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Running to work

Running to work

Running is the perfect way to get active – it’s free and you can start right outside your door! You can do it as little or as often as you like and fit it around your busy schedule.

The number of people choosing to run to or from work as an alternative mode of transport has nearly tripled in the last two years. If you want to try running to work, read our tips to get started:

Couch to 5k

If you need a base level of fitness before you try to run your commute, try the Couch to 5k running plan – developed to help absolute beginners get into running. Couch to 5k works because it starts with a mix of running and walking, to gradually build up your fitness and stamina.

Where to run

How far you go depends on your level of fitness. When you are just starting out, it is advisable not to try to run further than you could walk.

The route you run may not be the same as the route you would drive or even cycle. It may not always be the shortest route, but perhaps the least hilly or the one with the best views. You should also take into account additional considerations such as the surface underfoot.

Use a running journey planner like Map My Run to map your journey to work and find out the time, distance, elevation and calories burned. It is a good idea to practice the route in advance and leave plenty of time to arrive, including time to run or walk at a lighter pace towards the end, so you start to cool down.

When to run

You might not run both ways. Taking public transport to work and then running back home means that no shower is required at work. You could bring in clothes for the week on Monday in preparation for running to work the rest of the week.

What to take 

Some people don’t like running with a pack, in which case a bum bag for essentials like keys and wallet is a great alternative. An airflow backpack will be preferable to avoid getting too hot. A hip belt will also help to keep the backpack in place.

What to wear

You don’t need to wear head-to-toe fitness gear, but it will be lighter and more practical. Look for wicking fabrics (which transfer moisture away from your skin) and outer layers with vents. An outer layer which can be packed down into its own pocket is useful if you get too hot and want to remove it.

A good pair of running shoes will help you to avoid injuries. Make sure you have a head torch and reflective clothing if you are running after dark.


  • Take public transport to and run back home from work – no shower at work required
  • Walk for the last 1km to start to cool down before you arrive at work
  • Use a basin for a flannel wash
  • Ask at a nearby gym whether you could pay to use their shower. Some gyms have shower only memberships
  • Use dry shower products or wet wipes

Running for leisure 

Want to commit to running regularly but need that extra drive? Joining a running club is the perfect way to keep motivated.

Most clubs have running groups for different levels, including beginners. Clubs are also a great way to find running partners to run with outside of club sessions and socialise with. Run Together is the national body for running. Use their website to find a local running group or route.

Park Run is a free timed 5km running event that takes place every Saturday morning in countries all over the world. Register once, then turn up and take part wherever you want, whenever you want.