With online communities such as #run2workday and #runcommute growing in popularity, the run to and/or from work is definitely starting to create a bit of a stir. I took to the streets in a run home from work a few weeks ago and, while I was running, came up with this list of reasons for and against the #runcommute argument.
Pros (a.k.a. “the good stuff”!)
Kills two birds with one stone
Sometimes by the time you’re home from work you either don’t have time for a decent run, or you just can’t be bothered after a stressful journey. Making a run part of your journey means you can get the miles in and get from a to b.
Makes you happier
Following on from the first point, according to Professor Paul Dolan (author of Happiness By Design), happiness is derived from a mixture of pleasure and purpose; having an a-to-b run makes your efforts more purposeful, which in turn contributes to your overall happiness.
Makes you a stronger runner
#runcommute comes with a necessary baggage, and I don’t mean the emotional kind. My backpack (including winter jacket, work clothes, tupperware from my day’s food, etc. weighed in at 5kg. Imagine running with a 5kg weight strapped to your back… yeah, it takes extra effort to shift. All that transfers into your leg power, meaning a harder run, which will only make you inevitably run faster when you’re un-loaded.
That smug feeling
When your workmates are all getting ready to drive home you’re off to get changed for your run. They look at you (if not like you’re crazy) like you’re a picture of health and fitness. Oh, and of course there’s the double whammy of being eco-friendly. Damn right, you’re keeping fit and saving the environment. Pat yourself on the back!
A change of scenery
Running is a great way to see more of a town or city. You can use the run commute as an excuse to try out different routes home that you might not usually take. Also, if you commute in London, or another big city, and usually take the underground, you’ll see more of the city sights, and get some well needed fresh air.
Clocking up more miles
If you run the traditional three days a week then adding a run in for part, or all, of your journey is a really easy way to add in a few extra miles without taking too much time out of your busy day. It’s perfect for working professionals.
There’s no better feeling than running past a queue of stationary traffic. I don’t think I need to say more than that!
Cons (the “not-so-good stuff”)
All the stuff
Ok, so I know I had this kind of as a pro, but having a backpack full of stuff can make your run just feel difficult. I had to stop and walk for 100 metres or so twice during my run, which is just not like me ordinarily. Also, preparing your bag the night before can be a bit of a drag.
I usually drive to work, so during the day if I need to go somewhere by car I can, or sometimes I go straight from work to do sports massages. If I was run commuting I wouldn’t be able to do that, which means a lot more planning has to go into my week.
Unless you live really close to work (or happen to want to run for miles and miles!) there’s inevitably going to be some form of public transport involved in your journey, and if you miss your train or bus the whole commute can turn into a stressy nightmare. It also means (for those running to work) you either have to allow for a slow-run day by leaving extra early, or pushing yourself to keep a pace when you’re tired just to get to work on time.
If you’re a fair-weather-runner like me (I’m one of those people who can only run in the rain if it starts raining when I’m already running!) then being committed to a run home can end up being a miserable experience. Even worse is if you ran to work in the rain and then had to change into soggy kit to run home again. Well, it’s either than or dry your socks on the work radiators. Ergh.
Running those extra days doesn’t half add a tonne to your laundry basket. My fiancé already comments on how much of our laundry basket is made up of lycra and day-glo without me running to and from work as well! Unless you want to be constantly churning the workout washing perhaps #runcommute isn’t for you.
I quite like just having one shower a day, it’s easy. I train early in the mornings partly because once I’m washed and have done my hair and makeup I really don’t want to get sweaty again. So running home from work kind of goes against the grain for me, but I’ll swallow it up if it means getting all those pros!
Do you run to work? Have I missed anything? What do you love or hate about running to/from work?
If you fancy running to work why not join in #run2workday, the first Thursday of every month. The group who started the hashtag, @r2wgroup, also have en e-petition running (pun intended) where you can sign to help convince the government to introduce tax savings similar to that of the Cycle to Work scheme. Visit www.run2work.com for more information.