Excluding weekend long runs, I’m not a morning runner. I could be if I didn’t go to bed so late.
Still, I’m not about to change my habits since running after work fits my schedule. Working out between 5-8 is a big improvement over my old habits. When I first started working out regularly 3 years ago, I rarely made it to the gym before 10. That worked for me then too. I was was a super self conscious newbie uncomfortable about working out in front of other people. So, working out in a nearly empty gym was just what I wanted.
Now, I’m used to running on weekday evenings. In the spring and summer, getting in my post-work run in is not a problem. I look forward to it during the day. I don’t mind running at dusk or in the dark. In the winter and fall my motivation wanes when it’s very dark at 5 or 6. At least it’s not very cold here. It’s worse when I leave work around 6, have a 45 minute commute (if lucky) and don’t get a run in until after 7. In January, that feels late.
One way I’ve found to deal with the winter running is the run commute. I’ve seen other bloggers talk about running to work (Runner’s Kitchen). I could do that, but I prefer the run home. It fits with my evening running habits. Plus, it’s logistically easier and the route is almost all downhill.
Here’s how I do the run commute:
1. Pack shoes and running clothes in the morning or the night before. Make sure not to forget the sports bra. I’ve done this twice before and I’m genuinely upset that I can’t run home, especially when I’m on a bus inching through Westwood traffic and it takes 20 minutes to go less than a mile.
2. Bus it to work. This is convenient for me thanks to a direct bus route and a subsidized bus pass for students/staff at the university.
3. Work, work, work. Make sure not to eat a heavy lunch that might upset my tummy later.
4. Clock out and change in to running clothes, shoes. Stash clothes/shoes under my desk at work. I could carry it in a drawstring bag, but it’s really uncomfortable to have the straps digging in to my collarbone and feel the bag bouncing against my lower back. (It works for some, see Runner’s Kitchen’s tips.)
5. Add on all the other running accessories (see photo). In the winter, I make sure to wear reflectors slap bands for greater visibility on some busy west side streets. I want to get home in one piece after all. I also carry ID, bus pass, some cash, key and phone in my iFitness belt. I typically run while listening to a podcast or music, but I keep it low enough to hear what’s going on.
6. Begin run commute! I usually choose a direct 5 mile route, which is fine for most of my weekday runs. If I need to get in a few more miles, I can extend the route as needed. I pass by a park and playground on my route, perfect if I need to make a water or bathroom stop.
7. Laugh inside at motorists traveling slower than you in their cars on clogged west side streets. Watch out for distracted drivers, especially those who roll through stops or zoom out of parking lots to make a right turn while only looking left.
8. Get home in about the same time it would have taken to actually commute via bus (or even bus+car).
9. Next day, don’t forget to bring home clothes.