Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Friday, January 10, 2014

Adjusting for a Run Commute

For the last few weeks I had been mentally fiddling with how manage a partial run commute.

Wait Declan! You already are able to run in your lunch hour (also known as runch) at work, why wake up earlier to run?

I'm glad you asked!

  1. Limited time: I get an hour for lunch, and if I get into work earlier (as early as 6am), I can use my extra time to work out, rather than leave early. I can fit in 7-11 miles in this time frame if I run outside, but I have no time left over to stretch good after.
  2. I could do so much more: As mentioned in my end of year post, I looked back and thought how I could do so much more. I want to run my miles before work, then use my lunch hour to do core and hip work, and do use the weight room to build up my upper body strength.
  3. I hate treadmills: For a runch, I have two options, A) Run on the treadmill and maximize miles...but I always feel jankie for the next 24 hours, get bored, and just don't get my normal high. B) Run outside, but 60-80% of my miles are made up of getting to and from the lakefront path....and that means a lot of intersections and waiting for a pause in traffic to hopefully j-run. I end up losing about 10 minutes or so from my run time waiting for the lights.
So now, I will be doing part of my commute on foot. I live about 14ish miles from work via the lakefront trail to the S. Loop to  what I like to consider the Borderlands of Chicago.

Obviously I don't have the fitness to do this every day, so I mapped out multiple 5 different runs to do, 6.3,8, 10.75, 12.3, and 13.1 miles. Each run finishing at work, and the last 3 miles will have to suffer intersections, but I'm hoping to avoid traffic by being on the street before the normal commuting hours.

Mapping was the easy part, as this is largely papercraft (I still don't know what the emergency bathroom options will be) and it looks nice on an excel sheet.

The hard part, the logistics of making it work. I don't want to bring a full backpack of cloths and food every day. So here is what I did today.

I brought in three sets of work outfits, 3 sets of work out cloths for my lunch time work outs, bagels, carnation breakfast drink mixes, yogurts, silverware, bread, peanut butter, jelly, bananas, toothbrush, tooth paste, shampoo, (I already have soap here), deodorant, and an extra towel (two work outs, means two showers at work).  I had found an old duffel bag in my closet and stuffed it last night with all my goodies. When I was leaving this morning, I realized it had a nice rip on the side... duck tape it..

I get on the bus, and unzip it to get something out now, rather than at my work parking lot... and the zipper comes unhooked from one side and won't work now. womp womp.

I forgot to bring in my granola and cereal bars, and I brought in the wrong cream cheese.   I got into work early today, so I'll use a little of that extra time to run to the grocery store.. or stop on the way back all sweaty.. yes.. I'll do that.

So every day after work, I can wear my work cloths home..with my running sneakers on and use a plastic grocery bag to bring home sweaty cloths. I'll need to buy an extra belt (I only bought one two sided belt after losing weight) and bring in shoe polish. My rest day from my morning run will be Wednesday or Thursday, and use that day to bring in new food and work cloths.

This schedule should let me get a steady 60-65 miles per week average, with room to grow over time, help me strength my weak hips, keep up the exercises I would do at physical therapy, and not have gumby arms.

I still need to find easy things to keep at work for breakfast and lunch to feed the beast once it kick, and be reasonable about listening to my fatigue, as doing two a day work outs will require breathers from time to time.

And as I have no marathons on my agenda, I'll likely just jump in a training plan soon, do a 20 mile pace run at the end, do an easy week or so, then go again (or as much as baby #2 allows).

I'll follow up on this in a week or two with lessons learned.

Now you've read enough, here are some photos from my recent runch:

 What my desk needs to smell like:

And for those winter blues days:

 And your reaction right now to this post:


  1. Re your first gif: TWHS! ZING!

    Wow, you've clearly put a lot of thought into making your commute runs work! That's a good idea to pack for the entire week on, presumably, a non-running day. And geez, anymore, I'll go pretty much anywhere sweaty and post-runs (bars included, as you know). I figure I'm still not the smelliest person wherever I am. Especially when it's the CTA.

    Glad to hear you're feeling good enough to handle 60-65 miles weeks! :)

  2. Ah, the good ol' run commute. I used to do those when I lived in New York and once I got the system down, it was actually pretty great! The first ten or so times, though, I ALWAYS forgot something, and it was almost always essential (one day I had to spend all day at work in gym pants)... Figuring out the food situation was also annoying. But it actually took me less time to get to work that way (as opposed to the subway), so I didn't even have to take any extra time out of my day to run! Win-win! I'm thinking of starting a similar system now that I'm in grad school, only it's a million times more difficult because I don't really have anywhere to store my stuff!

    Anyway, enough about me - good luck and may your first few times not be as embarrassing as mine were.

  3. I ran home from work once. It was cool. I have yet to do it again. Because what do I do with my winter coat???? I'll need it again the following morning. I guess I could run to and from work, no coat needed either way. But I bring my blow-dryer with me when I plan to workout before work, because the blow dryers in the locker room at the office suck and my bangs look weird.


  4. DAMNIT! I just thought of this as I was walking back in the rain at lunch.. Looks like I'm going to be a little cold going home...

  5. I'm staggered by the amount of planning involved in a run commute. Ever a German, what struck me about your efforts was how the smallest unexpected, silly glitch can derail the best laid plans. I find your blog instructive because I'm trying to keep up with my son and daughter in-law who live in the running capital of the world, Boulder, Co. Not sure how they even find time to run, but did return to Toronto in Oct. for the marathon. Earlier in the month Alex was in Paris, Norman, Ok and D.C. while Alysia was in Japan and D.C., at the super-collider in Basil, and at Fermilab. Their run-commutes involve racing from airline gate to airline gate. Who knew that federal research dollars single-handedly guaranteed profits for US carriers??
    Also like the blog because of the animations. Clever...
    Good luck in perfecting your plans.

  6. I was just thinking about how much getting to and from the lakefront path sucks in terms of intersections and traffic and such. Can we just have a elevated pedestrian pathway, too?

  7. haha first gif, totes thought it!
    I'm hoping I'm ready for the 60-65 miles! Cause i'm going to do it soon lol
    I think I can win smelly if I bring smoked sausage on my run to lunch

  8. I'm pretty sure I'll have a fair amount of awkwardly dressed days. Make friends with a teacher to keep a bag of stuff in their office?

  9. It majorly sucks! you lose your rhythm, start to feel like stopping and resting, and end up looking like a pissed off runner on memes.

  10. Thanks!! The motivation to want to get it done helps make it happen... but I can't say I'm always the most rested dad..

    I imagine I'll have some blog posts about the kinks, but hopefully it helps people not make the same mistakes! But I am very lucky to have the lakefront path to make up the majority of my run! Like the runner expressway to work!

  11. Good planning on your part. It is a hassle but so worth it when you get to run along the lakefront. I'm too lazy to drive there during the week so will only get a chance to do so on the weekends.

  12. 60 to 65 miles a week? You are getting into Ken territory and that's awesome!

  13. Debbie @ healthy running momJanuary 12, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    OMG- You are incredibly impressive!!!!!!!!!!! Wow- what a role model. Just be careful on the ice. It's really slippery in many spots! Good for you. I almost get the runners high just reading what you're accomplishing!

  14. Wow, you are a running Superman! You are so organized with your training, and your "easy" weeks easily surpass my toughest training weeks!

  15. Wow - Impressive! I do not have the ability to run to work since we do not have showers. And really... even if it is just a mile I smell REALLY bad after the run. I have toyed with the idea of running home during the warmer months but haven't quite figured out the logistics yet...

    Did someone say excel?!?!?!?! :-P

  16. Good luck with it all and yay for coming baby!!!!

  17. Thanks! I'm hoping it goes smoothly and I don't find a wrinkle too hard to work with!

  18. I should say 60 +/- 5 ! Ken is 80 +/- 5 i think!

  19. Well I hope I live up to the expectations now! Getting it written down at least makes it look doable. I'll write up an update after I get a week of it done to see if I'm even worth 1/10th of this praise! thank you :)

  20. I'm a planning superman! Check back in a few weeks to see if I live up to my own hype! Thank you for the encouragement!!

  21. I should have contacted you to do a proper excel plan and insert it in my blog! mine looks sad compared to the ones you post!

    I am pretty lucky with the gym at work. I supposed if I couldn't run to work.. I would look into UIC gym and getting a locker there. Or maybe start work at 6am, and use the early leave time to run home... which come to think of it..could work on days I need to catch a little extra zz... hmmm HMMMM HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM