Perfecting the lunch run aka “runch”

One of my favorite times to run is actually during lunch, what I affectionately call “runch”.  I have a different kind of work schedule and like a lot of you many responsibilities when I get home at night.  So when I started my marathon training I knew getting my runs in would mean some creative thinking.  Having done this now for 16+ weeks (long story and a lack of math skills on my end), I have become a bit of an expert in the “runch” and wanted to share how to successfully do a run at lunch.

Prep- pack your gear the night before; this isn’t new to you if you do a lot of long runs early in the morning or a lot of races.  Being the planner I am I always set out my stuff for the next day anyway, this is just a continuation of the behavior.

Gear- there are certain things you want to make sure you have to run during the day and then go back to work, you not only need to have your running clothes and shoes, but also a few personal care items.  Deodorant (I get a little travel size one), fresh underwear, a towel, and some baby wipes.  With those on hand you can freshen up just fine after the run and not offend coworkers or clients.  For ladies, a hair tie is a great option to have as well if your hair isn’t already up that day.  I find I can get my bangs to look okay, but need to put my windblown hair up after a run.

Time/route- make sure that you have enough time for your run, plan for enough time to change before and after as well as the cleanup.  I know the type of pace I need to keep and want to keep for my shorter runs so this allows me to manage my time without going  over my lunch hour.  For the route I took time to get familiar with the neighborhood and safe paths or streets to take as well as how to get my mileage in without going too far away from the office in case of an emergency.  Personally I can safely get 4 miles done during my lunch hour and still have time to get cleaned up and eat.

Food- it may sound silly, but your lunch hour is for eating and since you just ran 1-5 or more miles you have to refuel for proper recovery.  If you haven’t picked up on it, during my marathon training I am finding that I am starving most of the time anyway, I can’t imagine trying to go without eating after I run.  I pick easy to fix and ready to eat things on the days I am doing my lunch runs.  Either simple reheated meals or sandwiches are perfect as well as prepared veggies.  I also make sure that I have something to snack on later in the day should I still be hungry.

Hydration- I don’t usually carry water with me on my shorter runs anymore, but I need to make sure that I don’t get dehydrated so I make sure that I drink plenty of water before and after my run.  If you are just starting or it is a particularly warm day make sure you can take some water with you even if it is just carrying a small bottle of water.

Weather- finally I always check the weather ahead of time.  Out here in the desert spring time means nasty winds (20+ miles an hour) and dust/sand.  I already have allergy issues so if it is too windy then it will mean I will have to modify my running plans for the week.  It will also start to get too hot pretty soon, so unless I have a way to run indoors my “runches” will have to stop.  Having adjusted to the weather in the desert I can run midday for a while if I take hydration with me, but I pay attention to my hydration and how I am feeling to help gauge that as well.

Being able to run at lunch has a lot of time saving advantages when you have a busy home life and a lot of responsibilities.  The other big advantage for me is the stress relief during the day.  I don’t have the worlds most stressful job, but like anyone else there are days when I am already stressed when I get to work and being able to actively let go of stress during the day has helped my mental health a great deal.

If you have done a run at lunch or another workout what are your must have items to make it successful?


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pamela Hernandez (@ThriveFit)
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 14:32:55

    Runch. I like it. I’ve heard of people “planting” water on their runs.


  2. sarahkerner
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 04:09:13

    I love runch! Your tips are great. It can be a bit of a hassle to pack all that stuff if you’re not used to it, but once you get in the habit it’s like second nature.


  3. Toni Church (@tonee78)
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 15:11:40

    When I worked in a doctors office many moons ago I always took “runch”. Now I actually walk because as a nurse I never know how much time I will actualy have for breaks. Great tips on how to runch!


  4. Suzanne Digre (@WorkoutNirvana)
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 15:39:34

    So much great info! Your blog is a great resource for runners and general fitness 🙂


  5. shiramiller
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 04:57:25

    Great advice for runners and anyone looking to exercise in the middle of their work day. I’m one of those super sweaty exercisers, so whenever I take a spin class at lunch or do something else, I have to leave class a bit early to get in a quick shower.


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