Lunchtime is tricky.
On one hand, it’s the time when most everyone can agree to take a break and get some relief from the workday. On the other hand, it’s still tempting to spend that time doing something fun like grabbing a bite with coworkers or something productive like sitting in front of a computer screen (perhaps spilling crumbs into your keyboard).
Regardless of what your day looks like, there are some great benefits to running in the middle of the day: You’ll jump-start your body right when that mid-day sluggishness often sets in. You can clear your head and reboot your brain, setting the stage for a productive afternoon. And maybe most valuable is the fact that you are getting up and away right when you probably need it most. Whether you work at home or in a cubicle or on top of telephone poles, stepping away from the usual scenery can do a world of good.
Whatever your motivation for trying out a lunchtime run, here are some tips for making it happen.
Make it a priority. Treat your run as seriously as you would a personal or professional commitment. Block the time off on your calendar. Let your significant other know the plan. Redirect any needed lunchtime commitments to days when you aren’t planning to run. If you think that is selfish,well…then be selfish.
Hit the showers (or something). Work at home? That one’s easy. On-site showers? Good for you. No reasonable facilities to speak of? Doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker! Just because you don’t have easy access to showers and a locker room doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to a lunchtime run. Some runners find they can freshen up adequately in the restroom at the office. It helps to build a nice long cooldown into your workout so you don’t finish up hot and dripping. After that, wipe down with a damp cloth, change your clothes (all of them…), and put on some deodorant. This isn’t going to work for everyone, but if your body can cool off and clean up without stinking up place all afternoon, then by all means take advantage.
If you can’t run, walk. Did all that DIY locker room talk just turn you off big time? That’s okay, it isn’t for everybody. But if you still want to get out and be active during lunch, a brisk walk can give you many of the mental and physical benefits of a sweaty run. Consider a walk. And to help both get you in the mood and protect your feet, keep a change of sneakers handy for the occasion.
Don’t forget to eat! Please don’t go for a walk/run during your lunch hour at the expense of your actual lunch. If you’re going to get your workout in, you probably aren’t going to have a lot of time to spare for a big meal. Still, be sure to plan ahead and get some nutrition into your system either before your workout or after. Pick quick, easy foods like yogurt and granola so that you can snag a late morning or early afternoon bite and get right back to business.
Hydrate. Last but not least, don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Get yourself a water bottle and hydrate throughout the morning and all afternoon long. If you’re typically a morning or evening runner, your body won’t be used to this shift in your routine. Be as prepared as you can by drinking frequently and consistently.
When do you like to run? Let us know and maybe we’ll write it up for our next edition of Time Slots.