This is the face I want to recreate at the Philadelphia Marathon in November. It's the face of victory. I wasn't the fastest Broad Street runner by far, but I finished. And I didn't finish last, so there's that. I trained hard for this race and I mean HARD. I ran 3-4 times a week, I cross trained with spinning and BodyPump classes, and I ate like a freakin' champ. But since then, I've made two attempts to train for a half marathon - the next logical step for a Type A weirdo who can't do anything if she's not outdoing herself - and both have failed. The reasons behind my failures were perfectly understandable so I'm not beating myself up over that. However, I am agonizing at how lax my training has been on this most recent attempt. I just can't seem to find the time to run. I know half the people who read this will say I'm not trying hard enough and the other half will say I shouldn't be so tough on myself. I've had to accept that I'm just not going to be that runner who gets up before dawn to go for daybreak runs and I'm too much of a workaholic to break midday to do it during lunch; evening runs are tough with two little kiddos to get to bed. I'm just trying to buck up and figure it out. I'm thinking the only way to guarantee that I get in a run is to try run commuting. It takes a good deal of prep, though, so I thought I'd share my plan and update later on how it worked.
Step One: Gear Up
This plan requires a few accessories to help make it happen. First, I need to be able to shower when I get to work, so I'll be setting up a basket in my office that has shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a brush, a hair dryer, and a flat iron (luckily I already have a spare Chi). For the runs, I purchased an Osprey Daylite running backpack to carry the few things that I need to have each day. I chose it because it has a waist strap that will keep it in place while I run, and it can also hold a hydration pack for my long weekend runs. I also got a Nathan Quick Draw hand-held water bottle for the weekday runs since I won't have the luxury of stopping for water along the way - these runs all have to happen within an hour.
Step Two: Prep
My current running schedule calls for three weekday runs and a long run over the weekend. My plan is to come in to work on Monday with three extra work outfits and shoes, a small laundry bag, and a clean towel. The dirty workout clothes and towel will go home with me on Fridays. This way, all I need to carry in the backpack is my wallet, iPad, and lunch.
Step Three: The Route
My weekday runs range from 3 miles to 5 miles and it's a little over 3 to get from my starting point to the office. I will run straight there on my short run days, but the 5 milers will require some creativity. My plan is to try running across the city, then up Kelly Drive, past the boathouses and back again in order to tack on some mileage. There are endless possibilities, though, and I'll need to switch up the route often in order to stay motivated. (I'm saving the Rocky Steps for when I really need a boost.)
Step Four: Yeah, that motivation thing
I am not gonna lie - motivation has certainly been a factor in this slow start. Between work, family, and other stuff, there are days when I just say, "Well, I don't want to run today." And on some of those days, I run anyway, only to remember the glorious high that comes at the end of the run. Runners' high is not a myth, y'all. When I slow to a strolling cool-down at the end of a run, I feel like a total warrior. I haven't been feeling that way very much in my daily life, so a reminder of my badassery is very much in order.
So there it is. My plan to become a three-day-a-week run commuter. Think I got a shot?