Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Monday, January 27, 2014

Invariably Human - Run Commute Update

I had trouble putting this post together, as my first few versions were pretty boring. Boring as in, I didn't even want to read what I just wrote.
Pretty photo running to work
Initially I wanted to get a week's worth of run commutes in to give my early review. I initially tried doing a review of my runs, but snoooozesville. If you want to follow my runs, jump on over to Daily Mile.

I decided to cut it down to the most valuable lessons you should learn if you ever consider a run commute.
  • Be organized and have an inventory of your food and cloths you keep at work. On Wednesdays at work, I check what I have left for clothes, how many of each, and write it down. I then write out all the clothes I'll need for the next four business days. I then bring the list home and go shopping in my closet or do a lot of laundry to bring it all in on Thursday, my mandatory rest day from running. Thursday I also check what food I have left and make another list of all the breakfast, lunch, and snack food I'll need for the next four business days. I use my lunch break to go to the grocery store up the street from work and get only what I need (hello limited desk space).
  • Trust your planning. I spent a good amount of time planning routes, alternate routes, timing out appropriate bus schedules, time needed to get ready, buffer time for delays and so forth. I just have to pick my distance and follow my spreadsheet instructions. I have had a few moments where I have mini panics if I set my alarm for the right time, if I wrote down the wrong bus schedules, but I have to stop myself and trust my previous work.
  • Be aware of the variables out of your control that could disrupt your run start time or pace (especially if you are running to work and trying to start work at a specific time).  The biggest variable so far has been the weather. I have had to adjust my run routes  and times a few times due to ice and intense weather in the pre-dawn hours.  I always consider how safe the run will be, not as much to run through, but are the risks of crossing out of control cars too high as I get off the running path. 
  • Have different run routes ready to switch to in case of weather, reroutes, or over sleeping. Even though I originally set 5 run routes, I have yet to use any of them due to partial path closures in the winter. No biggie, just made a few new ones and found areas to lap around. Also, in the comments of my last post Jennifer commented on wanting to be able to do a run commute, but the lack of showers preventing that from happening.  I started thinking what I would do? I started to think about doing run commutes home. Sounded easy enough. Just whip up some paths that end at home, get into work at 6am, leave at 2:45pm and still get home at a reasonable hour. I quickly liked the idea to throw in my rotation for days that I need to bring emergency cloths to work, weather doesn't permit a run at all in the morning, or I don't feel good in the morning.
  • And remember, you are human:  As I'm sure many of you can relate, you can become obsessive and stubborn about your runs. During this winter season, my hardest to deal with human frailty is my new gift of asthma. Upon initial diagnosis, I thought I would just have to deal with exercise induced asthma on my long runs. Reality, I'm not at that point yet. Last Wednesday (22 January) on my run to work, it was moderately cold out. I had on my balaclava, but I started feeling nauseous. I pulled the cover off my mouth to let the cold air help me feel better.  But side result? My asthma flared up hard for days (just feeling more baseline today). I had to call my doctor and was told to run inside and take my medication more often for a few days. Here is where my stubborn comes in, my immediate reaction,  I made this commitment to a run commute, I'm a failure if I run inside! Then the little common sense voice in my head breaks through and says, so emergency room or run inside and listen to your body when you need to. Lesson learned. As a result, I'll be using the treadmill during this polar vortex for a couple days.
I'm hoping once the winter turns into a more... normal Chicago winter, I can get in a good run commute rhythm. For now, just staying as positive as I can and remembering I am a squishy human.
Okay, back to what I was doing:

Cheers mates!


  1. This is a great post - lots of handy tips! I may just consider trying a run commute myself.
    And that last gif is beyond cute!

  2. Considering the weather, I think you've done an awesome job getting in your run commute. I am envious of your organization/planning skillz too!

  3. Dang, this takes a lot of motivation. Bravo. And thnx for teh kitty GIF.

  4. Oh my! I am a cat lover and love that cat gif. Thanks!

    You are doing so good when it comes to planning. Reading about it made my stop complaining about my routine because it is much more simple that yours but yet exhausting for me. Boo.

  5. Sounds like your experiment is going relatively well! Sorry to hear about the asthma flare up; that's a huge bummer. But, it sounds like you're really planning things well and putting a lot of thought into it, so I'm sure it will continue to go well for you, as long as the weather cooperates. :) Good luck!

  6. Kudos to you for your motivation. I really struggle to get outside and run during these frigid temps. It's been mostly treadmill for me or cross training!!!