June 2011 edit: If you are interested in run commuting, stop by The Run Commuter to learn more including techniques, gear reviews, route planning, personal anecdotes, etc.


I’m not sure why I started running to work.  I think it was kind of a Forrest Gump thing:

“Now you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but I could run like the wind blows.  From that day on, if I was ever going somewhere, I was running!”

Don’t let the skinny fool you though – I definitely don’t “run like the wind.”  Who wants to get to work as fast as possible anyway?

So after about two years of bike commuting, I changed my shoes and hoofed it in one day.  Winded and walking after about a mile, I pondered crossing the street and catching that MARTA bus coming up behind me.   The Ole 71.  Ole Smoky.  The Old Man…  But, I had calculated this puppy prior to pushing off.  It takes the same amount of time for me to run to work than it would by taking transit. So, I let it roll by and have let it pass me by pretty much every time since that first run.

The immediate issue when I started run commuting was sweating.  It’s a 3 1/2 mile run in and I start sweating around the end of mile 1 no matter what temperature it is outside.  My office has no showers either.  I decided that my best bet would be to take a shower before I leave home and get a fan to stand in front of once in my office.  This has actually worked fine year-round.  I keep a few extra personal hygiene items in my desk to freshen up once I have cooled down.  Some other run commuters I’ve talked with suggested using baby wipes for a post-run rub down (just like the army days :o)

My second issue was clothing.  My office dress code is business casual and occasionally I’ll have to wear the full suit/tie, lordamercy combo (not a fan.)  I pick out an outfit every morning, iron it and then fold it up and bring it with me.  I also try and keep a jacket and dress pants hanging in my office for those fun days when I have to wear them.

Another suggestion is to drive all your clothes in on Monday, run Tuesday through Thursday and then drive everything back home on Friday.  For me, this solution would make great sense if I had a longer commute (5+ miles each way,) but so far, running the clothes in each day has been great.

My newest issue since being car-free has been stuff for Everett.  When I leave work at the end of the day, I’m either running straight home (if the grandparents are watching him at our place) or to daycare to pick him up.  If I pick Everett up, we take the bus.  On the bus, there is always a chance Everett will flip out, so we have a Flip-Out Bag (mentioned earlier here.)  Contents: Two diapers, wipes, kleenex, something to drink, trail mix and a book.

All of this has to come with me in a nice, waterproof package.

For a backpack I use an Osprey Revo.  It’s lightweight, has a waist strap to keep bouncing down and has good carrying capacity, but it is not waterproof.  Enter the Ikea bag.  Here’s the whole setup:

L to R, top to bottom: Backpack, Ikea Bag, Coffee, Gloves, Sunglasses, Work Clothes, Keys, Small Wet Weather Bag (cellphone, wallet, flash drives), Work ID, Hats, Compass, Bus Schedule, First Aid Kit, Dry Socks, Tazer, Mp3 Player (not shown: Everett's Flip-Out bag)

It weighs between 8 and 15 pounds, depending on what I’m wearing and if I bring a lunch or not.  It took about a week to get used to the extra weight.  After that, I don’t even feel it anymore.

If it rains (like Friday morning – holy crap!), everything goes into the Ikea bag and then in my main compartment.  Best wet weather bag ever.

A compass, you ask?  Yes, it has stayed in there ever since a couple of months ago when Kyle Torok and I started running the Beltline on the weekends.

A tazer?  Yes.  Explained in another post.  Maybe.

But what does it all look like together?

Like I just got attacked by a Goodwill store (which does occasionally happen.)

Whatever.  Everett doesn’t judge me…