Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wait ... you RAN to work today?

Well, yeah, I did. But wait, it's not THAT weird. Well, maybe it is a bit weird, but I swear it's getting LESS weird year-by-year. Allow me to elucidate ...

I ran to work this morning, about 4.5 miles on the slightly-more-scenic route (for those of you from the Twin Cities: this included heading north on Pleasant and Grand and Bryant, then picking up the Midtown Greenway east until I could climb up at Nicollet and weave my way past Eat Street and over to the MIA where I work). I wore a backpack with some essentials, and I didn't push the pace. It took me just over 36 minutes, and it felt good. Of course, I ended up rather sweaty, despite the unusually cool weather we're having (low 60s F, but rather humid in the morning).

Those essentials in the backpack? The answer has two parts:
Part One: I keep the following in my office all the time - belt, shoes, shirt, deodorant, towel, wet wipes, hand sanitizer. So I can rely on being able to towel off and clean up a bit. I'm also lucky to have an office with a door that closes, so I've got a place where I can change.
Part Two: My backpack - I recommend a Camelbak, because they are lightweight, offer plenty of straps, are built to haul water so they are built to be sturdy and to fit tightly, and finally I can adjust mine to ride relatively high between my shoulder blades so it's not bouncing on my waist. In my backpack this morning I brought along: cell phone, wallet, keys, socks, underwear, khakis (rolled up), and food (apple, yogurt, carrots, and a bag of dry cereal and raw almonds).

I should also confess that I don't run to or from work very often. I usually commute by car, mostly because I typically wear a suit & tie and often attend offsite meetings or lunches on a tight schedule. I sometimes commute by bike - which takes me almost exactly the same amount of time that it does to drive - but can be a hindrance if the weather is cold or wet, or when I have those afore-mentioned offsite meetings. So why run to work today?

I ran to work today in part because I was in a car accident earlier this week. Some guy ignored a red light and sort of t-boned my car in the middle of an intersection. I was lucky, he hit me on the driver's side but closer to the back wheel, so I just got spun around 180 degrees and came to a stop. I'm fine, just a nice bruise on my rib cage, but the car is toast. I'm dealing with the insurance companies and all of that complexity - I've never been in a car accident before, so it's all a mystery to me and I'm finding it pretty hard to find a helpful soul in the insurance biz. Sigh. Part of that chaotic milieu is the arranging for a rental car for awhile ... at least until the final decisions are made about my damaged car. That rental car is supposed to arrive today at my place of work (I do like that Enterprise Rental cars will "pick you up"), so it was simply easier for me to travel very lightly this morning (i.e., no bike). And, of course, what the heck!

A few things to note about commuting by foot:

  • National Run to Work Day is actually on the near horizon! Friday September 20, 2013. To be accurate, they call it RUN@WORK day, and you can learn more about it at the RRCA website. See, maybe it's not so weird after all, right? It's "national" for goodness sake.
  • Runner's World has posted a funny article about running to work, a bit focused on the whole getting cleaned up thing, which I acknowledge can be a challenge. I guess I'm lucky in that I'm just generally not a stinky guy. I know everyone is different in that regard, so what works for some of us may not work for others.
  • There is a blogger called The Run Commuter who has published careful notes on how to become a run commuter
  • The Guardian has another how-to article online.
  • And, check this out: there is a service called Home Run in London that will not only help you run home from work, with a group if you'd like, but they will also carry your bag home for you so that you don't have to. As they say in England, "Brilliant!"
Of course, commuting by running is not for everyone and I'm not trying to be an evangelist here. I did have a little fun with it this morning, and I'll try to do it a bit more often in the future, because frankly it's not as difficult as it may seem and it's just plain good for me.

Do you run to and/or from work? Do you have any other useful tips or links? Please post in the comments.

Run on my friends.


  1. I have been running to, and from, work for several years. I dedicate at least one day each week to commuting on foot - year round. Currently I have upped that to two day's per week.

    I am fortunate in that I can commute on the SHT to within a mile of my work place, so try to make at least one day's run a trail run.

    I also have a number of route choices, so can choose based on how much time I have for the commute. Shortest is 2.5 miles, longest is 7.

    I keep my work clothes in my office (scrubs) and change when I get there. I used to have access to a shower, but that broke down and there was no incentive by management to fix it as I was the only user. I now have to be content with a sponge bath.

    I stockpile food in my office as well - canned soup, cereal, snacks, fruit - bringing them in on days that I drive. Though I have been known to go "grocery shopping" before I get to work and carry that in. And do use the commute as an excuse to support a locally owned restaurant.

    The winter commute is often warmer then driving since I live close enough that my car is barely warmed up by the time I get to work.

    I have used a number of packs over the years, depending on what it is I need to bring in. Small lumber pack for days when I have little to bring with, my Nathan minus the hydration bladder for medium loads and various REI daypacks for when I need to bring a lot of stuff - or shop.

    I am fortunate in rarely having off site meetings so it is easier to commute on foot.

    Thanks for the links to other sites about commuting by foot.

    1. I am so envious that you can run on TRAILS on the way to/from work. Too bad about the shower, I was in a similar situation at a previous employer - where there was a nice, clean shower but they never hooked up the hot water feed, and had no incentive to do so, because no one else cared and in fact it was quickly utilized as a storage closet. Typical, I guess.

      For those unfamiliar with the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT):

  2. It is quite nice to have the trail out my back door (literally). There are benefits to living in a city that is small enough, and outdoorsy enough, to support a vibrant trail community.

    It would be nice if more employers supported their staff getting outdoors/being active by providing facilities that aid in cleaning up. At least no one comments about me "cooling down" in my running gear as I start my day.

  3. I work from home so my commute is VERY short. But I do run most of my errands, run to appointments, etc. Sometimes I feel gross showing up at stores or the dentist a little sweaty, but honestly, it's a great way to squeeze in a workout instead of sitting on the subway or on a bus and save some time in my day. In Manhattan, running places is often faster than driving or riding. I've got a tight fitting backpack that I use for errands so that I can carry and run. Love it!


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