Need a New Year’s resolution? Here are seven reasons why you should give run-commuting a go in 2017.
What’s your new year’s resolution for 2017?
If you’re like a lot of people, it’s “get more exercise”.
We know how that turns out though, don’t we?
You start the new year with good intentions. You join the gym and buy some new gear. Hell, you might as well sign up for a few classes too.
You go to the gym a few times. You feel great. You’re motivated. You tell anyone who’ll listen how much exercise you’re doing now. You might even take a selfie of yourself in the gym and post it to all of your social media accounts.
Then, as January turns into February, reality hits. You’re too tired to exercise after a long day at work and too comfortable in your bed in the morning to hit the gym for an pre-work session.
Before you realise what’s happening, exercise-free days turn to exercise-free months. Like everyone else who vows to get fit in the new year, you’ve lost motivation.
Lazy work out
I used to be exactly the same. And when I did make it to the gym, I’d do a few sit ups or have a gentle run on the treadmill and convince myself that the bead of sweat on my brow was the result of a strenuous workout.
The turning point for me came when, after four years of working from home, I got a new job that required me to drive to the office every day. The problem was that Tiff and I share the one car and she needs it most days of the week.
Fine, I’ll get the train. However, the nearest station is a 40-minute walk with another 20-minute walk at the other end. I don’t have the time or the patience to do that, especially as I also walk my dog Tilly in the mornings before I leave for the office.
For a long while, my trusty trail bike took care of the first leg of my journey. Then, after getting a flat tyre, I was forced to run instead of cycle to the station.
Now, several months down the line, I’ve stuck with it. I’m now getting more exercise than ever and I rarely miss a “session”. And no, I never did get round to fixing that puncture.
Why you should give run-commuting a go in 2017
Run-commuting is a great way to keep fit. Here are seven more reasons why I think you should give it a go in 2017.
1. It’s motivating
Let’s face it, going to the gym or going out for a run before work is always optional. If you don’t feel like it, you just won’t do it. End of.
However, when the alternative is being late for work or not getting home at the end of the day, you have no option but to grit your teeth and get on with it.
And, there’s no quitting mid session either. Unless you want to call for a cab to get you the rest of the way.
2. Running is (pretty much) free
All you need to run to work is a good pair of trainers, some basic running kit and a small rucksack (mine cost me £12).
There’s no insurance, no fuel (apart from a light breakfast), no wear and tear, no lights and no MOT to worry about. And, if you’re lucky enough to be able to run all the way to work, no bus and train tickets to buy.
3. Run-commuting saves you time
Incorporating exercise into your commute saves you time.
Sure, it will take a you a little longer to get to work if you go under your own steam. But there are no extra trips to the gym or an exercise class to think about before work or once you get home.
4. It’s good for the environment
Judging by the number of people I see jumping in their cars to make short trips, I’m not sure that many people worry about this anymore.
If you’re one of those that does still care about, you’re not going to find many more environmentally friendly ways to get to work than running.
5. It helps you burn off those office treats
Donuts, cakes, chocolate, sweets, biscuits. Almost every day in my office, someone brings in a load of sweet treats that are impossible to resist.
I used to either avoid them or feel guilty for giving in. Now I help myself, save in the knowledge that I’ll be burning off those pesky calories on my run home.
6. Running sets you up for the day…
Believe it or not, exercise gives you more energy, not less. So it’s a great way to start your day, especially if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep.
Exercise before work also leads to less stress and higher productivity. As well as this, running releases those all-important chemicals called endorphins in your brain, triggering a happy feeling that will stay with you throughout the day.
7. …and helps you unwind
Running at the end of the day provides a great outlet for clearing your mind and working through any work problems you’re having.
It certainly beats sitting in traffic or dealing with impatient drivers on the motorway.
Challenges to run-commuting
Clearly, not everyone is in a position to be able to run to and from work.
For example, it’s easier to run-commute if you have showers and changing facilities at work. If you don’t, however, you could always just run home.
If you want to look presentable in the office, you’ll also need a way to get your clothes into work. I get round this by taking in clean clothes, including pressed shirts, on the days I don’t run in. (I’m lucky in that my employer provides showers, lockers and a dry room.)
And, don’t try to do too much too soon. Running regularly can be tough on the legs if you’re not used to it. Start off running one or two days a week. Then ramp it up when you feel like it. Or only run some of the way initially.
Over to you
How are you going to get more exercise in 2017? Would you give run-commuting a go?