These days I run to work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with the latter usually being a long run (over 21km). I’d like to share some thoughts on my active commutes with you. My journey is a little shy of 12km, which is a nice distance to start the day. Run commutes allow me to keep a base level of fitness without me taking too much time away from my family… it’s mostly time I’d be travelling anyway!
One question I get asked a lot is “do you run home?”. I don’t usually. I’m a morning runner for preference and I’ve had a couple of bad experiences of “doing the double” (i.e. running both ways), which have ended up with minor injuries. So I catch public transport home on the days that I run to work.
I habitually work from home on Tuesdays, which facilitates me taking the kids to where they need to be (Kirsty kindly does this on my run-to-work days).
On Thursdays I bring my clothes and toiletries to work in a holdall or small suitcase (depending on what I need to bring with me) for the next three runs. I bring my running gear home with me each running day. These days tend to start with the family travelling together to daycare, school and work, which takes the sting out of having to catch the train!
I’m often on-call for work and need to keep my laptop (a 12-inch MacBook) close by. I think I’ve been “paged” twice in three years of run commutes.
The light but powerful MacBook sits snuggly in the place of the removable reservoir in my Skycrane 2L hydration backpack. This backpack is absolutely ideal for my run commutes, it stays in place while I’m running and has sufficient storage space for my laptop, phone, keys, wallet, glasses and a jacket for after the run on the cooler mornings. It also has loops to which I can attach a pair of Million Mile Light V2 units so that I can be seen by other trail and footpath users on those dark winter mornings.
It doesn’t take a lot of motivation to run through the Melbourne Spring or Autumn… those mornings are the best. The hot Summer mornings can be more of a struggle and when it’s freezing cold and dark through the Winter it can be very difficult to get out of bed! My motivation for these mornings is simple, I promise my Merri Creek Running Club friends that I’ll meet them at a pre-arranged time and place via our WhatsApp group the night before and that’s enough to get me out the door on time!
Running with friends makes the commute go so much faster, which is a bonus. We often finish our run at one of Melbourne’s many excellent coffee shops for a post-run coffee (or gelati if we’ve run 21.1km or more, but that’s another story).
On the rare occasion that nobody is available to run, I know that my announcement in the group will mean somebody will be watching Strava to hold me accountable! For these mornings there are podcasts for company (and the Apple AirPods are splendid for running with).
While I prefer to run fasted, I was advised by my GP not to do this. Over the past six months or so I have been eating a slice of toast or a banana about 30 minutes before leaving home. For the long runs (anything over two hours) I’ve been taking bags of honey – one bag per 30 minutes is my rule-of-thumb; I typically stop at a water fountain to have one of these.
Active commuting would not be possible without suitable facilities at my workplace. I’m very grateful that not only does my employer provide on-site showers but also has a laundered towel service. When I arrive at my desk after a run commute, I feel set to start a productive day – far more so than the days where I’ve squeezed onto a crowded train.