How to run during your lunch break

What to wear, how long to run for, and what to do after you’ve finished your lunch break run.

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There are many benefits to running during your lunch hour. Not only is it a great way to destress during the workday, split up your day, and get a kick of endorphins mid-afternoon, it’ll have you feeling refreshed and ready to be productive once the clock strikes one.

Likewise, running during your lunch break is great for those with busy schedules. If you often find yourself with no time to train or run in the evening after work, running during your lunch hour may just be what you’ve been looking for. 

If you do find yourself tight for time, we also recommend looking into running in the morning or even run commuting or cycling to work. This is another great way to get your workout in first thing. 

Related: 9 Tips to help you become a morning runner.

However, back to running during your lunch break! Chances are you have a few burning questions: What should you wear? How long should your run be? Should you run with co-workers? Do you need to shower? These questions and more will be answered in this article.

1. Packing your kit 

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Knowing what to wear (both to work and to run in) can be a difficult decision, especially first thing before the coffee’s kicked in and you’re still a little wobbly. Therefore, we recommend packing your running kit the night before. We’ve provided a basic list of kit you may wish to pack below:

  • Running shorts/leggings
  • Long/short-sleeved running t-shirt
  • Running trainers
  • Athletic/running socks
  • GPS running watch
  • Deodorant
  • Dry shampoo
  • Towel
  • Brush/comb
  • Soap
  • Sports bra

Furthermore, it’s also worth keeping some cold weather running gear in your bag at all times – especially during winter. You don’t want anything interrupting your run, or worse your run to be so cold you can’t concentrate for the rest of the day. 

Related: 9 Essential winter running gear items for men.

Related: 9 Essential winter running gear items for women.

2. How long should you run for during your lunch break? 

Ultimately, this depends on how long you have available. However, we’ll work with the popular one-hour time slot given to most. 

If you can sneak off five to ten minutes early, that’s great – this will give you a little extra time to get changed without eating into your run. However, if not there’s no need to worry. With your running kit packed, head for either the office changing rooms (if you’re lucky to have these) or alternatively a bathroom stall. Put on your running gear, lace-up, and head for the door. 

Let’s say getting ready takes you between five and ten minutes. This leaves you with fifty-minutes to get in your run, get cleaned up, and get changed. Therefore, aiming for a solid 30-minute run is the ideal time. Not only is this sufficient time for a high-quality run, sweat, and endorphin rush, this leaves you plenty of time to get back to your desk, cleaned up, and even a chance to replenish those calories before you’ve got to dive back into that work.

3. What to do after you’ve finished your lunch break run

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Chances are you’re going to want to clean up following your run. If you have access to shower facilities, great, if not, don’t fear! An alternative to showering is a good old fashioned sink wash.

Bring a towel, some soap, some dry shampoo, deodorant, and hair product and you’ll have yourself glammed up and maybe even looking better than before. You can also use disposable wipes – you’d be surprised how handy they come in.

Finally, if you have time we recommend getting in a quick meal. Making and packing your lunch the night before is ideal and will save time. Quick and easy meal ideas include: 

  • Ham and salad sandwich
  • Pasta
  • Rice, chicken, and veg
  • Wraps

If you’re short on time and cannot get a meal in, we advise eating a bigger breakfast and eating during a short break which you may have a little earlier in the day. As well as this, bring a few snacks such as a fruit, a protein bar, or a smoothie to indulge in post-run. Likewise, be sure to drink plenty of water following your run, keeping you hydrated, productive, and focused on the task at hand.

Related: How to recover after a run or race.

4. Should I run with my co-workers? 

Running during your lunch break is a great way to meet or befriend co-workers. This can be especially useful if it’s a new job, a great way to break the ice and gain the name of the ‘lunch runner’ in the office – believe us, there are worse nicknames to have!

If possible, try and find a co-worker at a similar pace, however, if not don’t worry. Some days though you may wish to up the pace and grind out those miles, especially if you’re doing the bulk of your training during your lunch hour.

Finally, if you’re looking for a running partner, we recommend checking out another one of our blog posts with nine tips on getting a friend to start running. 

5. Alternatives to running during your lunch break

If your schedule is hit or miss and you cannot train at a given time each and every day, you may be curious as to other convenient times to fit in a run or training session. Personally, we highly recommend waking up a tad earlier and hitting the pavement before the world’s awake. However, some runners swear by running in the evening, or even as late as eleven or twelve at night.

However, this is ultimately down to what works best for you. Give each time a go and see what suits you best.

The bottom line 

If you’re short on time or simply looking to change up your routine, we highly recommend trying out running during your lunch break. Not only is it a great way to squeeze a workout in during the day, but you’ll also get an endorphin rush, time to clear your mind, and time to yourself and or with running co-workers during the day. 

Be sure to allow plenty of time to get changed, and if possible try speaking with your boss about leaving for lunch a couple minutes early to help get you out the door as quick as possible – I’m sure they’ll love the productivity gains!  

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