When you’ve got a busy schedule, finding the spare time to fit in a run can feel like a never-ending struggle. But if you’re working nine to five, using your lunch break to get out for a quick run is a great option. Running at lunch may sound tricky at first but, once you’ve got the basic organisation down, you’ll be hooked.
“But I’m too busy!” we hear you exclaim, horrified at the suggestion you might actually leave the office for your lunch break, rather than eating a tuna salad from your desk (again). But there is a wealth of research touting the physical benefits of getting away from your desk and moving more throughout the working day, not to mention a truck load of studies suggesting you’re more productive when you take your lunch break and get outside. So, without further ado, here’s our top tips for lunchtime running:
We can’t stress this enough: preparation is key. You can bring your kit in on the day you intend to run or keep a small kit bag under your desk with all your essentials: a comfortable running top, shorts or leggings, shoes, socks, spare hair bobbles, a sports bra, a wash bag containing the toiletries you’ll need for showering, your make-up bag and a towel.
Let’s face it, even in the middle of winter if you’re heading out for a run you’re going to get sweaty. So, if you don’t have access to a shower at work, it pays to plan your lunchtime runs on the days of the week when you don’t have an office-wide presentation or client meeting. (Obviously, you’ll freshen up before you get back to your desk but, still!)
When selecting clothes for your run days, try to pick items that are easy to change in and out of. Think loose and comfortable. Also, wear your sports underwear to work under your work clothes and pack your work-day bra and knickers to change into post-run. This will save a good deal of faff and changing time before you leave the office and add precious minutes to your run.
Have a high-carb snack and a coffee at elevenses to give you an energy kick before you head out. Rice cakes with peanut butter, a banana, a cereal bar or a handful of nuts and raisins are good options.
If your office is several floors up, use the jog downstairs as a pre-run warm up. If you’ve got time, try to work in a few dynamic stretches.
Once outside, heading to your nearest park is a great option, as it will ensure you don’t get lost – especially when you go out for the first time. Note that brisk recovery runs are well suited to lunchtime running because you avoid the sweatiness of hard intervals!
After you’ve run your circuit, take the stairs two or three at a time, slowly, using them as the perfect stretching platform. Continue the stretches while you wash and change.
No shower? No problem! All you need to do is bring a flannel and small towel into work. After your run, you’ll need to wet the flannel and soap it up, then use it to wipe away the sweat on your body and dry yourself with the towel. Now just change your clothes, retouch your make-up, give yourself a spritz with perfume and you’ll be feeling fresh in no time! Sorted.
You didn’t think we’d forget eating lunch, did you? On your return, after a big glass of water, it’s lunch al desko – higher protein this time, with some carbs thrown in, too – think sandwiches with tuna, egg or chicken. Throughout the afternoon, don’t forget to rehydrate and, if you can, try to get up every hour to have a surreptitious stretch in the ladies.
Now you can go home and relax…(maybe!)