It’s official – Thursday 5 June 2014 (tomorrow if you’re reading this now) is #run2workday. Whoop whoop!. While I may not agree with BoJo’s politics, I think it’s fab that the Mayor of London is supporting the basic principles behind the event. In fact, there’s one key message from the day that I want to shout out loud: running to work is quicker than many people think.
It takes me on average around 50 minutes to run to work. The tube takes 25 minutes but when you factor in the walk to the tube and from the tube (16 minutes), you’re only around 10 minutes out. Chuck in a whole load of stress of being squashed in a carriage and other people’s body odour and I’d know what I’d rather be doing. If you haven’t clocked it already, the tube is not my favourite place to be first thing in the morning. (I’m not dissing public transport, I’m simply advocating a stress-less commute).
In preparation for the big day and to help anyone who is gearing up for their first ever #runcommute, I’ve pulled together a list of my #runcommute essentials.
1. Running kit
To comfortably complete a successful #runcommute, ensure you have a decent pair of running shoes (Converse, plimsolls or any sort of canvas shoe do not count), sports bra, if you’re a woman, and rucksack. This may seem like I’m stating the obvious but I do wonder if I’ll spot anyone carrying a canvas tote on their shoulder while attempting to run to work tomorrow. The same goes for women who think doubling-up on bras works in the same way as a decent sports bra. Now I’m not the sports bra police nor do I run around London staring at women’s breasts (god forbid) but more education around the value of sports bras is needed, especially for newbie #runcommuters. As for the rucksack, well you can see my thoughts on this here.
2. Wash stuff
If you plan on having a shower after your #runcommute and I would strongly advise that you do, packing a bag of wash stuff is necessary unless you’re lucky enough to work somewhere that provides locker-space and showers. For the rest of us, it’s pack a bag the night before and a long hard think about what you really need. Shower gel? Yes. The latest pre-moisturiser body serum that promises to lift and tone? Probably not.
As a regular #runcommuter, I have found that smaller travel-sized bottles are the way to go. I decant my shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and face wash into 50ml bottles, which last me around three days. This saves on space in my rucksack and makes the run more pleasant as I’m less likely to find that I have something hard against my back. In terms of post-shower, I pack my toothbrush and toothpaste (optional, I just like to brush my teeth post-run), moisturiser (with SPF), concealer, BB cream and mascara. I may also add in a bit more make-up, depending on what my day looks like but this pretty much sets me up for the day. Another tip, sachets from magazines may seem like a pain but they are perfect for the #runcommute as are testers from make-up counters. Use your #runcommute as a way to test out a new moisturiser in a trial size bottle. There are certain gyms that offer shampoo and conditioner so do your research beforehand and weigh up the costs. This may save you space and weight but cost you an extra £40 a month.
And don’t forget to pack your deodorant, again the smaller roll-ons are perfect for your commute on foot.
Whether you believe the argument that towels provided in gyms are not washed at a high enough temperature to rid them of yucky bits or not, you can be sure that carrying a towel on your #runcommute adds to your load. I happen to belong to a council-run establishment, where the cost of borrowing a towel is £3 so I’d rather take my own thank you very much. The best towels to pack are undoubtedly the microfibre sort because they dry quickly and are light-weight. I bought one of these by Karrimor in Sports Direct about a year ago and alternate between it and another microfibre variation. They both do the job without weighing me down.
4. Spare underwear
Chuck in a spare pair of socks and pants or keep some at work in your desk or one day you’ll have to make the choice between sweaty underwear or going commando. You’re only human after all.
5. Change of clothes
Make all those wardrobe decisions the night before so all you have to do is wake up and run. I’m lucky to be able to pretty much wear what I like to work within reason. I do however keep a change of shoes and a blazer at work for those important client-facing meetings. To avoid the crumpled just-got-out-of-bed-look, fold your clothes up when packing your bag. Again, I’m not trying to patronise anyone, I just know from experience, this is the best way to create room in your rucksack and also ensure you look half decent at work.
6. Wet wipes
If all else fails, there are always wet wipes. Versatile, easy-to-use and dispose of, the handy wet wipe is a must for all #runcommuters. You can remove that stubborn mascara, which seemed permanently attached to you eyelashes yesterday but has somehow miraculously created a panda-eye look when you shower in the morning. And, this is not advised, when you’re really really pushed for time or there’s a disaster, such as no available shower, the wet wipe can be a saviour. At least, you’ll feel somewhat fresher than the sweaty mess you were after your #runcommute.
Please don’t let this list put you off, the #runcommute is one of the best ways to explore your city, have time for yourself and train for a race. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is and Fitness First are making it even easier for some by joining up with Home Run to transport your load between certain distances in London, so you can just run. Try it and hopefully you’ll see the benefits that I’ve been championing all these years.
What are your #runcommute essentials? Have I missed anything? Will you be joining me tomorrow?