“Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you / You must travel it for yourself.”

Walt Whitman.

While the rest of the world is putting chains on their cars, exhausting their furnaces, and thoroughly drying their hair so that it doesn’t freeze while walking to the subway, we in San Francisco are also lamenting our wintery weather.


This is a big deal here! The fact that we are moving into the 30s at night has the whole city wrapped in scarves and calling in sick. Saturday’s high temp is going to be 46 degrees for heaven’s sake! 

Seriously. I’m very fortunate to live in one of the most runner-friendly cities in the world. For weather, all joking aside, we’re talking goldilocks: never too unreasonably hot or too cold. The scenery and terrain are unstoppable: from scenic paths through the Marina Green and Golden Gate Park, to the urban landscapes of Chinatown and South Beach, the killer hills of Bernal and Twin Peaks, the glorious flats of the Mission and Ocean Beach. You can train and race and enjoy your runs every month of the year, exploring endless new courses with postcard backdrops. Spectacular!

One of the biggest perks? Well, right now it’s December and I can still comfortably commute by run! While the short days make it somewhat less attractive, this remains a great pleasure of mine. I feel like I’m somehow beating the system – freedom from trudging home on sardine-can public transportation, or getting stuck in freeway gridlock. I often run against the stream of commuters heading towards the train. I’m a salmon in Asics! See ya, suckers!

There are a multitude of resources offering tips and tricks to make your run commute smooth and successful. Interestingly, most of them suggest (or at least assume) that you’re running to work in the morning, but I find a sprint home much more convenient and enjoyable. There are logistical benefits (I don’t have to lug a bunch of papers and clothes on my back, I’m not all sweaty upon arrival…), but most of all I like the way that it eases the transition out of work-mode. It’s an especially contemplative kind of run. Sometimes when I begin I’ll be mulling over some problem or mentally rehearsing for tomorrow. But as I get closer and closer to home, my thoughts inevitably turn more domestic and personal. Sometimes I try not to think about much at all. Make it a tempo run and concentrate on even breathing and relaxing my shoulders and hands, and practice running with a more meditative mind. When I get home I’m happy, relaxed, and ready to reward my long hard day with a hot shower and a satisfying dinner.

Those mornings, I fill a backpack full of gear for my evening commute.  


In here you’ll find the following:

Running Shoes and Socks – duh.

Running clothes – double duh, but I will note that in the winter it’s important to wear something reflective and/or brightly colored. Safety, kids!

Flip belt – I love this thing. I’m a real minimalist when it comes to carting around accessories, and this magic strip of fabric makes me feel totally unencumbered while still getting me home with the essentials: keys, money, cards, and phone.

Inhaler – I’m asthmatic! Into the flip belt it goes.

GPS Watch (Optional – not pictured) – I have a Nike+ Sportwatch, but I rarely bother bringing it to work anymore. I just use the Nike app on my phone. I like having one less thing to think about when I pack up in the morning.

I leave my work clothes under my desk to take home the next day, and off I go!


For more info and suggestions, try:


Runner’s World April 2013: “The Run Commute”

The Runner’s Kitchen: A How-To Guide to the Run Commute

Happy commuting!


One thought on ““Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you / You must travel it for yourself.”

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s