Running at Work

Since May this year I’ve been leading a running group at my work. We run once a week at lunchtime for about 30 minutes. It’s a great opportunity to be social with people from different departments, as well as the benefits of a mid-day run.

So I thought I’d write a few tips about running at work.

There are enormous benefits to running during your lunch hour at work. You get to have a pick me up half way through the day, you feel more energised in the afternoon and, especially if you are training, you get to add sneaky extra miles to your week. If you have wondered about running at work during your lunch break but thought it might just be too much of a faff here are my top tips, and it’s all about planning.

Plan your lunch hourI’m the type of person who has always taken a lunch hour. It’s in my contract so I take it. I don’t like working through nor eating at my desk. It doesn’t improve my productivity, it just makes me tired!

However, I know some people don’t take their allocated break so if you are the type of person who is inclined to work through your break make sure you plan your run into your day. This can be as easy as telling your colleagues “I am going for a run today”.

Choose a day where you know you don’t have meetings either side of the lunch hour so you aren’t worried about being late or turning up to a meeting all hot and bothered.

Plan your runWork out where you are going to run before you run. I’ve found a 30 minute run is a good effort and leaves enough time to change and just about have a bite to eat afterwards.
I use mapometer to plot a route before hand. With the group I run with I know we can do 3 miles in 30 minutes so I plan accordingly and so should you. If you are a faster runner or want to add some speed sessions think about that when you plot your route.

In some places, especially if you work on an industrial estate or in a remote area, you may have to drive somewhere before you can run safely. However, it is surprising how many footpaths there are and the Ordnance Survey maps can help you find those hidden routes. They even have maps to download to your phone just in case you are worried about getting lost on the move.

Plan your clothesThis is both your work clothes and running clothes.

Make sure you are wearing something that is comfortable and easy to change from, it’ll save time! You might not have a choice if you wear a uniform or safety clothes for work but you can do things like wear your running top underneath your overalls or wear your sports bra in the morning so you don’t have to change everything.

For your running clothes I find making sure I have everything packed the night before really helpful. It saves time in the morning and I’m less likely to forget to take it!

Plan your changeNot every workplace has a shower facility or changing room so you are most likely to have to change in a toilet cubicle.

Changing before a run isn’t so much of a problem as changing afterwards. When you come back you may be hot, sweaty or, if it has been raining, drenched! So think about taking a small towel, some wet wipes and deodorant to get you dry and fresh.

planyourlunchThis is very important! You don’t want to be hungry all afternoon.

If you usually buy your lunch make sure you buy something in the morning or the day before. For a 30 minute run I plan 45 minutes in total to include changing clothes etc which only leaves 15 minutes for eating. Even if you have a staff canteen you may have to queue and it doesn’t leave you much time to eat.

So I would suggest either a packed lunch or buy something in the morning. I usually make a sandwich on running days as it is easier and quicker to eat than a pasta bowl or a salad. I would also recommend having something like a banana or a flapjack for a mid-afternoon snack just in case the running makes you feel peckish. You could also try my marmalade oaty slices (scroll down past the soup!), they definitely keep you going.

Let me know if you have any extra tips to add, especially on getting hair to look presentable without a hairdryer after being soaked by rain!

  • Runnin Rocker

    Nice meeting you though Blog Hop! That’s great that you can run during the day instead of having to run before or after work. Before might be too early and after maybe too dark. I could only do it if I were allowed to wear a running cap back to work after lunch though. The Shower Pill is a great towelette – it cleanses the entire body! Happy running and have a great weekend!

    • Nicola

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look into the Shower Pill.

  • Sam Sly

    Great ideas especially during the Winter when it gets dark so much earlier. I wish I knew about the presentable hair thing. I sometimes swim in a university pool where there are no working plugins in the locker room for a hair dryer. (At least not that I have found). I use a microfiber towel to blot moisture then leave-in conditioner and a wide tooth comb to get rid of the tangles and just go with it. If it is really cold I put a beanie on (but that results in hat hair the rest of the day). It looks okay when dry (if I don’t wear a beanie), but not as good as a nice blowout.

    • Nicola

      Good idea about a microfiber towel and leave in conditioner. I usually plait my hair but it gets frizzy when I unplait it. I think headscarves might be the way forward!

  • Rachel @

    These are fantastic tips!! I work from home now but when I used to work in the Corporate world, I would definitely try and sneak in a workout during my lunch break, too! :)

    • Nicola

      I work from home one day a week and find it much more relaxing. I can usually work a run or a workout into my day at home and feel much more energised.

  • Debra @HappyRunningSole

    Great post! I teach, so we don’t have a lunch hour, but I can see where it would break up your day and leave you feeling more energized the tackle the afternoon tasks.

    • Nicola

      I always thought teachers would have some sort of break, just to clear the mind if nothing else!

  • lisarunsforcupcakes

    This sounds fantastic. I only have a half an hour for lunch but I workout immediately after I get finished. I can see how it would be really nice to break up your day with a run!

    • Nicola

      It definitely breaks up the day and I enjoyed getting a few extra miles in when I was training for my half marathon this summer.

  • Confessions of A Mother Runner

    I love that you have a lunch time run group! I’ve made some of my best friends in my running group

    • Nicola

      Running groups are great. I’m in three!

  • Amber

    These are great tips! When I worked as a medical assistant I loved getting out for a walk or run at lunch, it re-energized me and seemed to brake the day into 2 halves which makes the day go much faster! (I’m a personal trainer now so my schedule is much more flexible) One tip that I read a while back for your hair was to use dry shampoo on the roots and then a light blow dry (yes still uses a blow drier) but it does work well and you are just perking up the roots 😉

    • Nicola

      Oh dry shampoo, that’s a great tip. Perhaps using a hand drier…. I’ll have to try that out.

  • Kristen (amindfullmom)

    Nicola, these are great tips for running at lunch break. I find I work out best in middle of day–helps with my overall performance all day long.

    • Nicola

      Me too. Mid-day or early evening works for me. I think my bones need to wake up a bit first!

  • Pascal Brugman

    Hi Nicola,
    my breaks on work arent that long.
    Then i am happy when i can have

    • Nicola

      I know some people only have a short lunch break, enough just to eat some food! I think these tips would work well if you decide to run as soon as work finishes.

      • Pascal Brugman

        So true ,but i prefer to run in the evening or run on a free day .

  • Runaway Bridal Planner

    Awesome! If I had a job where I took a lunch hour I would totally love to run on my lunch break. Years ago when I worked for other places, I really should have taken advantage of that!
    Love your tips and suggestions too! I agree if you were to plan it out, and prepare in advance not only would you be more likely to do it. But you’ll be able to have everything you need before and after to get it done and not come back feeling like a sweaty hot mess, but instead just an awesome I just went for a run feeling!

  • Marcia

    I no longer work outside the home but I think it would be awesome to take a break and get out for a run. I’ll bet you’re more productive in the afternoon too! Great tips!

  • Runwright

    Yesterday, I wrote about making time to run during daylight and the lunch time run was one of my suggestions. Imagine my pleasure at finding your post in the same vein. Check out my write up at
    Keep on pounding out those lunchtime miles.

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