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Running to work: How to start run commuting


How you fit a run into your day, or how you start running can be made easier with the introduction of running to work, or sometimes referred to as ‘run commuting’.

Run commuting is about replacing your normal commute in a car or on a train with a run for all or part of the way.

With our lives getting ever busier, many runners have found that running to or from work is an efficient way to get in the miles. 

It’s also a great way to avoid an overcrowded train or crammed bus in favour of the great outdoors.

In today’s climate, more people are taking up running or cycling as a means to get to work. So if you’d like to get outdoors more, consider running to work and adding a run commute at least once or twice to your weekly routine.

Here are my top tips on how to start running to work.

running to work

Running to work: How to start run commuting

Check the practicalities

Although running to work can be very freeing, it can be logistically complex depending on where you live and how far away your workplace is. 

If your commute is too long, consider taking the train for some of the route then run the rest of the way. 

Likewise, if you drive to work, consider parking further away from your workplace then run the rest of the way. 

This works really well if the traffic where you work is particularly bad and running actually turns out to be quicker!

Related: 8 safety tips for running in the dark

Shower at work

After your run, you’re likely to be sweaty and in need of a well-deserved shower before you start your working day.

Many workplaces nowadays have showers for active commuters like runners and cyclists.  If you don’t have a shower at work, don’t run to work, run home instead. 

Take your running kit with you in the morning, run home, then shower at home. This also works well if you prefer to shower at home. 

There are also products you can buy that allow you to freshen up without needing a shower. 

If you’re a hardy soul who doesn’t mind not having a shower after a run, then there are options for you.

Check out no rinse or waterless hair and body products like this one from Nilaqua

Related: A Christmas gift guide for runners

running to work

Get a good running backpack

Running with a backpack can be tricky, especially if you don’t have one that fits properly.

A good running backpack is essential for a run commute. The key is to find one that you can comfortably run with and one that holds all your stuff. 

I recently wrote a review of my favourite running backpack – the Gregory Maya 16 running backpack which you can find here.

This running backpack is great as it has been designed with a woman’s body in mind, so it fits perfectly on a woman’s back and there is no uncomfortable chafing.

It’s even comfortable enough to hold my laptop and work gear whilst I run which is a huge plus for me.

Related: The best running backpack for women

Pack light

You don’t want to be carrying lots of gear and equipment in your backpack when you’re running. So if you regularly take your laptop home with you, for example, consider leaving it at work on the day of your run commute.

Likewise, pack clothes that are easy to fit in your backpack. I’ve learnt a lot of packing tips over the years, especially those used by the army. 

There are surprising ways to fold your clothes so that they fit into the tiniest places. My husband introduced me to the ‘army roll method’ – a way  of packing that the US army use.

Check out this YouTube video for more information. This has been a game changer for me!

running to work

Be prepared

As you would do on a normal run, it’s important to be prepared for all types of weather, including rain and wind. 

Invest in a good waterproof and windproof jacket to keep you dry on those long runs. 

When you run with a backpack, your back is likely to feel a lot more sweatier than it would do on a normal run.

Opt for sweat wicking fabrics like polyester and merino wool.

Read my latest blog on how to dress for winter running. Here I share tips on what clothing and gear to wear during those long cold months. 

Allow adequate time for your run

When running with a backpack, it’s likely that you’ll want to run at a steady pace, instead of going all out. So ensure you plan your route effectively and allow adequate time so you don’t arrive late for work. 

Consider your pacing and estimate how long it will take you to run your planned route. For example, if you’d like to run at a steady pace like you would do on a long, slow run, calculate this against the amount of miles you have planned. 

There are many pacing calculators out there online that allow you to check this based on things like pace, distance and terrain. 

If you’re planning to shower when you arrive at work, allow adequate time for this too. This is especially true if there are limited showering facilities at your workplace.

Related: 4 simple tips for effective pacing during your run

running to work

Be safe and be seen

As with all your runs, it’s important to stay safe on your run commute. Check your route and ensure there are plenty of paved areas. 

If you have to run on the roadside, ensure you run against traffic.

Consider wearing a high-vis jacket, especially during the winter months. A head torch is also a great way to be seen on those long dark runs. 

Related: 8 safety tips for running in the dark

Enjoy it!

Once you plan your first run commute and get a run under your belt, it’ll soon feel easier and smoother.

Enjoy the time you have outdoors and before or after work and just think of the alternative – stuck in a traffic jam or crammed into a train.

If you regularly encounter problems during your commute, then run commuting could be a great alternative for you.

Take time to get used to it and consider adding a run commute into your routine once or twice a week then build it up from there. 

If you’re training for a race like a half marathon or marathon, then run commuting could be a game changer for you.

This is especially true if you struggle to fit in the miles each week because of your working hours.

Related: 6 tips to keep running fun