The New Run Commuters – January 2014

Runner Basics run commuter, run to work, running backpack, claire brandow, new york runner, alternative commute, run commuting

  • Name: Claire Brandow
  • Age: 25
  • City/State: Brooklyn, NY
  • Profession/Employer: I work in fundraising for an environmental nonprofit.
  • Number of years running: 10
  • # of races you participate in a year: About 4 in the last year, with plans to do at least 9 in the next year to qualify for the NYC Marathon through the New York Road Runners 9+1 program.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I love running trails, but hardly get the opportunity. Hoping to make more trips out of the city for trail running excursions this year.

 Run Commuting Gear

  • Backpack: I gleaned a lot of tips from The Run Commuter backpack roundup, then snagged a cheap Camelbak Blowfish 2L off of Ebay. My only regret is that I didn’t get a women’s backpack. The chest strap doesn’t go quite high enough, but it’s still a relatively comfortable and perfectly sized bag.
  • Shoes: I once had dreams of being a zero-drop barefoot babe, but I just can’t. Instead I wear Saucony Triumph 10, and they feel like Cadillacs.
  • Clothing: Target athletic wear is my dirty secret for warm weather gear and base layers. So cheap! So comfortable!
  • Outerwear/Lights: I like the Nike Element for wicking and warmth, layering it under the Saucony ViZi jacket for keeping out wind and providing a little light/reflection. I don’t use much else for lights, as I don’t often run in the dark.
  • Headgear: Battered old headbands- anything to keep my ears warm.
  • Hydration: Water. I generally run commute in the morning, so I try to drink lots the night before.


On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I found myself with a million excuses to skip runs, and they all hinged on my commute: it’s too dark at night after I commute, I would need to wake up too early to accommodate my commute. Run commuting made all of those excuses null.

How often do you run commute? 

I shoot for three times a week.

How far is your commute?

5 miles from my apartment in Brooklyn to my office in Manhattan. I just run one way- into work in the mornings.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I try to pack! I don’t have a system for running with lunch yet, so I subway commute two days a week to bring in more lunches and clothes.

What do you like most about run commuting?

Run commuting (and running, in general) is the best way to see the city. Running over the bridges here gives great views, I run through neighborhoods I wouldn’t otherwise visit, and it’s fun to see how the city changes over the course of the year.

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

 I’ve convinced a few of my colleagues to try run commuting! Our environmental nonprofit prioritizes alternate commuting (though the NYC Subway is an excellent mass transit option), so they provide showers for those of us who run and bike. An in-office shower is sort of the run commuting Holy Grail.

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

I take the subway. Run commuting takes almost exactly the same time.

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

I think people are intimidated by the logistics of run commuting. The truth is that, after a little bit of time and trial and error, you’ll develop a system that should feel pretty effortless. Stick with it!

Anything more about you that would like to include?

In my travels the last year, I’ve been struck by how many run commuters I have seen in London and Sydney. I wonder what accounts for this. Running’s popularity is ever on the increase, but I also imagine that the alternate commuting conversation is a little farther ahead outside of our US borders. (Though I’m happy to report that there seem to be more fellow run commuters in NYC over the last year!) I know The Run Commuter has linked to some international press about run commuting, but it would be great to hear from a foreign New Run Commuter sometime.

If you are a new run commuter and want the running world to hear your story, let us know!
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