an eyesore, but hearts are welcome.

    Scrotum graffiti is an eyesore, but hearts are welcome.

    Then I spied this on a viaduct not much further on that passes over North Avenue, and pulled up short to consider. That structure carries on its shoulders the BeltLine Eastside Trail, a spiffed-up rail-trail that is Atlanta’s shiny new thing, universally adored by the city’s yuppies (and, for some reason, parents who think such a busy multi-use trail is an ideal environment for their kids to learn to bicycle). On one side of the viaduct, Murder Kroger, a grocery store that perfectly ties together all qualities and characters of North Avenue’s parallel thoroughfare, Ponce de Leon Avenue. On the other side, the Masquerade, a music venue-nee-cotton mill outside which suburban teens, greasers, Nth generation punks, emo kids, goths, and Hall queue to see their favorite bands.

    One side of the viaduct has a colorful, well-crafted mural touting the BeltLine. This side, though, is a scratch pad for aspiring taggers, their handles like Crass, Squeak, Squeal, Queequeg, and Hall — seldom, if ever, seen again — snippets of bad teen poetry and the proclamations of self-fancied philosophers. Quite the contrast.

    But the area is changing; North Avenue is changing. Developments like Ponce City Market, Historic 4th Ward Park, and the BeltLine are gradually, inexorably altering the areas in which they are situated. I saw Tuesday morning bags of trash piled high along that side of the viaduct that formerly served as taggers’ collective scratch pad. Weeds were pulled. Dirt was swept away. And the wall was painted that Eastern Bloc gray-blue color that is rolled over all permutations of “Queequeg was here,” and denotes that graffiti was there.

    IMG_7519

    Except this. The entire length of the wall: gray-blue, then, bam: preserved with painstaking care, “Boston On My Mind” remained. And I hope it remains there for a long, long while. Community immersion is a benefit of run commuting, and running in general. Similarly, the marathon has been called the most democratic of sporting events, as it offers the least barrier between spectators and athletes, a minimum separation between those who cheer and those cheered on — including the former’s entrance to that athletic endeavor.

    Perhaps drivers that day spied this, inspiring them to call, “Go, Boston!” as I huffed over those hills, rather than something derogatory or deflating, or nothing at all. I enjoy when strangers shout encouragement. I enjoy that they engaged me, as a member of the neighborhood, as a fellow citizen and person, despite the odds that we will never know one another or even again cross paths.

    Perhaps passersby of all kinds, everyone, will take note, keep those barriers down, and keep the literal and figurative Boston on their minds and in their hearts.

    By |2016-10-22T20:26:45-04:00May 1st, 2013|Categories: News, General|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

    Mike: family man, marathon man

    DeKalb Avenue is off my typical run commute route, but the morning was foggy and DeKalb offers a wonderful view of the skyline’s sentinels huddled in their wooly blankets. It also allowed me to meet Mike, another run commuter!

    run commuter

    Two miles out, two miles home daily = 20 miles during the work week.

    I spied Mike’s florescent orange shirt from several blocks back and hot-heeled it after him, grabbing for my camera. I caught him at Georgia State University’s campus, and we huffed out a bit of exchange over the next two blocks.

    Mike shared that he started run commuting about two or three months ago, while training for the March 17, 2013, Georgia Marathon. His kids’ needs and schedules sometimes precludes longer runs prior to or following work, so he began running two miles to the train station in the morning, and two miles home from it after work. That round-trip train ride also affords Mike 45 minutes in which to read, to his delight. Mike’s family lately scaled back to being a one-car family; this multi-modal run commute helps make that easier. It is something with which Josh’s family has experience, having gone from one car to being car-free (eventually going back to one car, after Ben joined their family). But that is how Josh came to run commuting, too.

    Running light -- and bright! -- though a hip or waist strap would reduce bag sway.

    Running light — and bright! — though a hip or waist strap would reduce bag sway.

    Mike and I had about as many minutes as blocks in which to speak before our paths parted, so I neglected to advise him about improvising a waist strap. As you can see, above, his backpack lacks that feature; I could see from blocks away that it changed his form significantly, and swayed visibly back and forth. Many options to allay this: a bungee cord, preferably one of the flat kind; some string; a web belt, of the Army surplus type; an old bike tire: limitless options.

    Mike, if you read this and would like to add anything, or more likely, if I botched some info, comment or contact us! The question we all have: what was your time in the marathon??

    By |2016-10-22T20:26:45-04:00April 30th, 2013|Categories: News, General|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments

    Noisy Backpacks

    Do you mind the sound of keys jingling?  No?  I bet you would after you heard them make that noise over 5,000 times in 45 minutes.  That’s how many times the loose keys in your backpack could make noise on a 45-minute run to work.  How’s that for some early morning ear candy?

    Well, fellow run commuters, we’re going to show you how to silence your commute.  No more key jingle.  No more water sloshing.  No more tink-tink-tink sounds from your zippers – just a nice, quiet pack for your run to work.  Let’s tackle them in the order of annoyance:

    Top Noise Makers

    1. Keys
    2. Belt Buckles
    3. Zippers
    4. Hydration Bladder/Liquid
    5. Loose Items/Food

    Solutions

     

    1.  Keys

    I have a lot of locks to open, so I have a lot of keys on my key ring.  And, key ring cards.  And, doodads.  All of those together make for a baseball-sized bundle of noise.  I’ve found that there are two ways to effectively silence keys.

    Camera Case

    I had one of these lying around unused, so I tried it out one day and found it worked very well.  As a bonus, it has a small zippered pouch that my metal watch fits into nicely.  You can easily find one that will fit your keys, no matter what size they may be. Simply go to a camera case display at any store and try it out with your own keys to find the best fit.

    Key SilencerRubber Band

    For the especially frugal or minimalist run commuter, you can use a rubber band.  The one pictured here was holding some store-bought vegetables together (either asparagus or broccoli).  It’s wide, short and durable, making it an ideal combination to bind your keys together.

     

    Belt Buckle Silencer2.  Belt Buckles

    There is one particular type of buckle that will annoy the crap out of you when you’re running – the web belt buckle.  There is a little metal bar inside the metal buckle that will bounce around clanging and jingling, almost like the sound coins in a cup make.  For this solution, we turn to our old friend rubber band.

    Once again, it does the trick.  Just be certain to pin the metal bar down under the rubber band or it won’t work.  You can also secure the entire belt by wrapping part of the rubber band around the coiled belt and buckle.

    3.  Zippers

    These pics should be self-explanatory.  There are probably a few more techniques I missed, but these are the main ones (and pretty simple and low-cost.)

     

    Add a Zipper Pull

    Use Some String/Cord

    String Monkey Fist

    Tie whatever works – just remember to burn the ends of the string so the ends don’t come unraveled.

    Wrap Them With Tape

    Tape Zipper

    I used easy-to-remove painter’s tape here, because, hey – you might want to hear that noise again and don’t want to hassle with a difficult removal. (Note: the blue tape was used for the pic – choice tape is electrical or the king of tapes…DUCT TAPE.)

    4.  Hydration Bladders

    This one is pretty simple.  Turn the bladder upside down and suck out all of the air.

    5.  Loose Food/Items

    This one is sort of simple, too.  The key is to eliminate the empty space.

    Loose Food

    Loose Items

    The first thing you can do is to ensure that the items in your pack are arranged properly.  One of our favorite companies, Osprey, created a handy graphic that shows you how to pack items based on weight.

    Osprey Packs - "How to Pack Your Pack" http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/web/how_to_pack_your_pack

    Osprey Packs – “How to Pack Your Pack”

    When run commuting, however, we don’t always run with a full load.  So no matter how well you arrange things inside, there may still be plenty of empty space for things to bounce around.  That’s why we recommend a pack with compression straps:

    Stratos Compression Straps

    Top and Bottom Compression Straps

    Compression straps allow you to change the size of your pack by squeezing the outside layer of material closer to your back, which in turn pulls items inside together tightly.  No more bounce!

    ———

    Hopefully you found some of these tips useful.  If you have any other suggestions, let us know!

    What has TRC been up to lately?

    Hey Run Commuters,

    We just wanted to let you know what’s been going on in the land of run commuting over these past few weeks.

    Atlanta Streets Alive!

    Run Commuter Marathon Relay

    On October 7th, TRC organized a marathon relay along the Streets Alive route (we were #62 on the map).

    We had a lot of fun with this.  Many people stopped by and inquired about run commuting, or told us about their own run commutes.  The sports editor of Urban China magazine (who wrote about us in one of their issues) even stopped by!  She’s now pursuing a post-grad degree at Georgia Tech.

    (more…)

    By |2016-10-22T20:26:47-04:00October 20th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on What has TRC been up to lately?

    Surgical Swagger: I Can Run – Part 2 SA, TX Run Commuter

    One of the things I do now is work with children having cognitive skills deficiencies such as Autism and Asperger syndrome.  The center where I help out is perfectly placed at a manageable 7 miles one way.

    I only mention I work with children because for me it has significance to my story.  Doing the type of work I did in the past; I only did it for the money – period.  There’s no kicking it around and I won’t kid myself or you by attempting to make it something it was not.  I had a longtime fear of never having enough money so I did everything I could to make sure I was never without it.  That ‘mindset’ cost me dearly in all aspects of my life especially where health was concerned.

    I would never have run commute to any one of my past employments.  There were many times I didn’t even want to get out of bed much less contemplate the thought of getting up earlier and challenging myself physically to get there.  Even though I was very good at what I did, I did not enjoy it and the work relationship(s) were definitely one-sided.  Therefore, transitioning to do things which provided me real satisfaction, joy, excitement and which were in-line with a newly defined purpose of health and happiness drastically changed my outlook.  I began to contemplate taking on a run commute endeavor.

    Firstly, it’s hot here – real hot.  The children I dedicate time to all come in the midafternoon and early evening so running in 100 degree temperatures was/is something I just have to deal with.  I wasn’t crazy about running in those temperatures and I wasn’t willing to destroy my body for the run commute.  I went ahead and bought a bus pass so if I felt like I was going to drop out I could at least haul my limping carcass onto an air conditioned transport for some of the way.

    I have taken mass transit systems in the U.S., Japan, Korea, etc., but I honestly had never taken the bus in San Antonio.  I was excited to learn though.  I hopped on a bus just to see how to navigate my way through stops and pickups.  I was happy and rode with a smile.  I will comment that it seemed like I was pretty much the only one enthusiastic about riding the bus.  Even though I was beaming with excitement, none of my smiles were returned to me.  As a matter of fact, one guy’s look made me almost want to pin my lips over my teeth all together.

    I didn’t even know how to exit the bus.  This fact was graciously, but aggressively, pointed out to me from a large burly fellow who yelled, “Push the door open!”  I told myself, “No sir, you’re not going to steal my sunshine” as I skipped off the bus steps.  Obviously, I am kidding there.  But, it really didn’t shift my mood all that much.  What I was doing was for me.  It was something I wanted to do so my want of doing so squashed any bad feelings which would have risen up and gotten out of control.  Besides, after being to a variety of places around the nation where people tend to interact with you more antagonistically, this guy with his sparkling attitude seemed rather charming.

    I am a first time run commuter.  I mean sure I had been on long hikes, camping trips which required me to haul a lot of gear, ran with a hydration pack, – I won’t go into the entire minutia of activities.  But, I had never run to environment where I had to look presentable and then instead of relaxing, refueling and cleaning up, transition straight into performing a task.

    So naturally my first time run commuting I over-packed and over-prepared.  I packed all the things I thought I might need: extra food, toothbrush, tooth paste, night lamp, extra socks, sunblock, water bottle, reading material, bus route maps, air tight food bags, dry clothes bags, wet clothes bags, and on and on.  I had an insane amount of stuff on top of the things I would actually need like my dress clothes, shoes, belt, lunch, snacks and drinks.  It was like I was going on a three day excursion! Needless to say, I stuffed all my items into an old dilapidated North Face backpack which I had modified (i.e. disassembled for makeshift parts).

    Utah Gecko

    The elastic side-mesh pockets were all stretched out and did not function anymore to hold items.  There is only one center holding area with its failing zipper system.  The center synch bungee on the back didn’t really do anything but roll the bottom of the backpack up away from my body.  There is no waist belt because I cut it away years ago to be used on something else which I cannot remember.  It does however, have a sweet Utah gecko patch from an old Moab trip, so that pretty much alone spits coolness and makes the bag a keeper.  Okay, maybe not, but it is what I have so I use it and I am grateful for it.

    Am I getting a new pack?  Yes, eventually.  My outlook was/is I want to learn from the run commuter experience(s) so I get exactly what I really need.  I think this is important because only I know everything I really need on a daily basis.  There are the basics items you want to have with you of course.  I won’t go through the items I take/use right now but definitely check out the posts Josh’s Gear, Kyle’s Gear, and Sophie’s Gear for some great gear information and also the ‘How To Get Started’ section under the contributor’s block starting here.

    “You don’t have to have everything all figured out.  Just get moving…”

    By |2016-10-22T20:26:48-04:00August 31st, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

    Small Numbers Really Add Up – Stephanie’s Dec-2011 Run Commuter Stats

    December was my first month run commuting and I logged plenty of miles doing it.  Check out this image of my month-long mileage log below.  Add the total 47.81-miles of run commuting to some long weekend runs (not listed, but included a 10K and half-marathon race) and it’s clearly possible to keep up running skills over the winter months.  Look at that Total Calories number – 4,751 calories burned.  Pass the butter, please!  With numbers like these, a runner can enjoy the outdoors while running and the indoor indulgences of tasty food.

    If you breakdown the large monthly mileage into the individual runs, the small numbers really accumulate.  The shortest run, 1.62-miles on December-16, helped add to a 4.17-mile day and a 9.08-mile week.  That’s no small task when you think of all the holiday shopping and get-togethers we attend throughout December, a characteristically chaotic month.

    To track these numbers, I use the iPhone iMapMyRUN app and that image was lifted from the MapMyRun website.  The app’s GPS locates quickly in the morning, I drop the phone in my pocket, and I’m off running.   On the weekends, I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 to track my running.  TRC’s Josh uses a 305 too; check out his gear post.  The 305 easily tracks heart-rate, pace, splits, grade, mileage, and probably other things I can’t remember right now.  However, it can take 5 or so minutes to locate the GPS satellites.  In the morning, when I have limited time or it’s just too cold, I don’t want to stand outside before a run and wait.  So the app is really my go-to run commuter mileage tracker.  It doesn’t track pace as easily as I would like and doesn’t log heart-rate, but I have found the simplicity of using the app works best for me during my daily grind.  And here’s the outcome:

    Here’s to logging even more run commuter miles in January-2012!