Tuesday, 21st March 2023
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How to make run commuting work for you

by Susie Chan
Monday 13th February 2017
Training for a spring marathon or half marathon and wondering how to fit in the training?
As a mum who works full time I use the commute as an opportunity to get some miles in.
With various races in my diary over the years and not a huge amount of time to rack up training, the run commute has ended up being a core part of my training.
Here’s how it could work for you.
Think about how to fit it in to your journey
I work in central London, so I get on an earlier train and use the extra time to run into work. Some days I run longer runs. Some days shorter. Some days I run on the way back too. You’ll rack up your training mile pretty quickly that way.
If you drive, park a distance away from work and run in. Or get off public transport early.
When I trained for an Ironman, I cycled halfway to work, and then ran! Just think if you run in, then by the time you get to work your training is done!
Keep it interesting
Mix things up a bit. For me, I have aimed to run on a new road every single commute. I’m tracking this map of routes on Strava (heatmapping) and now need to try to fill in the blank streets. Seeing new parts of town mean I don’t get too bored.

Susie commute

You might want to mix in some strides, or embed some faster km’s in the middle to push the pace.
You may want to see if you can meet run friends too, I do this quite frequently. Anything to keep it varied and interesting.
Be prepared
Get your kit ready the night before, and if you can, get organised with your work clothes. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve left underwear at home (don’t tell anyone) so have emergency clothes stashed at work. I like to keep my rucksack as light as possible, so have work shoes under my desk, and over the winter months, a coat to save me carrying it back and forth.  I have a drawer at work with shower gel, wet wipes, hairbrush etc. in it. Dry shampoo is one of the best inventions ever.
I find laying out all my kit and getting ready really makes sure I don’t wimp out in the morning and I’m not rushed.
Get a decent bag
Unless you are super organised and bring in clothes to work the day before a run commute, then you’ll need a good rucksack. There are lots out there to choose from. If you can, go with one that fits close to your body and does not bounce when fitted correctly. I use a Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20. This has pockets at the front so when I’m legging it for the train, my ticket/phone etc are all up front. Running with a rucksack takes a bit of getting used to, but if you have a decent rucksack, then you should not notice it after a few runs.
Think of the cash saved
On a straightforward work to station journey, I have timed a tube journey, cycle and run.  The tube takes the longest (including walking time to the tube) Between the cycling and running, there is only a couple of minutes difference, depending on how many red lights fall in my favour along the way. So in central London it might not take up as much time as you think.
I’m not going to pretend it’s all skipping along every day, as in the dark winter months, or in the drizzle, the idea of running to work is not a particularly alluring. However, with the standard single tube fare costing £2.50 to £4.90, if I add up all the money saved, I can actually keep myself in trainers, and pay for a decent breakfast as a reward.
Also, think of your contribution to saving the planet just that little bit more!

About The Author

Susie Chan

Susie Chan is an endurance runner, who runs all sorts of races from 1 mile to 100 miles and beyond. Her favourite races are multistage ultras. Find her on Twitter @susie__chan Instagram @susie_chan_ or read about her races on her blog www.susie-chan.com

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