Signing up to run the London marathon (Apr. 23) can be a great way to stay fit, challenge yourself physically or raise money for a good cause.
With just about a month left to the run day, you might consider ‘commute running’ to increase your training sessions with minimum impact on your daily routine.
Lois Bellamy, Social Strategy Manager at activewear brand TALA, ran her first half-marathon in 2018 and hasn’t stopped since. Lois, 26, this year introduced ‘commuted running’ for her midweek training sessions. She said: “It’s great for saving time, especially when you live far from the office like I do! I live in Essex and work in central London, so I regularly take the train about halfway and run the rest of the way.”
Lois Bellamy shared her top 5 tips to introduce commute running into your training plan.
Start by minimising your load.
If you’re new to ‘commute running’, you might find that adjusting to your new routine requires some minor changes. Consider things such as if your workplace has showers, how much gear you need to take with you to work, what is the commute time and does your office have a dress code.
“To make the transition as smooth as possible, start by taking a look at your work kit and remove anything non-essential. The less you have to take to and from the office, the less weight you will have to carry! Even the smallest change, such as ditching the full wallet in favour of a small card wallet, can make a difference. But the biggest thing is to plan it on days when you don’t have to bring your laptop to or from the office – that’s a dealbreaker.”
- Invest in comfortable gear.
If you haven’t already, invest in a good running backpack. You may need one to carry your work laptop.
“When buying a specialist running bag, make sure it has chest and waist straps to evenly distribute the weight of the pack across your body and hold it securely in place.
I am lucky enough to work for an activewear brand, so I get to do wearer trials for upcoming kits – and feeding that information back to the team has been really rewarding. Ill-fitting gear will make the whole experience unpleasant and potentially could also lead to minor injuries. I always try to wear kits with reflective strips to make myself more visible to drivers in the morning.”
- Plan your route ahead of time.
Plan your running route ahead of time, taking into account any busy roads, hills or other challenges that you may encounter.
“Because I live so far from the office, one part of the route planning I have enjoyed is trying different ways in – I can take a train to different stations in London and run from there, meaning I can change up my route, which really helps with the mental side of marathon training. But do plan in advance – you don’t need the stress of being late to work messing with your running pace!”
- Keep your energy levels up.
“Whatever your usual pre-run fuel is, make sure you have fully digested it before running to avoid any stomach trouble en route. Stock up on food to keep at work so you can grab a quick bite when you arrive or before you leave for your run.
Carrying an energy bar with you is also a smart idea for a quick pick-me-up, and don’t forget to pack a water bottle to keep hydrated at all times.”
- Keep a change of clothes at the office.
If you are running on your way to work, you should explore your options for your post-commute refresh.
“At TALA, we’re lucky to have showers in our office building, but if this is not your case, it’s worth stocking up on biodegradable baby wipes and dry shampoo. In either case, plan ahead by taking your workwear into the office the day before you run-commute. This way, you’ll be able to freshen up and change into your work clothes after your run.
“If the post-commute hygiene is an issue for you, bypass it by travelling to work as usual in the morning and then running home instead.”