Tips for Running on Your Lunch Break
While getting your miles in can most of the time be considered one of the top priorities of the day, sometimes it can feel like the miles have to be squeezed in. Before work, before the kids get up, after work before its dark, after work before dinner… the list is endless. Ever been at the gym in the middle of a weekday, maybe on a day off, and wondered who these people are that can just be here in the middle of the day? Some of them of doctors, nurses, first responders, teachers on summer vacation but some of those people were just at their job and are going to go back. It takes a little planning and the right mileage day but you can be one of those midday workout wonders.
There are only so many hours in the day. If we look for them, there are small amounts of time, which if planned well enough, can go from killing time to wonderful opportunities to help us ensure we get our miles in. And one of those is your lunch hour. Some people use their lunch hour to get all their errands done, so why not use yours to get a run or two in during the week?
It goes without saying but there are a few items that must be in play for a lunch hour run to work. Most importantly the distance you’re planning to log. On top of getting dressed to run and dressed after the run plus any commute that is needed, there is actual run time. Unfortunately, the logistics of it all can take more time that we’d like to admit but being able to get in your 3 miles recovery run or for some, up to a 6, 7 or 8 mile temp or speed work once a week is worth it. Additionally, where are you running? If you are planning to run without access to a gym, do you have access to showers and or a legitimate changing room where you can freshen up? Alternatively if running outside is on you radar, weather and temperature need to be taken into account. Unlike running when you do not have to be back and function at work, having a really red face or continuing to sweat for an hour is not proper. And last but not least, make sure that you can build in some buffer time. Things happen: a gym locker can get stuck, you can forget where you put your keys or an elevator can get stuck. Just make sure that if a random bad luck occurrence happens, it will not penalize you at the office.
Pick Your Time (of Day) Wisely
High noon is the busiest time not only at the gym but on the road to get to the gym. Some are lucky enough to have an office that has a gym in the building. This removes any drive time calculations. Most are not quite so lucky and have to venture out. Like the commute to and from the office, a lunch time trip to the gym may take a few times of trial and error. If you are in an office park or near a lot of popular lunch spots going at “off” times might be ideal. The other piece to choosing your time wisely is when will your presence be missed the least? Often that right before or after everyone else goes to lunch. Do not run out the door yelling, “I’m going for a run!” Some people can be sensitive that they are not cleaver enough to figure out how to be productive on their lunch hour or simply do not get a runner’s dedication.
Bare Minimum “Beauty” Routine
The day or the days that running is going to happen do not need to be the days you hair is done to the nines. The goal is to come back to work looking like the way you did when you left. This means guys shouldn’t leave with a great Don Draper pompadour unless you can sculpt that back into shape lickety-split. Ladies, no wearing your hair down and perfectly hot rolled to return in a ponytail or a bun. Start your day with a really cute pony, bun or chignon you can quickly recreate. What you need to do to freshen up is up to you. Make sure to take care of not only your appearance but any aroma that you could give off especially if you can’t swing a full shower or rinse off. Deodorant, perfume cologne, body splash and possibly brushing your teeth can go a long way.
Not only do you need to choose when to get your run in, you need to plan breakfast, lunch and snacks in accordance to the time you’re going to run. The last thing anyone wants to do is order in a nice, big heartburn producing Italian sub with mustard, vinegar and peppers on it and then go run within an hour. Like with all other runs not only is the timing of the food important so is the food itself. The other thing to remember is that if you are burning your calories in the middle of the day now instead of say, after work. Your hunger cues are going to happen at different times. If you don’t already, it’s a good idea to keep a few nutrition bars, some healthy nuts and some instant oatmeal on hand. Nutritious, non-perishable, easy on the digestive tract treats until you figure out your hunger clues or for when you are running late at any point where your lack of planning would be an issue for your run.
Even the best laid plans have to be moved. Last minute meetings come up, calls go over and busy days open up. The key is to know exactly your total time needed. Only you have a read on your workplace and there are days it just will not work and other days you may wonder why the whole world doesn’t take advantage of the lunchtime workout. If your run location, you mileage and your work schedule allow for it, pound out some miles in the middle of day and free up your evening to do something fun, like going to get new running gear.