Run commuting-even though it may sound like something crazy- is a trend that’s been on the rise in recent years. People of all walks- or rather runs- are strapping on running shoes and hitting the sidewalk as a way to get to that place that pays the bills.
Is it hard to do? If you don’t have much experience running, or you work somewhere like a neighboring state, it can be something you might want to work up to.
But it’s so cheap, gets you in shape, saves on gas and makes it so easy to incorporate a workout into your daily life that it just plain breathes freedom.
Here are 8 ways to make run commuting a part of your daily life:
1) Start Small
If run commuting is something you dream of doing but you haven’t ever done any regular running, try starting with a daily walking routine and work from there. Walking is fantastic for your body and the first stepping stone to a run.
If your work is close enough, walk to work, or if you can, take a walk at lunch each day to start. Walking home can be a good way to get an idea of how long it takes you to commute from work.
For the best feeling of success and the least chance that you may back out of your commitment to yourself, choose a day with good weather and one where you have no other tasks or activities waiting for you immediately at home.
Without the stress of feeling you have to arrive someplace on time, your first walk home can feel like a welcome adventure.
Do you normally drive a long distance to get to work? Does run commuting sound like committing to an ultra marathon every day before noon? There’s no need to count yourself out.
Here’s the trick: If you can, find a place that’s within a do-able running distance for you and drive to that place instead, and park. This is your new home. You can now run commute from this location each day, and count yourself in!
Tips for Both
Starting small can also mean starting your running or walking commitment for a few days a week. If you find you get too tired trying to commute on your own feet each day, try doing it for two or three days a week only, until you feel you can add in more time on the road.
And always stretch before heading out. Stretch, stretch, stretch! It can’t be said enough.
Every leg and arm needs a good stretch in the morning or after a day of sitting in front of a computer to avoid injury, so enjoy those extra minutes to yourself!
2) Get the Right Backpack
Run commuting might mean that you’re going to carry things like your lunch or clothing with you, on your back.
In order to make sure you’re comfortable, try getting a backpack at a running store, where they can advise you on a good design for runners. Make sure you have a waist and chest strap, in order to prevent your pack from swaying around.
3) Store Things You Need, Like Clothes, at Work
If carrying something on your back isn’t your style, consider keeping extra changes of clothing at work, and even toiletries for showering if you have access to a shower.
If you have access to a fridge, consider driving in on Monday and bringing food for the whole week which will keep you packless for the other days, when you run.
4) Get a Partner
Running to work can be that much more entertaining if you are lucky enough to have someone to ‘runpool’ with. Ask around-you might be surprised who else in your area is interested in giving it a shot.
5) Get the Right Gear
You can run in whatever you find comfortable but good quality gear to keep you dry and cool or warm, can always help. If you have the cash to invest in a few new items, this guide can help you figure out what gear suits your climate and season best for running.
Visit a running specialty store in your area to find the best shoe for you- different shoes are better for different feet and gaits.
6) Eat to Fuel Your Body
If you fuel your body well, it will run well for you. Carbs are great for providing instant running fuel, but you can also consider how best to eat at all times, to maximize your commute.
There is no magic formula, though. Avoiding heavy meals right before you hit the road is a good idea, in order to avoid cramps, and in general, eating well from all four food groups is logical.
This site has some nutrition tips specifically for runners.
7) Forgive Yourself When You Don’t Run
The best way to put too much pressure on yourself to do something you don’t actually want to do is to feel guilty about not doing it. Running should be fun.
If you find you don’t want to do it, and this happens often, ask yourself why. Is it just a bad day, or would you rather be swimming or riding a bike? Or are you overworked and just plain tired?
8) Celebrate Your Victories!
Find some fellow run commuters or others with exercise plans and share your goals, challenges and successes not matter how big or small.
If you want to give yourself rewards for running, determine ahead of time if it’s going to be a favorite meal, a new piece of clothing or some time set aside to do something relaxing like going out with friends, or reading a book.
Make sure to follow through and you’ll feel rich in rewards!