I have recently embraced the world of run commuting, or at least half of it, as I have mastered the back but not quite the there.
When I was training for my ultra marathon earlier this year and had the nasty fall which derailed my training, I decided that the best course of action was to increase the time spent on my feet rather than forcing myself to do the long runs I wasn’t quite fit enough to tackle. I wanted to do two runs a day.
Getting up early for run number one was OK, but I didn’t want to then have to go out again at 7pm-ish after a whole day of work. The solution – run home, which seemed perfect as I also needed to practice running with a backpack on, so I could carry my work clothes home and get used to running with kit, too. I had to get home anyway and so it was a logical way of making the most of that time, meaning once I got home I was done.
The way I see it, there are certainly more pros than cons of commuting home: it’s much cheaper, more pleasant and much less stressful that battling with the central line on the London Underground at 6pm. When factoring in the walk to the tube station, waiting for already-packed trains and shuffling along corridors and platforms, changing lines and then the walk from the station to home at the other end, running also takes pretty much the same amount of time. And, of course, once you are home, you’re done and can shower at your own leisure with all your ‘condiments’ (what my dad has called toiletries in the past and has always stuck) to hand, along with clean clothes, hairdryers, towels, the lot. The list goes on. The only down sides really are that it does take some forward planning in terms of the best days to run commute and thinking through what I can feasibly leave at work – in winter, I left my winter coat at work in order to run home and then realised the next morning that I didn’t have it to get back to work – and it was freezing! – and also that it can be a bit annoying running at rush hour trying to dodge in and out of commuters, buses, tourists and the like. But other than that, I seem to have taken to it quite well.
I’ve learnt a lot on the run commutes home and I have done and have also developed a winter route along main roads and a summer route along my beloved canal towpaths for when the nights are lighter. But I still haven’t been able to convince myself to try it the other way.
When I start to think about run commuting to work, it seems like a genius idea. I could even get a lie in, run to work and (theoretically) get changed and still be at my desk at a reasonable time because, unlike with a normal morning, the run and the commute are not separate sections of time and so I don’t have to allow for both. But then I start to really think about the process and it seems like it might be a bit of a faff…
I’d have to pick a day with no external meetings so I could get away with looking less than presentable. I would have to think ahead and probably take in some clothes or perhaps just my shoes the day before, meaning when I got to work I would have to go to my desk to get them, then back to the basement to the showers. There are only 3 showers for the whole building, so will there be a queue which would make me late? I’d need to take a towel, hair straighteners (believe me, they are 100% vital, even to look somewhat human, let alone presentable) condiments and a small smattering of make up. And, being as picky as I am, some sort of flip flops to avoid having to stand directly on the floor of the 3 showers for the whole building. Then I’d have a wet towel and wet flip flops, smelly kit and hot straighteners under my desk for the day. And then I’d have to cart all this stuff home again. It just seems like a lot of work, and much more effort than run commuting home. I’m sure that I could streamline the process as I got more familiar with it, as I have with the running home, but at the minute I’m just not convinced.
Can anyone weigh in here? Is it really as bad as I’m making out? Plenty of people do it so I’m sure it can’t be. But then plenty of people don’t have my unruly hair to consider…
I guess I won’t know until I try.