Time Saver: The Run Commute

Shortly after I accepted my new job, I realized my office was a mere 6 miles from our new apartment. I could run to work!

Except … that would require planning in advance and figuring out logistics. Plus, even with clean towels and a hair dryer in the locker room of the fitness center at work, I really prefer showering at home. And I’m not a morning person. Runs before work didn’t feel like quality runs, so I stopped doing them.

But … obvious solution! I could run home from work! Tonight was my first attempt to do so.

I don’t really like leaving stuff behind at the office, so I didn’t want to leave my work clothes there. Luckily, when Teva sent me a pair of trail shoes to review, they also sent me a CamelBack backpack. I removed the water pouch, and it was pretty ideal for wearing while running. The back and shoulder straps are padded, I feel like it distributed the weight pretty well, and if I tightened the straps and hooked them together in front, the bag didn’t jostle too bad. (But it was still noticeable and might chafe on a longer run.) It was noticeable extra weight, and I feel like it did slow me down a little bit, but just extra resistance, right?

My normal commute takes 45-50 minutes door-to-door. Running home took just over an hour, plus the time to change into my running clothes. If I ran without the bag, maybe it would have taken just under an hour. So, a little bit longer than taking the L, but definitely less time than taking the L, and then going for a 6 mile run.

Plus, the fun part is, I get to run through Chicago! Today’s run took me down some new streets, and also took me past some bars I haven’t thought about in a decade (ahhh, college). And, thanks to Chicago’s many diagonal streets, there are a few different routes I can explore without adding extra distance.

I definitely hope to make this a regular thing, hopefully at least a couple times per week. My only concern is what to do when the temps drop more, and I have to wear a coat to work? How do I transport that home so that I can wear it again in the morning? (Might be time to start doing a “runch” = run at lunch. I can get away with showering w/o washing my hair, right?)

I was already going at a slower pace with the backpack and also stopping at all the lights, so I didn’t want to take pictures during my run (plus my phone was buried in my bag). But here I am modeling my bag post-run.

Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 8.48.22 PM



I ran into another runner also wearing his Oktoberfest 5K race shirt. Of course we had to comment on each other’s shirts, yay runners.

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17 Comments on “Time Saver: The Run Commute”

    1. It’ll definitely take some planning – bringing running clothes and shower stuff, and planning a day when you have time to sneak out for a run & shower. And then actually getting away from your desk and doing it. I know some people in my dept who use the fitness center during lunch, so at least I know there isn’t a chained-to-your-desk-at-lunch mentality.

  1. I have only run short distances with a backpack. Maybe 2 miles round-trip to get some groceries. Cool that you can do it for 6 miles and save time on your commute and run combo. Runching is awesome. I didn’t even know what I had been doing was called that. Anyway, I can squeeze in a few extra daily miles at lunch and get my blood pumping for the afternoon. BTW, Cool t-shirt! 🙂

  2. Dry shampoo. It’s a saving grace for days you want to do some exercise, but have to shower away home/don’t have time for the 30 minutes it takes to blow dry your hair.

    On days I kickbox or bikram yoga, I have to wash my hair. The amount of sweat is just so gross. But on days I do weights, resistance band training, or light runs, I skip hair washing, and use (lightly scented) dry shampoo, and a simpler “hides that I haven’t straight-ironed” hairdo.

    Aside from saving my scalp/hair from drying out, it also makes it easier to schedule post-gym client meetings w/o trying to find a way to make the hour plus commute back home for a “real” shower. Granted I still have to lug around a gym bag -and- laptop bag, but that’s a separate problem altogether. 🙂

    1. Hmmm I already don’t blow-dry my hair – it’s just too long and takes too long and I feel like it doesn’t make it look THAT much better. Plus I like to think I look good with “beachy” hair.

  3. Awesome! I love run commuting — you’re basically saving a whole hour. I’ve never carried a backpack. I’ve either left almost everything (except keys, phone, metrocard, license, and debit card) in a locked drawer at work. In the winter it’s a little easier because I can put that stuff in my jacket pockets. The logistics are kind of annoying..but it’s great to have the option, especially if you’re pressed for time!

  4. Last year I did about a 7-8 mile commute home a few days a week. It was okay, but would get made that my time would be slower, or that a spoon or something would keep digging into my back, or a strap would keep getting loose. I wouldnt mind doing it again, but it hasnt fit into my training plan.
    Not sure what I would do about the winter. Boots in my bag? No thanks

  5. I’ve run home from work a few times (uh, I have to add some extra miles, though otherwise a 1.5 mile run isn’t really worth the sweat) but I much prefer running at lunch! I never wash my hair afterward 🙂

  6. I love this! I love running to my second job (at the studio)! And I’ve been running during lunch lately – I just use a ShowerPill and gel my hair. I know. Gross. It works though! 🙂

    That camel bak seems HUGE. How much water does the bladder hold when it’s in there?

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