The Ladies That RUNch

Posted on Updated on


Some time ago over on Twitter the hashtag #RUNch was created for telling the world you were running on your lunch break. I always thought it was clever and give big props to whoever started it. After being laid off last spring I decided the opportunity to run at lunch was a must in my employment search and asked about it (however odd interviewers may have thought it was) when talking with prospective employers. Thankfully one agency did not find it that weird and I now have a job that lets me run on my lunch. This new magical time I have found has gotten me talking about it more and seeking out others who RUNch. It turns out this is a particular challenge for women in the workplace because there is a lot more societal pressure on us to look “put together” at work. Hair, make-up and non-rosie cheeks ALL go out the window on a run. For me I do not wear make-up, do my hair or really “dress up” for work. I work in Social Services in a business casual environment. See..


The first question I get asked about RUNching is: do I have access to a shower? Nope. I find baby wipes and deodorant go a long way and so far have had no complaints about my odor. I also find dressing in layers the days I run to work well. That way after my run I’m not stuck in a sweater if I’m hot. As far as a red face goes it is part of the territory. No one usually minds except you. If anything your co-workers will be jealous you are such a BAD ASS! Running at lunch does take some planning like packing your gear the night before and preparing/planning food for pre and post run. During active training periods depending how flexible your lunch time is and how fast you are you may also need to plan to RUNch on a day that fits your training plan. For me right now that is Monday’s because I am always scheduled a 3-4 mile easy run and Tuesdays because those are usually 4-5 mile speed workouts. (I am currently training to run Ragnar Chicago with an Ultra (6 person) team using a modified version of the Train Like A Mother Own It Marathon plan from the ladies at Another Mother Runner) *I wonder if SBS and Dimity RUNch????*

Rather then have you take my word that you too can RUNch I asked other ladies that RUNch to provide their story and advice on how to make it work.

Sue Spaight of :

So you asked for thoughts on running/exercising at lunch and ideas for getting back into “work mode.” Here are some thoughts.

For me, the key to fitting it in – and getting back to work in a reasonable amount of time and (hopefully) without looking like a total mess – is to keeping my routine as simple and predictable as possible. I always pack my gear bag the night before, so there’s less of a chance I’ll forget critical stuff like socks, deodorant, or headphones…though all of those things have happened. So I have learned to keep extra deodorant *everywhere* – in my desk drawer and sometimes even in my car – just in case. It probably helps that I’m not a “fussy” girl to begin with, and work somewhere relatively relaxed (an ad/marketing agency). Ideally, there’s at least time for a quick post-run rinse in the shower but, well…not always. Some people might find that completely disgusting, but if it comes down to getting my workout in and not showering, or skipping my workout, I’m getting my workout in and dealing with the aftermath. So whether after a shower or if there isn’t time for the shower, I just dry off, dry/fix my hair as best I can, put on extra deodorant and maybe, maybe throw on some lip gloss so I look semi-put-together. Then I sit as far away from people in meetings the rest of the day as possible (ha!). For the kind of person who’s super-fussy about hair and makeup, running at lunch is probably not ideal; for me, at least, it does require a total “low maintenance” approach.

Beth of  Living This Life:

I run during work hours, leaving my desk around 10:30 a.m. and returning to my desk much more cheerful and agreeable (also with lunch) around noon.  This allows me to get in between 3 and  6 mile run three or four times a week.  This time works best for me because the folks I work with are based in Manhattan and I am in Groton CT. The folks I work with really don’t get their work day started until after 10 and by 2 p.m. they are in full work mode.    By 10 I’ve put in at least 3 hours and am ready for a break!  When I get back to my desk energized and ready to take on what the afternoon of meetings or project work has in store!   Yes, I do have a shower available, as well as a full gym with a treadmill – I run outside, no matter the weather!

Christina “Muffin” Roberts of Muffin’s Madness

muffinAs a full-time working mom of two young girls, getting up at 4 am to squeeze in a decent training run isn’t always possible for me.  Thankfully, my office building is adjacent to our company gym, so there are virtually no excuses to work out over lunch.  My schedule doesn’t permit me to ‘gym-it’ every day, but I do bring a bag stocked with clothes, shoes, deodorant and make-up if something changes.  Part of my morning routine includes packing a healthy lunch and my gym bag.  If I didn’t go to the gym the day prior, I’ll leave my bag in the car overnight and that’s one less thing I have to worry about in the morning. Because my lunch is an hour long, I try to squeeze in a few miles (on average: three) with enough time to stretch before hitting the locker room. If I am training for a longer distance race, I will run twice in one day: few miles in the early am at home and a few miles over lunch. If needed, I’ll use a gym hand towel to dry off before getting dressed.  If I really pushed it, I’ll splash some cold water on my face and use a damp towel to ‘freshen up’.  After taking a cool blow dryer to my hair, I apply deodorant, some mascara and a little body spray before walking out the door. I use the time it takes to walk back to my building (outdoors) as a cool down.  The fresh air relaxes me and resets my mind to tackle the rest of the day.


 – Put aside two ‘go-to’ gym outfits that don’t go back into your regular workout clothing circulation.  They’ll always be ‘on-hand’ in a pinch.

– Have a pair of sneakers ‘dedicated’ to your gym bag.  You’ll never have the excuse of ‘I forgot my shoes’.

– Always have a second set of your must-have make up products.  This way you won’t have to worry about leaving your mascara at home or your blush in your cold car overnight.

– Do a full clean out of your gym bag over the weekend.  Check your deodorant stash and other personal hygiene products.  Replenish if necessary.

– Make extra food for dinners.  While packing up the leftovers, put some aside for your next day lunch.  This saves you an extra step in the morning.

Debbie at: Also Ran

Ah, the inertia of my Herman Miller Aeron office chair.  The prospect of leaving my desk in the middle of the work day is as as daunting to consider as the laws of physics themselves.  But the benefits breaking into a run,and out of inertia altogether far exceed the mere enjoyment of getting moving. I started running at lunch to get out of a rut with my comfortable pace runs.  You can’t flip through fitness magazine without an article admonishing you to do intervals.  But trying do all that timing was a total failure. I thought a street grid could simplify things for me.

My office in Boston’s Back Bay is adjacent to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a tree-lined linear park that links the historic Boston Common with the Emerald Necklace park system. The wide pedestrian path is intersected about every 200 yards by streets named, in alphabetical order, from A to G. I warm up and position myself heading west at Arlingston St.  I run as fast as I can to Berkley St., cross, then jog slowly to Clarendon St.,cross, then run fast again and continue the pattern to Gloucester and thenall the way back to Arlington. Voila! Intervals for the uncoordinated.

With an added scenic loop around the pond in the Boston Public Garden the route is about three miles, which I can just fit in during lunch.  I love this because it not only gets me doing quasi-intervals, it’s also a good workout for limited time.

But what I really like about running at lunch has nothing to do with any training-like activity.I used venture outside mid-day very rarely. I’d be aghast at how many people were walking around apparently enjoying themselves.  Don’t they have jobs?  How do they have time for this? The mental break, the extra time to either process the demands of the work day or shut them out altogether, is really the best part of a lunch-time run.

me-sneaking-outSchedule challenges aside, getting suited up and outside is dicey.  There’s no changing room where I can leave my regular clothes.  The furtive shuffle between my desk and the ladies room when I’m in my running clothes feels like a walk of shame. It shouldn’t.My running skirt is essential.  It’s just another form of avoiding oversharing personal information at work. I don’t care to overshare my butt and thighs with my colleagues.

Then there’s getting inside.  Staying modestly covered is no help in the sweat department, and don’t even talk to me about hair.  But I’m well equipped. If there was a catastrophe, I could survive in my office for at least a week off of the extra clothes, toiletries, and bales of Kashi bars in my file drawer.I’ve also constructed a cubicle closet out of tension bars, binder clips and place mats so I can hang clothes to dry.

diy-cubicle-closetThe goal is to arrive at my next meeting with a smile and extra energy as the only signs that I’ve just come in from a run. I prepare as I would a triathlon transition zone.  I’ve got all my bags and bundles perfectly set up in my cube so I can just grab them and roll out in order…washcloth, towel, deodorant, comb, make up, etc. with precision and efficiency.  I also pile my regular clothes so that they are in order of what I will put on – undies on top, jacket on the bottom, jewelry tucked in a shoe.  You don’t forget to put your earrings back on if they are in your shoe.

Believe me.

So there you have it. If we can RUNch so can you. Try it once and just see if your boss isn’t amazed at how productive your afternoon is! What tips/suggestions do you have for women who want to RUNch? What keeps you from trying if you haven’t? 

Tighten those laces. LETS RUNch!!!

– Rachel


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s