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If someone had told me a year ago that I’d run home from work every day I would’ve probably laughed in their face. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy running, I really did, but it was something I’d do occasionally on Sunday mornings, when I was riding the wave of my most recent health kick (which was rare, can I just assure you!). As a fair-weather runner a hint of drizzle was enough to persuade me to spend some more quality time with my sofa rather than getting out for a jog. Weeks would pass where my trainers were left resigned to the bottom of my wardrobe along with the token pair of high heels that were too painful to ever wear for more than a millisecond but you can’t bear to throw. Anyway, you get the picture.
So a year on I’m officially a run-commuter (yes, that’s actually a thing). I am the girl I would have scowled and rolled my eyes at in a rage of jealous envy for shunning the delights of TFL in favour of hitting the pavement. And yet I’m doing it, and surprisingly, loving it. I actually find myself choosing to pop on my trainers and toodle off home down the river (now that sounds more pleasant than it actually is – It actually involves choking on exhaust fumes and barging past tourists but it beats the tube and all in the name of exercise!).
Ok, so it isn’t always a practical solution. If you’ve got a 30-mile train journey then I’m not suggesting two marathons a day are a realistic exercise plan. But substituting even a portion of your journey for a gentle jog is an easy way to pack in the fitness. A friend of mine jogs home from the station and another between tube stops (yes, I have infected all of their minds with my running ways!)
So if you’ve even the slightest inclination to start running to or from work, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give it a go. Here are my top tips for giving your running routine a serious boost:
Wearing a bum bag
Bear with me on this one. I know a fanny pack is not the most glamorous of accessories, but it really is the most practical addition when you’re running home from work. I used to lug an enormous, Mary Poppins-style mini-suitcase of a bag to and from work every day. But when I really thought about it, all I actually needed to take home with me was my phone, keys, work security pass and debit card.
Download the Nike Running App (Free, iTunes and Google Play)
This one does what it says on the tin. It’s quite simply an app that tracks your running. Having something monitoring your progress is strangely addictive. All of a sudden I feel like I’m competing with myself to get faster and run further. There’s nothing that makes me happier of late than when the app tells me that I’ve ran a personal best – sad, I know. If you’re just starting out with running, having a record of your activity is really motivating, especially as the miles start to rack up.
Fitting exercise in where you didn’t know you had time
Since running home from work I feel like my eyes have been opened to a world of chances to run - cheesy, but oh so true. The more exercise that I do, the more I’m thinking of ways and times to fit it into my day. If I wake up half an hour early that’s an opportunity to get out for run. If I’m heading out for dinner after work then I’m considering whether I can fit in a run on my lunch break. It’s not only running though, I’ve added a few small bits and bobs of exercise into my day too, like taking the stairs rather than the lift. Boring but every little really does help.
A great playlist makes all the difference
It really does. When I’ve got a new playlist to run along too my workout goes by SO much faster. I create playlists on Spotify Premium (free for 30 days and then £9.99 per month) which lets you save music for when you’re offline.
Scheduling a run into your diary
This is a small thing, and it might just be me. But if I physically write my runs into my diary at the start of the week I feel compelled to actually do them. When they’re written in black and white I feel too guilty to skip a day. It also helps me work out when I might need to run at a different time, if I’m meeting up with friends or going to the cinema one evening. I’m a sucker for sticking to my plans – call me a goody two shoes if you will, but it works for me.
Make yourself a drawerdrobe
My desk quickly became a public health hazard with shoes, spare socks and running clothes for every weather eventuality spilling out from underneath it. To hide away the mess I’ve transformed the drawer under my desk into a drawerdrobe (drawer + wardrobe - see what I did there?). Now when I go to grab a pen out of my drawer I pull out a sports bra instead (not cool if your boss is male, which thankfully mine isn’t!). So you need some forward planning.