Five things you need to turn your commute into an easy, efficient workout

Forget personal bests, just run to work

Ah, the plight of the begrudging runner. Our pace is more Clydesdale than thoroughbred; our gear more college tee than Lululemon; our mantra more breathless obscenities than “You go, girl!” affirmations. If it weren’t for the sweet rush of endorphins afterward—and perhaps an intractable fondness for beer and cheese— would we even run at all?

Allow me to present a solution for those of us who struggle daily to lace up the sneakers: forget running groups, personal bests and pretending you’re going to hit the treadmill at lunch. Just run to work.

I began hoofing it from home to office (or the other way around) eight years ago. It just made life easier. No more battling the noontime rush at the gym. No more knuckle-whitening traffic jams. And, to the certain benefit of my husband, no more whining that I never have time to work out.

Best of all? Run-commuting doesn’t require a whole lot of stuff ; a few key essentials (see below) and you’re more or less good to go. It does require a bit of planning. Unless you’re only running one way—i.e., home—you’ll need access to shower facilities at work, and some space to store shoes, toiletries and a towel (which you must take home to wash on the regular). Pay close attention when packing clothes for the workday, lest you, say, forget a shirt and find yourself scrambling to find a department store open at 8 a.m. (Pro tip: use the dry cleaner downstairs and keep a change of clothes at your desk.) And you need to accurately budget your time. Sprinting in five minutes before your first meeting is a wet way to start a day.

But once you get a routine down, running to work is simply a beautifully cheap, efficient and satisfying form of multitasking. Especially among those of us who would prefer a cold beer over a personal best any day.

What You’ll Need:

1. The Towel
“Nice towel!” said no one ever in response to the damp Egyptian cotton bath wrap hanging on the back of your chair. This lightweight anti-bacterial design from B.C. manufacturer Discovery Trekking ($30) dries in a hurry, so you can put it away.

2. The Shoes
Shoes are so personal, it’s best to get fitted at a running retailer. But the 890v4 model from New Balance Toronto ($140) look great, get great reviews and dry quickly. (After all, the pong of wet sneaker won’t win you any office popularity contests.)

3. The Shirt
Consider swapping stink-trapping Lycra-poly blends for light, breathable Merino wool. Yes, wool. The Argo long-sleeved tee from Mountain Equipment Co-op ($60) is a technical quantum leap from your great-grandma’s swim bloomers: warm in winter, cool in summer and moisture-wicking.

4. The Backpack
It should fit snugly, be waterproof and have just enough space for your wallet, clothes and a few other items. Also, you may have to carry this thing around in polite society on occasion, so yeah, looks are important too. Ronhill’s Vizion 20-litre pack ($70) fits the bill.

5. The Laundry System
A bag full of sodden workout gear makes for a smelly bacterial playground. There are odourmasking compression sacks available, but Mountain Equipment Co-op’s five-litre Pack Rat sac ($8.75) does as good a job keeping the stink in as it does keeping water out.