The art of the run commute

I can’t remember when I started commuting to work on foot – I think it was after reading Racing the Antelope: What Animals Can Teach Us About Running and Life  in which the author writes that if you want to run long distances – you have to run long distances. So the easiest thing to do is to just start running everywhere you go. Easier said than done – but it’s a great way to get to the office in the morning (getting home is the tricky bit – see below).

Today’s commute


The Reveal

I get questions from people at work about the run and strange looks from cyclists. I have to remember (difficult sometimes) to run facing traffic and ride with traffic – sometimes I get them mixed up because I don’t realize that I’m riding not running or vice versa.  I’m taking the same route.

I thought I’d explode my running pack and reveal my super top-secrets about my 4 mile inbound commute.


Leave everything you can at the office.

I mostly commute by bike, so I have an opportunity to bring in my shoes and jeans early in the week. I leave my shoes here, and have been mostly wearing the same pair of jeans all week. Software design is unlike say… changing the oil in a car, so my clothes don’t get very dirty. Plus it saves water through smaller laundry loads at home. Be kind to mother earth.

I’m very very lucky.

In many things in my life… but also that I have towel service and showers at work. I’ve gone long stretches with no showers – it’s totally possible using the wet-wipe technique. As in – buy a commercial supply of wet-wipes and take a wet-wipe shower. It works. Outdoor stores also sell no-rinse body wash if you want to go that route depending on circumstances.

On to the pack.

1. Inside the stuff sack are t-shirt, work shirt, socks and my unmentionables (which regrettably are the one thing that I’ve forgotten periodically. Infrequently, but still). As the old New England saying that I learned growing up says, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”. I improvise.

2. My iPad mini. Essentially my laptop replacement. It’s amazing – everyone should have one. I resisted a consuming device for a long time  – now I see the light. It also doubles as my reader.

3. The eagle creek ditty bag contains my phone, wallet, moleskin (in case I want to stop and sketch some amazing scenery while running <– I’ve *never* done this), some pens and a couple of emergency bus tickets.

4. Two mojo bars. If the urge strikes to keep on keepin’ on – then that’s what I’ll do, and I might get hungry. So I always pack snacks.

5. Amphipod (above iPad mini) with my office key card and house keys.

6. iPad shuffle. I don’t always listen to music when I run… I’m a purist at times, but on the run commute, when I’m not trying to get anywhere fast. I always keep my slow jamz looping. Mostly David Guetta,  Deadmau5Calvin Harris or  The cheesier the EDM beats, the better. *Earbuds that wrap around your ear for running – crucial.

7. My lunch box packed with snacks. I’m a soup fanatic, so I usually go to a food cart at lunch for soup. Filling and warm – soup is so amazing. Almost as amazing  as french green lentils.

8. My kicks. Right now Brooks Pure Flows. I have a pair of heavier shoes – Brooks Ravenna’s, but when I have my pack on, I want the lightest setup possible – so I go for the Pure Flows. I can’t say enough good things about this shoe. Love ’em.

The pack is an Ultimate Directions (model no longer made) … around 1300ci. It’s waterproof, has padded shoulder straps and thin waist and sternum straps. The trick to running with a pack on is to have it cinched up so tight that you almost can’t breathe. You want to pack to conform to your body and not move around on your shoulders when moving. Cinch it!

Not shown:
If I’m running at night I have the reflective tab on the back of the pack, but I’ll also use my red blinky light from my bike and maybe a headlamp.

I wear glasses so I take a hard case and carry my glasses in that (I can see well enough not to run into parked cars while running, so I don’t wear them).

Outbound. AKA – the return commute.
99% of the time it sucks. My running clothes never dry during the day, so I’m putting on cold and clammy shirt, socks, etc. I’m tired, hungry – it’s dark outside. The run is primarily uphill. I don’t shy away from it –  there are no illusions that it’s going to be “fun”. And I always have my jamz.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.