Run commuting – get started in 7 easy steps

With the spring equinox now behind us, we are looking forward to longer days and sunnier running (maybe!). As the nights get shorter, you might be considering how to reduce the carbon impact of your commute. As a Green Runner, perhaps run commuting has come to mind as a way to fulfil your Pledge, but you have yet to give it a go.

We have teamed up with Scott Cain from RunSome as well as Running Mayors Gerard Williams and Tasha Thompson (who is also founder of Black Girls Do Run) to help you on your first steps into run commuting.

Beat the traffic

We all know running is good for us, keeping us fit and healthy. Nowadays, running is very much a hobby and something we do in our free time, but running is just another mode of transport. When you start looking at running that way, it can open up lots of fun opportunities to fit running into your everyday routine and switch things up.

In fact, turning your hand (or feet) to run commuting might not only help you get more running in, it might be quicker than driving! According to the TomTom Traffic Index, London is one of the slowest cities in the world for driving, with a rush hour average speed of just 14kph (or 9mph). That is around 21 minutes for 5km – or a speedy 5K time.

Running can also be a great way to prepare yourself for a day at work or destress at the end. We all know what commuting back home can be like after a tiring day. Lacing up after work might just help you decompress before you get home.

Ultimately, run commuting can vastly reduce your carbon emissions, which we at The Green Runners are all about. Research shows transportation accounts for 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, which means reducing commuting emissions is essential. One study showed that, to sequester all their emissions from commuting, every employee would require 1.5 acres of forest to be planted every year.

Turning away from fossil-fuel-powered commutes to human-powered is a step in the right direction.

Where do I start with run commuting?

1. Find yourself a comfortable commuting bag

Scott at RunSome’s top tip is to find a comfortable run commuting bag, particularly one with a waist strap. Running backpacks are designed for, well, running! Scott says: “Invest in a good bag – because it is an investment – and find one with solid straps. My personal hack is to remove the inner backing material to make the bag more flexible.”

Look around for second-hand bags, such as an OMM 25L or Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20L if you don’t have a suitable bag already!

2. Utilise the office shower or locate nearby public ones

If your office already has a shower – fantastic! You can store a towel and some shower gel at the office and take it home the days you cannot run to work. If your office doesn’t have a shower, Gerard Williams recommends finding a local gym or hotel with accessible showers. He says: “Get to know the staff and be friendly with them. Let them know what you are doing and why, and they might even help you out for free!”

3. You don’t have to run every day, or the whole way

At The Green Runners, we are all about progress – no matter how great. Changing to run commuting just a couple days a week is a great step. Tasha Thompson agrees, saying, “Running from work is easier than running to work, and you don’t even need to run the whole distance.”

This is helpful to remember, because sometimes you need to take more things to/from the office, you are tight for time, or you don’t have access to showers. Remember, imperfect progress is better than no progress.

4. Take it slowly

It can be all too easy to treat a run commute like a regular run. Run commuting is a mode of transport and going too fast too often can result in injuries. Taking your time can help you enjoy your commute more and, as a side benefit, makes you less sweaty!

5. Plan ahead

Tasha and Gerard’s advice is to plan your week and decide which days you are going to run commute. This means you can decide what to leave at the office (spare clothes, laptop, shoes, towel), and you can plan around other commitments. It can be nice to base the days you will run commute off the weather forecast, which means you can make the most of your commute!

6. Keep you clothes crease-free

If you do need to run with your clothes in your bag, there’s a hack to keep them crease-free. Find a book and insert it into or between your clothes. Fold your clothes around the book and place them tightly into a plastic bag. The book helps flatten out the clothes and reduce creases, and stops them all falling into a pile at the bottom of your bag!

7. Have fun!

The main piece of advice from Scott, Tasha and Gerard is to have fun. Take pictures, record your runs, listen to podcasts, run in good weather, and remember you are doing something great for your health and the planet. Plus, you might have a little extra money in your pocket for a cheeky pastry every so often – you have earned it!

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