Most mornings, while I wait for my public transport, I see a man who looks like he’s running to work. This evening I saw two more, running home.
I’m assuming they’re running to and from work because they each have a bag on their backs and are running at the morning or evening rush hour.
Whether or not these particular runners are actually commuting or not, running to and from work is a thing. You can even visit websites like The RunCommute or Running To Work for advice, gear and features for those who take the rush hour on foot.
You could see some benefits. It’s a direct and inexpensive way to get to work, without the stress of traffic jams or unreliability of public transport. You make the most of your time, especially if you run twice a day.
But running to work is still rare – and with good reason.
First of all, I wouldn’t fancy running with a backpack. For one thing, it must be uncomfortable and bad for your running posture, no matter how bespoke or well-fitting the bag is. Ultra-marathon runners may need to adapt to running with a camel-pack for their water, but any other runners don’t need them. (Water stations or a water bottle are sufficient for anyone doing a city marathon.)
Also, the logistics are a pain. Do you leave your work clothes in the office the day before, or do you bundle them into your backpack? And what if there isn’t a shower in your workplace?
Then there’s the quality of work. Are you really going to be in the form for an important presentation or boring meeting first thing in the morning, right after a run?
But for me the most compelling argument against the run commute is that it reduces running to something functional. I run for enjoyment, not because I have to get from point A to point B without being late. And I certainly don’t want my run to be part of my working day – it’s valuable time for me to unwind, switch off, clear out the mental detritus.
So, even while I’m squashed against my fellow commuters I have my run to look forward to. The work-run balance is sacred.