31. March 2018

Run to work, revisited

With my recent move to East London, running to work has become a topic again. Surprisingly as it may sound, getting the logistics right is the hardest part. Here is my plan on my comeback to run-commutes.

Anyone who has used the tube or train during rush hour in London knows that the commute to work isn’t necessarily the most fun part of the day. However, what if you could make yourself altogether independent from public transport?

This article is another one in a series. Previously I wrote about run-commuting in Bike to work? Run to work, in Run to work: Review of first month, and in Run to work: Review of first year. After a longer break where I either cycled to work, or walked to work, I have now moved to East London where run-commuting has become an option again.

Think about it. £2.90 for a single journey with the tube from zone 2 to zone 1 during peak hours, £5.80 for a return journey during peak hours. Assuming you make 20 return journeys in a month, this makes £116 (which is still cheaper than the £131 for the monthly travel card). On top of that you get to share this tube journey with a lot of people. You have to rely on the tube having good service. What if you could make yourself independent from public transport?

One of my constraints during homesearch was to find a place where I could still cycle to work. And from my new place I can even run to work: it is about 8.5 kilometers along Regent’s Canal. Within one month, however, I have only managed to run to work three times. I have reflected a little bit and came to the conclusion that I got the logistics wrong.

There is a shower at work (with towels provided), so that’s not a problem. However, I still need to make sure I have a full set of spare clothes with me, including shoes. And in the morning, I am too lazy to pack stuff. Therefore, I have now chosen to buy a bit of gear to make this easier (the irony is not missed on me that I now spend the money saved on the tube journeys on gadgets instead): five compression bags which I can use to pre-pack sets of spare clothes for everyday, another separate compression bag for dirty laundry, two shoe bags (one for my running shoes which get dirty, and one for my everyday shoes), and a waterproof sleeve for my laptop. Also I have created a checklist to make sure I pack everything in the evening before (packing the day before is key to avoid making me change my mind in the morning).

The problem is that I usually only want to run to work in the morning, but not run back in the evening. This makes it more difficult to just leave a lot of the gear at work. And this makes it harder to give up on public transport altogether: I could hop on a hire bike on the way back, however I would either have to pay £2 extra because the journey takes more than 30 minutes on a bike, or alternatively drop the bike a bit earlier to stay under 30 minutes and walk the rest.

A few years ago, I managed to do 41 run-commutes within one months, on which I covered over 200 km distance, and spent more than 17 hours. To beat that, I will have to do 39 run-commutes during the next 11 months. I am not sure yet, whether I can achieve that but it seems that I am going back to run-commuting.