10 essential hacks for running to work
Save money and get fit by commuting to work.
Nothing beats running to work. It’s a great way to log miles while also doing something productive, and helps declutter your mind before you reach the office. It’s a much cheaper way of getting there, too – you save on commuting fares and don’t need to face the stress of cramped, delayed or cancelled public transport. Once you’re at your desk you’ll feel awake, alive and ready to take on whatever the day throws at you. What’s not to like?
1. Prepare the night before
Usually the hardest part of an early-morning run is getting started. You’re less likely to duck out if you prepare for it the night before. Some people sleep in their running clothes, but if that’s too extreme for you just lay out your running kit at the end of your bed before you go to sleep. If you take lunch into work, make sure it’s not going to slop about in your backpack – for instance, take in frozen soup instead of liquid form. When the alarm goes off, you’ll want to be up, dressed and out of your door before your brain wakes up enough to chicken out. Put your alarm clock on the other side of the room to make the snooze button less convenient.
2. Plan your route
You don’t want to waste time getting lost running to work – so make sure you know where you’re going. Before your first run commute, have a look at a map and make sure it’s feasible. Look for a route that’s well lit and aim to avoid busy roads if possible. You should also ensure you know where the nearest train station or tube stops are along your route in case disaster strikes, and it’s a good idea to keep a bathroom option along the way. Run it at a weekend so you get to know it with no time pressure, and know how long it will take you. Check out some popular routes on Strava.
3. Build up to your commute
If you live more than 10 miles away from your office, running to work might be a little more challenging – but not impossible. Try taking public transport part of the way and running the rest. This is also a good way to get into running if you’re new to the sport, and you can gradually increase your miles by getting off at stops that are further away from your office as you build up your fitness.
4. Pack light
When it comes to what you carry on your run, minimising bulk is key. You don’t want to be hauling around office clothes and heavy toiletries if you can help it, so devise a plan that means you can stash everything you need for the week at work or in a gym locker. Don’t forget a towel, clean underwear, shoes and deodorant. If possible, you want to run with only your essentials – bank card (instead of heavy coins), work pass, phone and keys. Try tying your key into your trainer shoelace for the ultimate hands-free running.
5. Invest in a good backpack
Few things are as irritating as a backpack that bounces around while you run and causes painful rubbing. A regular rucksack just won’t do so invest in a decent pack that’s designed for running. They come in all different shapes and sizes – but the crucial difference is that they have been made with runners in mind, so tend to fit firmly to your back without weighing you down or chafing. Look for one with hip and chest straps and enough capacity for your essentials, like the Salomon Agile 12 (£80). For an even more lightweight option, zipped waist belts or armbands hold phones and cards.
6. Listen to music at more than 120 beats per minute
Sure, you know that music helps motivate you on your run. But did you know that songs with more than 120 beats per minute (BPM) can make exercise seem easier? Research suggests that listening to uptempo music (with more than 120 BPM) elevates your mood and helps you work out. It’s also been suggested that positive lyrics, or those that feature ‘affirmations of exercise’ are particularly effective. So add Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now to your playlist now. Try an app like RockMyRun, which gives you the best workout music so that you can maintain your energy while running. It also automatically adjusts the rhythm and tempo of the song mixes to match your steps.
7. Or get lost in a podcast
Not finished that book club read yet? Or need to brush up on your current affairs before a morning meeting? Then use your run to work as an opportunity to catch up on a podcast or get lost in a good audiobook. Podcasts are both entertaining and absorbing, and will help the time pass quickly as you jog. You’ll finish your run feeling sweaty and smarter.
8. Work out your shower situation
An ideal scenario would be that you have a shower at work, but not all office workers are lucky enough to have them. Nobody likes a smelly colleague, so washing after your run will make sure you keep your co-workers friendly. You could try signing up to a nearby gym or swimming pool to make use of their facilities. If that’s not an option, there are products you can buy that will help you freshen up before you start the day, such as Shower in a Can. You simply pump and apply the formula to your skin and it dissolves any oils and dirt into water. The water then evaporates from your skin, so you don't even need a towel! A quick spritz of dry shampoo, such as the collection from Batiste, and tying your hair up will help your locks look and smell sweat-free.
9. Modify your gear – and wear wool socks
Running with a backpack on can cause your top to ride up, so go for one that’s longer than normal or do a little home modification of your clothing. Try sewing miniature buttons and loops to your running gear to keep your clothes in the right place. Avoid cotton – wool absorbs moisture much quicker and dries quicker. Decent merino wool socks and tops will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, while emitting barely any pong.
10. Stay motivated
Keeping yourself motivated is vital if you’re going to keep up running to work. Sign up for a race so that you have a goal to train for, or find a work colleague who lives nearby and can commute run with you. Get inspired by others on social media by following hashtags like #runchat and #seenonmyrun.
So you want to run to work? Just remember to follow these steps:
- Prepare the night before
- Plan your route
- Build up your commute
- Pack light
- Invest in a good backpack
- Listen to music at more than 120 beats per minute
- Or get lost in a podcast
- Work out your shower situation
- Modify your gear – and wear wool socks
- Stay motivated