Run Commute

Max and I moved out of Cambridge for a couple of months this winter to save money while Max was in between PhD and Post Doc jobs. Some awesome friends via the Cambridge Tri Club took us in, meaning we were now a good distance from our offices. It made perfect sense then to get our weekday training in during our commute and lunch breaks. Below I have outlined out routines and gear.

Stacey’s Commute

Stacey aimed to run home 3 times a week and run at lunch twice a week (46km), though this in reality rarely happened and 2 run commutes and 1 lunch run (29km) were more common. Stacey would get lifts into work on run home days and then cycled to and from work twice a week (48km by bike). By choosing only to run home meant she did not have to worry about times or showering at work.

Distance per run commute leg: 12km.

Average time: 1hr 10mins.

Frequency: Run home 2 times per week.

Stacey runs in:

  • Un-branded light weight running ruck sack approx. 10litres.
  • Head torch.
  • Rear back pack light and reflector.
  • long sleeve Mountain Warehouse top.
  • Nike shorts.
  • New Balance trainers.
  • Calf compression sleeves .
  • Merino wool hat.
  • Garmin Phoenix 3 watch.

Stacey packs:

  • Inhaler.
  • water.
  • valuables – keys, credit card, £5 note, phone.
  • Rolled up work clothes (normally leave spare skirt, tights, shoes and towel in the office).
  • Lunch box.
  • Running fluorescent rain coat with removable sleeves.
  • Batteries.

Max’s Commute

Max took a rather more drastic approach to run commute distances and had a completely unrealistic goal of running to AND from work EVERY day (150km – yes I laughed in his face when he told me this). In reality Max cycled in Monday to carry in a weeks worth of clothes and his laptop and then cycled home. Next day he would cycle in and run home. Max’s week alternated like this so that he ran 60km and cycled 90km per week. Every odd week he did manage a day where he ran to and from work. Max inevitably obtained an overuse injury (posterior tibial tendonitis) and had to take 3 weeks off running.

Distance per run commute leg: 15km.

Average time: 1hr 10mins.

Frequency: Runs either to or from work 4 times per week.

Max runs in:

  • Salomon Agile 12 running ruck sack.
  • Head torch.
  • Rear back pack light and reflector.
  •  Any T shirt.
  • Salomon wind breaker.
  • Nike shorts or Stacey’s Sweaty Betty 10k tights (they are too long for Stacey!).
  • Brooks Pure Cadence 2 trainers.
  • Flourescent wool hat.
  • Suunto ambient 3 watch.

Max packs:

  • Inhaler.
  • valuables – keys, credit card, £5 note, phone.
  • Rolled up shirt (normally leave spare jeans, shoes and towel in the office).
  • Lunch box.
  • Emergency energy bar (sometimes homemade).
  • Batteries


We both loved our run commutes and found it a great way to de-stress after work and get into a great frame of mind before work to have a productive day.

Stacey found running to work stressful with having a fixed start time meaning she did not have the option to change pace or rest on the way in, plus showering at her work is a bit of a pain. Lunch runs are ideal and Stacey pays £4 a month to use the sport centre changing room. At lunch Stacey runs 5km with a colleague twice a week. Stacey actually prefers to run in the dark, now its light on the commute home she gets really angry with people honking at her as she runs home.

Max has learnt that even though run commute was time efficient and allowed him to switch off effectively after work, he found his quality of training was sacrificed. This was due to the long distances he had to run and being without the option to get lifts in. Having a better routine and more rest days are needed for Max, which will be easier to implement when they both move back to Cambridge.

Both Max and Stacey are keen to keep up the run commute as part of their weekly routine and training.

Final tips!

  • Know where all the shops as are on you route.
  • Always carry spare torch batteries, especially if like us you run on unlit cycle/pedestrian paths.
  • You need to wear a hat with a head torch, otherwise it falls into your face.


3 thoughts on “Run Commute

  1. Christof Schwiening says:

    Run commuting is great, and 150km per week is not unreasonable if the build in intensity is realistic and smooth. I notice that Max did a massive effort on the 27 Jan (16km at 4:20 per km). Was this the tipping point? Quality run commutes require slowing appropriately and will provide good improvements to fitness which match anything that can be achieved with other faster sessions. I strongly recommend tracking intensity over time and avoiding spikes in intensity until a stable routine has been established. I hope that Max can work his way back towards 150km per week but it is going to require running slowly.


    • Max Holloway says:

      Hi Christof. Thanks for your comment. The injury was picked up after a run on the 11 Feb; not an exceptional pace or distance (14.5 km at 4:48/km) but it was my first hilly(ish) run in a while and it came two days after a large run commute day (28 km at 5:00/km). I am still struggling to shake off the injuries sustained during my PhD write-up (stress doesn’t help the body heal!) but I will be taking more account of terrain in future and hope to build my milage again soon.


  2. wayrunning says:

    Thanks Christof for the comment and really like the advice on monitoring intensity. I have to add that this was only our weekday running and cycling training and does not include strength, swimming and weekend running! Max went from 30 miles per week to 70 very quickly. I will get him to comment on this later though. We went to your talk and throughly enjoyed hearing about your philosophy and science!


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