Run Commuting for Training

So, you’ve decided to run to work, good for you.  You, like me, must hate scheduling separate workout time which interferes with important things like Gossip Girl. (There.  I admitted my problem.)  By now you should have:

  • Figured out a system of clothing for work (aka Not working in your stinky running clothes).
  • Found a good pack to run with, and if you have a laptop, a dang good one. (Or at least a dang good laptop insurance policy.)
  • Started wearing lots of dayglo and completely avoided doing stupid things like running in the street with your headphones.

What more to run commuting is there? Well, if you are wishing to actually train for something, like a marathon or half marathon, run commuting can take up the bulk of your mileage.   So, if you are so inclined to leap at such a wonderful and fulfilling opportunity, here’s the skinny:

Just like all training, you have to ramp up.

If you have been trotting back and forth to work for some time now you’ve probably reached a plateau and need to add challenge and distance to your running.  So:

  • Consider biking to work on certain days for cross training, increasing your miles as you would running.  You can also run with weights, as I’ve seen others do but have yet to participate in considering that I already have a pack on!
  • Become personal friends with GMaps Pedometer or get yourself a Garmin or Nike+ Training device of sorts. (I’ve used all three at one point or another.)  Plan your routes or circle back to slowly ramp your weekly mileage up.
  • Don’t attempt to add extreme amounts of mileage into your weekly plan all at once.  There are oodles and oodles of training plans, none of which say you should do this.  Be practical and reasonable and build to avoid injury and keep your mental strength intact!

There is nothing wrong with talking about your problem.

Just like my weird attraction to Gossip Girl, it’s perfectly okay to discuss your decision to train via run commuting with people like your boss.  You may need to consider flexible work hours so you can expand your mileage while still making time for your trashy television.  Preference on how this is done always comes down to the individual.  I far prefer running to work than running home, so I alternate days of coming in early and coming it at a regular time and everyone knows what I’m up to.  Occasionally this sparks others to do the same, which is nearly as satisfying (okay more so) than watching Gossip Girl.

Consider the terrain, consider your energy.

I’m sort of lucky in Oxford, there is a lot of nature and toepath to use to keep the feet and mind busy.  Think about how you plan a run in or out and if you can handle hill work and speed with a pack on.  You may need to consider fueling options and if you need to take extra gels or a water bottle with you.  As run commuting is often a logistical exercise with clothes and supplies you may need to become an ultra-planner to make sure you can handle your route and hit your goals without ending up in the hospital.  And don’t attempt a 20K in hopes you’ll have a runner’s high right before that big meeting or presentation, be reasonable with yourself and be sure to think of a proper balance.  You are, in the end, using run commuting to assist in training, not destroy your career.

Save the long runs for the weekends.

As much as you would like to have a glorious Saturday or Sunday to re-watch the entire Series 3 of Gossip Girl, consider placing one long run on one of those days.  This way you are allowing yourself the ability to recover throughout the afternoon or next day rather than putting your suit and tie on and hitting an important project immediately.  It’s also beneficial in that long runs can tell you quite a bit about how well your run commuting is impacting your preparation, and it’s nice to have time to reflect on it.

As always the benefits of run commuting are plentiful, no more so than being able to seamlessly work your fitness and your training routine into one.  It does take planning and preparation, but, when done properly it can make your goal of a half or full marathon completely within your reach.  And Chuck and Blair are so going to get together in the end, shame it probably won’t be until the end of the series. xoxo

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One thought on “Run Commuting for Training

  1. Hi there,

    oh! That`s great! I sometimes thought that I was a bit crazy, running back and forth to work. So cool to see there are others who`ve been doing the same thing. I read your suggestions attentively… great advice! However, I noticed that I`m obviously lucky since I can wear “pyjamas” at work (a hospital). Thus, I don`t have to care for any clothing stock at work. I run to and from work almost every day and wouldn`t really have an easy time keeping such a stock, anyway …. I am lucky enough to run away from traffic and allow myself to wear headphones 🙂 low volume, though … I have a choice of three tracks – 6, 9, or 12 km – so it doesn`t really get boring :-))
    I am looking forward to more commute-to-work reports…
    Have a lot of fun! cheers, Martin

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