Run Commuting

Lessons learnt and experiences gained while running to work.

I write this article as I am slouched back on my office chair, elated that I have completed my daily run, having the rest of the day to myself to complete my work, brainstorm new ideas, create new posters and think up of articles on my running experiences that I can share with the community.

I have successfully commuted via foot! Work is a 22-kilometer run away from home. The distance may seem crazy to some, but I take joy in enjoying the process and letting the distance come to me. The benefits of run-commuting? There is no need for traffic jams on the highway to work, and no need squeezing into trains packed like sardines every morning.

For those that know me, I tend to wake up in the wee hours of the morning (think 4am, 5am) and most of the time, it takes an extra mental push to get out of bed – which always feels so comfortable in the morning. Run commuting has saved me at least 2 hours per day when I do it. If I didn’t commute to work via running, a typical work day goes like this:

4.30am: Rise & Shine

5am: Hitting the trails at Green Corridor

6.30am: Done & dusted!

7am: Shower and breakfast (a short power nap if I feel cranky)

8am: Out the door

9.30am: Work starts

With a schedule like this, I typically go to bed before 11pm, and am only able to get in a solid 5 to 6 hours of sleep at times. I prefer runs in the cool morning, which trumps workouts in Singapore’s torturous heat anytime. However, ever since I started, my schedule goes a little like this:

6am: Rise & Shine

6.45am: Out the door!

9am: Done & dusted! Breakfast, cooldown and shower at work

9.45am: Work starts!

Notice the difference? As you can see, I’m grateful and fortunate to have a private shower available here at work. (No need for gym membership fees!) On top of that, I get extra sleep, I add necessary mileage to my base training, and I save money & time – a triple win for me.

Of course, run-commuting Is not for everyone. Common objections I have heard of is that it would be difficult logistically and sometimes, physically. But honestly, when there’s a will, there’s a way, if not, you wouldn’t even be reading this article to find out more about run commuting :).

Below are some suggestions per my own running and working experience over the years. You can try implementing them on your very first run commute! *

*This is a general guide on what I personally find works well. Tweak it according to your needs and availability of facilities!

Planning ahead

On some of my best days, I don't even realise I'm wearing a backpack, and feel like I could be the next champion at the next Vibram Hong Kong 100. On my worst days, I feel like I'm lugging a log on my back. This taught me to plan ahead in advance - on what I really needed, and what was unnecessary. I tend to look at my training plan in advance on a Sunday and on days I do take public transport, I make sure to bring the essentials like extra snacks, socks or even clothes so as not to carry them all the time.

Running Home

No shower at work, or unwilling to spend on that gym membership in town? Run home. For most of us humans, a one-way commute is more than enough for a daily dose of endorphins. Bring your gear to work, run home, and on rest days bring back your dirty work clothes home for ‘laundry day’

Getting off early

Stay at Jurong West but workplace in Changi? Fret not. Get off the public transport before your final stop, and run the rest of the way.

Get a run vest!

Struggling to carry the things you need in your hands and/or pocket? Invest in a good run vest/backpack. Personally, I like the Ultimate Direction line of run vests, and currently use an AK Mountain Vest 3.0 that is large enough to store my clothes, but compact and comfortable enough to be bounce-free. You can read a review of the Mountain Vest here!

Conclusion

At the end of it, it is your own decision to make whether you want to make that plunge to commute to work via running. It may seem impossible and crazy to do so when you think about it, but doesn’t that apply to why we sign up and ‘torture’ ourselves in marathons as well? ;). When you are actually out there doing it – there’s a sense of serenity and achievement looking at the jam-packed roads of cars, public transport and knowing that you are already out there making it count.

Sure, it takes a fair bit of planning and commitment once you do decide to get started. But that is nothing compared to the joy and the surge of adrenaline & endorphins you get after your run at work, energizing you to a great start to the day. Why look like a zombie, when you can look like a hero?

 

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Chang Teck
Chang Teck

Your average lifestyle and leisure runner seeking to learn and grow from every experience - good or bad.

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