If you would like an efficient way to squeeze in some training miles, try running to and/or from work. By turning your commute into a workout, you’ll get your run in, help the environment and cut your transportation costs. To find out if a running commute is viable for you, you should consider the following.
The ideal distance for a running commute is from 2 to 7 miles. If you live more than 7 miles away, consider catching a ride part way, or schedule just one or two running commutes per week. For example, you could rearrange your running schedule so your long run falls on Monday instead of Sunday.
Presenting a fresh work appearance after a run requires some planning; here are some approaches you might take.
* Ask a friend or co-worker to bring your clothes to work and drop them in your office or locker room.
* Hook up with a fellow runner who wants to split the commute: You’ll each drive one way and run the other. The person who’s driving can shuttle the clothes.
* Just run home from work, rather than to work. You can roll your clothes up in a large family pack and bring them home without worrying about looking wrinkled during the day. Bring a reflective vest or other garment if your evening run will take place after dark.
* If you have a secure closet or locker room for storage, consider driving on Mondays with a week’s worth of clothes. The following Monday you can bring the previous week’s clothing home.
* Store personal care items including a towel, washcloth, soap, hair dryer, brush, comb, deodorant, makeup and any other items you need to get ready for work in your desk or locker. Store one or two pairs of dress shoes in your office as well.
You can change from a sweaty runner to a cool, clean worker in just 10 minutes. Walk the last five minutes of your commute to cool down, then either shower or head for a nearby bathroom for a quick sponge bath and clothing change.
The ideal route should guide you through parks and residential neighborhoods on secondary roads; a detailed street map will help you find the best route. Avoid rough neighborhoods, and for safety’s sake, try to vary your route each time you run. If you’ll be running for more than 30 minutes, look for a route with water fountains along the way.
Before you run a route, drive or cycle it to get a feel for its “personality.” Does it feel safe? Is it busy? What looks like a quiet route on a Saturday morning may become traffic-snarled and pollution-choked at rush hour. Also, evaluate the street lightning if you’ll be running in the dark. If you’re unsure about a neighborhood the route passes through, call the local police station and ask for advice. Carry identification at all times, and let your family, friends and co-workers know your schedule and route.
Once you’ve picked a route, clock the mileage and figure how long the run will take. Add 5 minutes for delays and 5 to 10 minutes for stretching and cooling down. Plan on 10 to 15 minutes to clean up and change. This will depending on whether you’ll shower or just sponge bathe. Finally, add in some time for breakfast before work. With practice, your run will be streamlined and efficient. You may even find it replaces that morning coffee.