Running to work

Like many people I have far too much on in my life and running often comes off second best to my work commitments, family, and social life, but it shouldn't have to!

I currently work over an hours drive from where I live, so running to work isn't an option. However, I'd love to run at work in a lunchtime, but we don't have any changing facilities. Companies over a certain size are obliged to provide kitchen or catering facilities for staff, so why not shower and changing facilities as well. The government wants the nation to be healthier, so why doesn't it help us keep fit by encouraging us to exercise during the day. This is especially important in the winter when it is dark in the morning and evening, and if you live in rural community then there are no street lights.

Secondly, I doubt my first plea will spark any nationwide initative in the near future, so I am in the process of seeking a new job closer to home. My aim is to reduce my commuting time, but also ideally to run and/or cycle to and from work at least a few times a week. Even if my new employer have changing facilities, or they are near a gym to change in (thou rather expensive for just a shower), I'm still stuck! How, do I get my suit into work when I run in and not look like a tramp when I get there? I've searched the internet for a waterproof, back pack style suit carrier but with no success so far. I realise I could always take stuff in at the beginning of the week and be prepared, but this isn't very practical.

If someone hasn't already invented a waterproof, back pack styled suit carrier, then please hurry up and make it so I can buy it off you.

Many thanks



  • drive into work ... take suit and a couple of shirts

    Run home

    run in in the morning

    Drive home

    ad infinitum
  • But what if the car is needed for other purposes? You can't really just leave it over night elsewhere
  • Some ideas:

    1) Persuade your boss to allow you to start a staff running club during lunch breaks and highlight the benefits it will bring to his/her business(increase productivity, team building, staff moral, less sickness etc)

    2) Use wet-wipes instead of shower:)

    3) Car share(one day someone picks you up and brings to to work then you run home and visa versa)

    4) Go to bed early and get up early for a pre-work run

    5) Go part time/job share/reduce working hours slightly.

    6) Flexible hours (start a little earlier/later to cater for run in AM/PM)

    7) Check out if any there are any local leisure centres that will allow use of there shower facilities(but this will ultimately cut your run time down and cost you extra)

    8) Buy a treadmill

    9) Light weight back pack with work clothes in a plastic bin liner double up

    10) Offer to get the boss into shape and slowly brainwash them into becoming a runner, building shower facilities and purchasing running gear at wholesale prices through the company.

    11) Change you life priorities (Family, running, friends and social life).

    Good luck with your new job!

  • if its over an hour to work, that could be over 50 miles!! are you really expecting the guy to do an ultra once a week aas a run to work??!!! my best advice would be to keep shorter runs for the weekday evenings and then longer runs at the weekend, maybe a sat morning run and a sunday evening so that the body has the largest amount of time it can rest in 2 days whilst running both days. I dont think there's going to be an easier solution untill you find that job closer to home and with shower facilities. you never know, you might get a job with better hours and commitments meaning you have more time for your training
  • Depends where you live/the amount of traffic Philip; if like me you live in London it might take you and hour to cover the most shortest of distances in a car during rush hour; but I do get your point and your advice is good.

  • I used to work an hours drive from home, only 15 miles away.

    When I got fed up of driving I used to bike there and back.
    Once a week I would run one way and get a lift the other with my boss. It also helped that I had my own shower there and a locker to keep a clean uniform available at all times.
  • I Guess I must be really lucky as I only live about 2 1/2 miles from my work and am able to shower at work.
    Only down side is I'm a girly and have to run past loads of paras to get work/home.

    But a least it makes stop wanting to walk!
  • uniform muzzy?... oo get you ;-)
  • Take the suit and shirts in one day, then the rest of the week park the car away from work, run the rest, then run back to it on the way home...........Sorry can't solve the shower problem......perhaps just drip sweat all over your boss for the week, he/she might get the hint, lol
  • Yes Ed!
    I used to look rather smart dressed in that uniform (Trent University Hospitality Dept). I'll have to show you the pictures one day.

    I used to be a lot slimmer and fitter in that job. T'was the most stupid work decision I have ever made to leave there for my present job. I even used to get paid to go running during the day.
  • I also work an hour from home. I take clean clothes in on Monday, I also wear a uniform so its very easy, then I park the car a couple of miles away in B&Q's carpark, run to work and run back again. Its often quicker to run than to drive as the traffic is horrendous!!
    No shower facilities unfortunately but it is surprising how effective wet wipes are..either that or people are too polite to tell me how much I smell! I don't sweat very much in this weather anyway.
    Is there a disabled loo at your office that has a sink in it? You can always have a quick wash in that.
  • I leave my suits, trousers, skirts and work shoes at work and just take in shirts and underwear in on a weekly basis. They seem to get creased less when there are more of them. Some people suggest rolling your clothes as opposed to folding them. I also try to coincide my cycling to work with the carrying of my clothes. My colleague found an old locker which we share, any creases generally are gone from hanging up the shirts in the locker. My suits I take to the dry cleaners near work. I have a choice of shower facilities as I work in a hospital too.

    If you are saving money on not driving I suppose you could use the money to get an ironed shirt service from a dry cleaners shop near your work.

    Only downside of leaving work clothes at work is, if you do off-site early morning meetings. Solved by a spare suit and shoes at home for those days.

    I know I mention shoes but that is what I have most trouble with as if I work late and I get a lift home I invariably forget and wear my work shoes home. This then means carrying them back to work.. I now have at work black boots, black shoes and black high heeled shoes, black sandles so if I forget my shoes one day I won't be in trainers all day.
  • I leave spare jacket, shoes at work and then run with underwear, shirt and trousers in an Asics running back pack. Means you have to plan your week carefully as to what spare clothes are left where and when.

    No showers where I work so I've had to join the local gym. So not the cheapest option but means I get decent shower and changing facilities and then work into work in runners to put on shoes, jacket etc.

    The commitment of paying monthly fee to gym is an incentive to run regularly. And in theory an incentive to cross-train too....well one out of two ain't bad.
  • Hi, I thought I'd chip in on this one, as it became an issue for me when the clocks changed and diving down country roads in the dark didn't really appeal to me.

    I live about 6 miles from where I work, a nice distance for a trot but unfortunately we have no showers at work either and I don't like the idea of running in with all my clothes (+ vain girl items like facewash, makeup etc etc...) on my back (would be like a tortoise carrying its house on its back... and just as slow).

    During the winter when it's been too dark before and after work I am able to take longer lunches (up to 2 hours) a couple of times a week and just make up the time elsewhere (shorter lunches, earlier/later start). I drive home, get a quick run in (anything up to about 45-50mins) then quick shower and back at my desk for a sandwich.

    My standard hours are 8:30 - 5:30 but we finish at 3 on Fridays anyway so I can always run then, and then both days at the weekend, so I manage to get in between 4 and 6 runs per week depending on workload.

    I think it's always worth asking about more flexible hours, perhaps ask for a later start time a couple of days then work through lunch/later at end of day? My boss runs too, so he can empathise with my need to get out there, which helps a lot.

    I need fresh air even more in the winter when it's so dull, I just don't think I could cope purely on treadmill sessions (I am nosy as well and like to look at things when I run).

    Hope you find a way around your problem!

  • Mark,

    Similar situation and soon to be in reverse?
    At the 1st job (5miles away, with shower facilities):Shoes and suit jackets always stay at work, so only trousers and shirt to carry.
    In this job(13 miles away, no shower, 1hr plus in peak traffic) I have joined a council leisure centre in the town I work. They do not open till 7:30 but I start work at 8:30. So my solution. . . leave home at half past stupid, car loaded with suit (and all shower accesories!?)enjoy my planned run 1-2 hours, by that time they gym has opened and at 8 I go for the shower and into the suit.
    Yes, this costs me an extra £25 a month but at least now I have no peak traffic/ road rage, I'm 'fresh' for work and I get to do this 5 times a week. Oh and if the weather is naf or want to do cross training I have gym membership.

    My new job starts soon, which is 30 miles away (no showersbut again I have checked out the local leisure centre (like MS has said) and again it would seem my above approach is going to be the best way forward.
  • I must be the luckiest runner in the world. I'm a teacher and get free local gym membership as its attached to the school building. It has decent facilities as well - treadmills, bikes, steppers etc plus decent showers.

    On top of that I've just found out that staff can use the almost new 8 lane 400 metre track as well. So all I have to do is bring a my running gear !!

    I know - not lots of help if you are struggling to get a run in during the day but there are some jobs which do seem to compliment the need to run better than others. I feel incredibly lucky given the lenghts others are going to run - I'll certainly try to make the most of it.

  • I havent read all the replies, so apologies if I'm repeating whats already been written.

    You need to run home in the evenings, and keep a suit and 5 shirts in the office at the start of the week.

    Go to work in your home clothes with your runnig kit in your rucksack. Change at work in the morning.

    After work, change into your running kit and run with your home clothes and that day's work shirt in your ruck sack.

    And repeat.
  • I'm lucky in that we have lockers and showers so I just drop off the week's clothes on a Sunday in the car, take towel in the morning and towel and day's shirt etc. back in the evening. On Sunday change suit and repeat.

    Also lucky to only live 2.5 miles away from work. And the maximum speed is 35MPH so run with a baseball cap light, reflective body strip and rear clip-on red light which seems to make me adequately visible.
  • I'm basically doing your second option. It's 7 miles from home to work for me through London. I cycle Mon/Wed/Fri and run Tues/Thurs. When I cycle on Mon/Wed I take enough clothes for 2 days. I have a spare toilet bag at work with everything I need to freshen up - although we do have shower facilities so it does make life easier...

    You do have to be very organised and it can be a pain in the winter as I need to lug my coat back in on Wednesday's and Fridays.

    I'm like a backpacker - everything in plastic bags inside my rucksack for my ride to work. Nothing has got wet so far...

    It's a much better option than the tube though - takes 50 minutes door to door by public transport; 35 mins to cycle or an hour to run...
  • I combine running & biking. I bike to/from work and run 3 lunchtimes per week.
    I leave shoes at work always.
    Each Mon I take towel & trousers for the week.
    Every day I carry shirt & underwear.
    I could bring all shirts in on the Mon but I'm too unorganised.
    Carrying stuff on a bike is loads easier - I tried it whilst running & hated it.
    There is a shower at work too.

    BTW - keep emergency socks at work - if you forget your underwear you can always go commando but work shoes with no socks looks stupid!!!
  • I run to and from work...get the tube in Monday and drop off shoes and trousers, then carry my shirt etc in daily, similar to Kezz.

    Agree on the socks, also watch out for cufflinks, an emergency pair in your desk drawer never goes amiss!

    Nothing like the knowledge that if you skip a run home then you'll have to skip the next morning's - gives you more incentive :)
  • It all depends on how far you're gong to work, if it's an hours motorway drive then there's limited options
    1) Run at lunchtime and use wet wipes
    2) Run when you get home and have a late tea
    3) Early morning run (still unable to do those)
    4) Adopt more flexible working hours

    I'd stick with the option of changing job and congratualtions for prioritising health and life before work. Me? I'm london based but with a 2 hour commute !! But can nip off half way home and run along the Thames to get home ... beautiful!
  • Hi all

    another slant on this ...i take the train in stops at several stations on the way. So i can get off at one and run to the next ...different distances and terain depending on which one i get off at......for the committed you can turn it into a time trial and try and get to the destination station in time to catch the next train.

    Down side is you arrive hot and sweaty - some stations have a WC where you can wash in the sinks (can be a bit cold and nasty).
    Also not unheard of to get lost when trying a new route so have to be prepared to do a few extra miles.

    up side is that you get to run lots of different routes. Reduces the hours spent communting and maximises the time spent running. Makes a "base" run into a bit of an adventure

    Does take a bit of organising as you have to have the right kit in the right place at the right time.

    and yes I do feel a bit sorry fo the poor soul that has to sit next to me on the train (in fact if i'm v sweaty I'll just stand in the bit by the doors) ....for extra bonus points you can do your warm down stretches in the gangway of the train ...but I've never had the nerve to take it that far. !!

  • Aberford Mark,

    You should start a petition with the government about getting larger companies to provide shower facilities.

    Check out this site:

    The company I work for is somewhat sexist in that they have showers for men, but not for women!

    I'm now lucky enough to work from home but it would certainly annoy me a whole heap more if I was in the office all the time.
  • For what it's worth:

    Old job - 4 miles from work, urban area.
    I used to get the bus in and run home every day (with clothes etc on back in bag). I used to leave my work shoes under my desk; maybe a little odd. Sometimes I would cycle in and out, carrying stuff in paniers. There were no showers but I found a flannel did the trick.

    New job - 22 miles from work; I run in my lunchhour and am lucky to have a shower. But as I can only fit in 3 miles in my lunchhour, I am thinking of running part of the way home once it gets lighter. This would involve taking the train into work and then the train part of the way home, and then running the rest (leaving all my stuff in the office to take home another day).
  • ftm42ftm42 ✭✭✭
    Why not just take your running shorts/tights and shoes in, then run home in your work gear so you only have to carry a skirt/trousers home in a backpack? Won't look that odd if you add a light coat/cagoule over your jacket! So what if it all gets sweaty? You can put everything into the washing machine when you get home. As for suits, you really ought to have more than one in a working week then take them to the cleaners at the weekend!
  • I live over 50m from work. I keep a suit in the office plus shoes. When I want to run in I run 8m to the station with my shirt (rolled up - best way) pants and socks in a rucksack plus clean t shirt to change into on the train and use in evening. Use a shower at work but would go down the sink/wet wipes route otherwise.

    In the evening it's run back or cab depending how I feel. I don't do it much in the winter though - instead I drive to the gym, run to the station and run back at night. It's just a q of sorting the logistics out (and having more than one suit)!
  • Why not run home? Obviously you will need to minimiset stuff you carry (or like me get a friend to drop your bag off!). At least that way you can shower/bath at your leisure. If you don't fancy running for more than an hour or more - could you catch the bus/train to nearer home and then run - getting off bus/train earlier each week to lengthen the run?
  • My desk has trainers underneath, trousers in drawers and shirts on hangers dotted around the office.
    I usually cycle to work and run either at lunch or home. If i run at lunch then it's a strip wash in the disabled toilet!!! If i run work then i'm lucky as where i park my bike, a council bike shop cum bike park, and i'll have a shower there.
    Running home means it's either the bus or run in the next morning. Its usually the former!!
    Go to work one day with enough clothes for at least 2 days. If you need a rucksack get a decent one with all the straps and support.

  • Until a few months ago I worked 3 miles from home and would often run into work.

    To be honest I found it really complicated, making sure that the right shoes, clothes, clean towel etc were in the right place.
    I actually had to draw diagrams to work out where everything would be each day!!
    I don't mind running to work in the rain, but hated putting the wet kit on again in the evening, so would always take extra running gear with me.
    Anyway, enough moaning - it was definitely worth all the hassle - the day started well, got my exerise in, and could always find excuses to boast about it to workmates!

    Now I work much further away and have to run before work, so was up at 5:15 this morning to run an hour. Not so much fun!
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