Running at Work

When I first moved to New York City in February 2011 the cost of a gym membership made me cringe, and the thought of running on the very icy city streets was terrifying. These days, I finally have a job–and therefore a lovely piece of plastic that grants me access to the gloriousness that is NYSC–and a very long time ago discovered that this city has tons of great places to run that don’t cater to black ice (read: the Bridle Path of Central Park). But beforeeee I was a full-on New York, I worked my workout in via the “run commute,” and ran home from work every day with my clothes bouncing around in a backpack behind me. Not everyone’s commute can double as a running path, but mostly everyone CAN find a route to run (or gym to get to) on their lunch break. Brian over at PavementRunner has broken down the details for you on making that work! Take it away, Brian!
My schedule has become pretty hectic with a newborn in the house, but I’ve need to get my runs in one way or another. If your schedule is just as hectic as mine, here is one way to squeeze in some miles that is easier than you may have thought… it may get you some strange looks at work, but we’re runners, we’re used to people thinking that we are a little bit crazy.

Run during your lunch hour!

I’ve been doing that most of the year and it has really allowed me to build and maintain a solid base for my training. Here are some tips to get you started:

Keep a pair of shoes at work.
Since you won’t be logging serious mileage during an hour, they can be a pair that you have slightly used. They’ll be perfect to get you 2-6 miles at a time. This is suggested, but not necessary. By keeping the pair at work, you don’t have to wear your running shoes to work and you can still rock your heels, Jordan’s or cowboy boots.

A complete change of clothes
I bring a running top, bottom along with socks and underwear (hehe) to change into post-run. Since I wear casual shoes to work, I’m able to wear my running socks to start the day. I find it comfortable and hygienic to bring the second pair of socks and underwear to change into afterwards. If you don’t wear socks to start the day, you’ll only the need 1 pair to run in. If you don’t wear underwear to start the day, then I would avoid white pants.

Plastic bag
I tend to sweat during a run, especially if I’m doing a tempo run. I’ll bring a plastic bag to place my dirty clothes in afterwards. The plastic will keep in any moisture from your clothes getting on other personal items. It will also keep in that dirty clothes smell… your co-workers will appreciate this.

How long do you run?
Now that we have the essentials, we can talk about how you spend your hour. For me, I spend 5 minutes changing, 35-40 minutes running, 10 minutes changing back and washing up. That usually keeps me under my hour. I break up the running by time, rather than distance. 20 minutes out, 20 minutes back. Time is your constant in this endeavor. Your supervisor won’t like that you are late because you “needed to get that 5th mile.”


What about food?
I’m able to eat at my desk while I work, so that allows me dedicate the whole hour to the run. If you can eat in under 15-20 minutes, reduce that time from your run and eat post-run. A 20 minute run is better than no run. Also a great way to work in a tempo run allowing you to get in that speed work you always consider doing.

Hygiene
We covered clothes, so let’s talk about your body. (Hehe, yes, I am an immature man-child.) You can get a travel size deodorant to keep at work (or a full size if you like). You can also bring a small towel to wash your face or use bathroom paper towels. Same with a bringing a mini bar of soap vs. hand soap already there. Baby wipes are also optional. They’re easily disposable and make you smell nice and fresh, just ask a baby. Foot powder is also optional if you find that your feet still have moisture post-run (this is also a benefit of a fresh pair of socks). Note: It’s easier to put the powder in your sock before you put it on. Dumping powder on your foot will make a mess, and no one likes a mess in the restroom, right?

Where to change?
As you can see above, I change in the restroom. (shhh, I use the handicap stall to allow myself more room to change) But you can do it in the smaller stalls, it’s a challenge, but I’ve done it several times. If you have a locker room or office, you can do so there, just be considerate of others around you (and lock your office door and close the blinds, peep shows can get you in trouble with HR). If worst comes to worst, you can always pretend you are superman (or superwoman) and change in a phone booth.

That’s how I’m able to get in my miles during the week. I started with 30 mins., or 3 mile runs in the beginning. Now that I’ve become efficient and used to the routine, I can get 4-5 miles in 35-45 mins. and keep everything in under my hour. Start off allowing yourself extra prep and post time. After a couple lunch runs, you’ll get better at it.

Did I miss anything? Hope not. Let me know what you think or if you are facing any other challenges in the comments.

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4 Responses to “Running at Work”


  1. 1 Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe December 13, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I really wish my work had a shower facility available. Then I’d be more inclined to do this… or even if there was a PF close by where I could join for $10/mo just to use the shower at lunch, haha!

  2. 3 Paulette December 20, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I’m lucky and have a locker room at work, which really helps. I often run during the work day too and it’s especially nice when it’s getting dark early. My job is flexible, so I tend to eat lunch at my desk and then take my ‘lunch’ when I’m ready to run mid-afternoon (as long as I have no meetings.) I really like your suggestions on breaking up the hour by time and keeping shoes at work.


  1. 1 Back to Reality « Marathon Winer Trackback on December 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

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