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How to run your commute

After a winter under wraps, my running legs have been feeling twitchy in their hibernation.

The pavements and parks, previously shrouded with mist and drabness, have been glowing with spring and sunshine. And for the first time in months, a run has looked enticing rather than torturous.

Plus of course there’s nothing like signing up for a 10-mile race at the end of April – and the fear of humiliation – to get you back out pounding the streets. (Read about losing my running mojo.)

But to be fair, it’s taken me a while to work out how to squeeze in a run.

The obvious early morning and evening slots are full: I already wake up early each morning to work before my three kids are up, and in the evenings, I’m exhausted (or working on this blog).

Running to work

Recently a runner friend told me she runs to work once a week.

And I decided this was the answer – rather than standing on the Tube reading my newspaper, I should use my commuting time to get fit.

The chief problem with this theory is that I live 11-odd miles from the office where I work four days a week. But I hit upon a plan, and have been running to work once a week since mid-February.

Okay, I say ‘running to work’, but I don’t mean all the way.

By running to a station about a mile from my home, I can travel some of my journey to work by Tube. Okay, so I’m a bit out of breath and red in the face for the journey, but I just keep looking out of the window and hope no one notices. Luckily, I haven’t had time to work up much of a sweat

I then jump out at a station a good distance from my office: I started at about 3.5 miles, but by getting off the train a stop earlier or varying my route along the streets, I’m managing another 5 or 6 miles. (It’s not quite enough for that 10-mile race, which is getting ever closer, so I’m feeling rather nervous about it. Still, it’s the thought that counts.)

And there’s nothing like having to make it to your desk for the start of the day to encourage you to run just that little bit faster.

The last couple of miles of my run are through two of London’s beautiful Royal Parks, past golden daffodils and trees dotted with spring blossom.

Here’s a pic of spring blossom in St James Park as I ran past one morning.

spring blossom in St James Park, London

If I’m lucky, I see the soldiers on parade near Buckingham Palace. Or possibly the royal gardeners and their lawnmowers on the Queen’s front lawn…

gardeners working in front of Buckingham Palace

Once I’ve showered and am sitting at my desk with my breakfast, I feel amazing.

I think the fresh air and activity really helps me focus and increases my energy levels at work. It helps to beat that post-lunch slump too.

However, running your commute does require an extra layer of organisation the day before, plus of course some willing childcare help (thanks, DH!) so you can set off early.

Here’s what I’ve learned about running to work:

1 Invest in a set of travel-sized shower goodies

 I keep moisturiser, deodorant, shampoo etc in a bag in a cupboard at work. Don’t be like me and forget a hair brush.

2. Remember to bring in some of the bulky but essential stuff the day before…

For example, your towel for the shower, the following day’s work outfit and shoes

En masse, these items are too heavy and bulky to carry when you run. I’m a bit of a chilly Milly, so I also bring an extra jacket to wear on the way home the day of my run.

4. Remember a tasty breakfast

I stash blueberries and a pot of Greek yoghurt in the work fridge the day before, plus a sachet of porridge and some seeds.

5. Invest in a specially-designed running backpack

At first, I ran very light indeed with just my phone, travel pass and office swipe, but I kept forgetting to leave in my desk drawer certain essential items, like make-up, the day before. (That was a bad day.)

I ended up buying a mini running backpack so that I could make sure I always had on me my make-up, money, my work diary and anything else I’ve forgotten. (There’s always something.)

The backpack sits quite snugly, so while I never forget that it’s there, I don’t find it too irritating.

6. Don’t forget breakfast and possibly lunch

 I can also fit a plastic container of lunch and some fruit into my running backpack. But if I’ve managed to be very organised, I’ll bring them in the day before too so that there’s less to carry when I’m running.

7. Be proud

You’ve saved yourself your train fare, had some fresh air and decent exercise – and still made it to work on time.  Sure beats standing around on a crowded train.

 


Comments (35)

  • Avatar

    Sarah Ebner

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    What gorgeous pictures/views to see on the way to work. Am so impressed about the running -and great tips (especially bringing in stuff for the shower!)

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      I just have to dig deep to discover my extra-organised side.

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    Helen Dickinson

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    This is a really informative post filled with fantastic tips. Thank you for sharing.

  • Avatar

    Jen aka The Mad House

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    Wow, well done you. What a great way to fit exercise in to your schedule. Hats off to you

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Thank you!

  • Avatar

    Kate Thompson

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    I wish I could get back to running – I loved it! Sadly I have back issues and currently am unable to :( Your “commute” looks an interesting run :)

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Oh, so sorry to hear about your back. Hope it’s better soon.

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    Shell Louise

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    Some great tips there. I’m quite jealous that you get to see such lovely places on the way to work. I’ve never been to London (apart from once to the airport and we went straight there) but I’d love to go and see Buckingham Palace :)

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      It’s a beautiful building, definitely worth a visit.

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    Cass@frugalfamily

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    Brilliant tips – thanks for sharing them.

    I’m not sure I’d have the energy when I start work at 8am but I really envy those who do x x

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Not sure I could manage it with an 8am start either!

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    Bek

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    Brilliant tips! I’m not able to do any running at the moment but it is a great idea to run a bit of the way to work. It looks like you have some lovely things to look at to keep you entertained on the way :-)

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Yes, I feel lucky, the last few miles are wonderful. Hope you get to do some running soon.

  • Avatar

    Eileen Teo

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    well done! such a good idea and tips!

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Thank you!

  • Avatar

    Hannah Staveley

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    I am trying to get fit we sill are , its hard work .x

  • Avatar

    You Baby Me Mummy

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    Great post and well done for doing this. I used to swim and ride before work and it does make a difference to how you feel during the day x

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      You’re right – I feel so much better when I run in. I just wish I could do it more often.

  • Avatar

    abigail

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    Running to work is such a good idea! My work is over 8 miles away though and doesn’t have a shower so I’m not too sure I could get away with it! But I have been pushing myself to get out there in the early evenings and it does make me feel so much better!

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Ah yes, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have a shower either. That’s such a shame. But running in the evenings sounds perfect.

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    Kirsty Hijacked By Twins

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    You certainly do have some beautiful view on your say to work. I am absolutely useless at running lol I look like Pheobe off Friends, arms and legs in all directions lol. Well done to you :-) x

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    Actually Mummy...

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    A great idea! And I bet after some training you could probably run the whole way every now and then!

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Well, that’s the plan eventually. Although there is rather a grim and edgy part of the route too.

  • Avatar

    Lori

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    Wow well done you. I’m not much of a runner but this is a great way to get fit and the greek yoghurt and blueberries sounds yum. x

  • Avatar

    Kizzy

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    What a great idea to fit in exercise on your way to work.

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Thank you, I’m trying!

  • Avatar

    Emmys Mummy

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    Wow. Well done you. That’s a fab way to fit in a run. Good luck with your 20 mile run

  • Avatar

    Amy

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    Great tips I would love to get into running. I always think it sounds like great alone time

  • Avatar

    Keri-Anne

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    Well done you! Once my youngest starts pre-school in september, i am going to start running back as its a 2 mile walk/run back and doing that for the 2 days a week will be a good start x

  • Avatar

    Mammasaurus

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    So much better than the tube!

  • Avatar

    Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours

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    Ooh I’m glad I found your blog, I really want to get healthier so I will be popping over and having a more in depth read later on :) Great post and well done. What a lovely route to work you have, gorgeous pics of the park and palace x

  • Avatar

    Charly Dove

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    What a great way to keep fit and a glorious part of London to run in too. Just fabulous, superb tips too. Best of luck at the end of the month :)

  • Avatar

    Jenny

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    What a brilliant idea. I’m a stay at home mum so I need to start fitting a run into my day – somehow!

  • Avatar

    Orli D

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    What a great way to stay in shape . I love the roads around Buckingham Palace. If I have to run somewhere this where I’d do it :)

Comments are closed