The Life Experimenter : Change Your Life, One Month at a Time

Life Experiment #44: Run To Work For A Month

By Allen Rinehart


I ain’t going to lie to you.  Training for a marathon is hard, hard work.  I’ve been struggling for the past 3 months trying to stick to a consistent routine.  If all I had to do in life was train then it wouldn’t be that bad.  But throw in a full-time job and a social life and suddenly the idea of devoting time to marathon training is a little overwhelming.  On top of that I had to deal with a move from Washington state to San Diego (P.S….I love it here by the way!).  Now that life is somewhat back to normal, I’ve been racking my brain trying to devise ways to fit training into my routine.

Then it came to me when I was figuring out how to get to work without a car.  Why not just run there?  I’ve even recommended that people do this to automate your fitness.  I realized that exercise doesn’t have to be this daunting task that I have to squeeze into my busy schedule.  So for the next 30 days, I’ll be passing people stuck in traffic and going super green as I jog to and from work everyday.

Hypothesis: After some initial testing earlier this week, I believe this is entirely possible.  I live about 3 miles (not including a ferry ride) to my office.  I believe the habit of running to work will allow me to train for my marathon in June without spending a lot more time training outside of work.

How To Run Commute

Live Close To Where You Work

First and foremost, when I moved to San Diego, I chose an apartment with close access to public transportation to get to work. If you don’t own a car, this is almost a no brainer. So if you’re looking to run to work, I’d suggest either looking for a new job, a new place to live or just finding some close public transportation. I live in downtown San Diego and work in Coronado, so I have to take a ferry over. I’ve just been running a mile to the ferry landing, crossing the bay, then running 1.8 miles giving me a total of a 5.6 mile round trip. Easy day!

Taking Stuff To Work

I haven’t quite perfected this but if you’re like me and you need to shower and change before you start work. I bought a black 50 oz CamelBak Hydrobak, took the water pouch out and now use it to put my glasses, keys, cellphone, wallet and any other items I need to carry. The pack has two shoulder straps and a middle strap, so it stays tight enough to not move around while I run, but not two tight that it doesn’t rub.  I’ve seen a lot of running backpacks out there, but I don’t want to carry too much weight on my back, so we’ll see.

Changing And Showering

I work in the US Navy, so I just wear the same uniform to work everyday.  I have a rack to store all my uniforms, a head to shower in and a berthing to change in.  This might work  for people who have to wear uniforms at work and have showers and changing rooms at work (i.e. fireman, police officers, nurses, etc).  If this is not you, you might want to check out a great article on Runner’s World about “run commuting”.  One guy in the article would drive in on Monday, bring everything he needed for the week, run to work the following days then drive home on Friday. Other people would just shower at a local gym near by.  You should also check out for some tips on logistics.

Hopefully these extra runs will super charge my marathon training.  I’ve just signed-up for the June 2nd Rock-N-Roll marathon this week.  It should be a great day.  I just hope I’m ready.  But who’s really 100% ready to do something challenging the first time.  Happy trails.  Don’t let me pass you on your way home! 😛


Check out this page for the results.

Photo Credits: Seán Venn

2 responses to “Life Experiment #44: Run To Work For A Month”

  1. […] N’ Roll marathon in 4 hours and 37 minutes.  I credit my competition to a single habit.  Running to work everyday. When I first began to train for this marathon, I struggled with trying to fit workouts into my […]

  2. […] minutes only to drive another 20 minutes to work.  I wondered what would happen if people started riding their bikes to work?  Without access to a car, you’re forced to walk every […]

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