Commute run to work (11.6km)

Date: 1 February 2017. Time: 57.08. Pace: 5.08/km. Written by: Jess

This is the route I normally take to run-commute to work, something I have been doing at least once a week since starting marathon training. There are days when I simply love commuting, and there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. But there are also days when it’s just a bit tough. Today was one of those days.


It was raining again… Really, you’d think that, having just been drowned in torrential rain in New York I’d be more prepared for wet runs. But as always I wore too little. Within about 20 paces, my lightweight windbreak jacket was soaked, and my hair was dripping. My trainers fared a little better (or so I thought) until the point where I landed ankle deep in one of the big puddles. I felt bad for my sodden shoes and my socks which felt like a sponge filled with water. I felt just a bit sorry for my roommate at work. Our shared wardrobe has over the last year or so become filled with all my cardigans and heels. I wondered how he would feel about me adding my collection of wet running clothes to one of the shelves…

Now that I was soaked it mattered little and I tried to focus on my form as I was running. I tried to picture myself as Mo Farah – upright, high kick, 90 degrees elbows. I glanced at my reflection in the shop windows as I approached Golders Green station. Sadly I looked nothing like Mo Farah.

Golders Green (3km)

The section between Golders Green and Hampstead was tough to say the least. I haven’t done any hills in the past two weeks and my legs haven’t quite recovered from my recent 20km runs. At the last stretch of the hill I glanced at my watch – my pace slowed past 6min/km. It’s a known fact that when you concentrate on increasing your endurance through running distance, your speed will suffer, but I was really hoping that this ‘fact’ was a myth, and my hours of endurance training would make some difference to my hill speed. At this point, my iPod decided to play Adele. Adele evokes such strong emotions, but unfortunately not the kind that make you go faster up a hill! 

Hampstead (5km)

The rain at this point began to lighten, as did the skies and my mood, as I ran down a glorious long, gradual, smooth, downhill slope towards Belsize Park. I was feeling pretty good about life. I wasn’t quite sprinting but my pace was strong – reaching almost around 4min/km. I found myself happily singing along to the songs on my playlist and happily letting gravity do the work.

Belsize Park (6km)

It’s funny how things could change so quickly. After 1km of running downhill, I started to get really uncomfortable. Then I realised why. My sports bra was far too tight and my core was hurting. Or maybe it was the fact that I was running like a wild baboon. 

Chalk Farm (7km)

My chest discomfort lasted for longer than I would’ve liked, but thankfully it went away. I felt like I was slowing to a plod when I noticed a fellow runner running in the same direction on the opposite side of the road. He was tall, built and looked like an athlete. And he looked fast. I forced my legs to go faster to match his pace and set off at what can only be described as flat-out sprint. If anyone was going to see me run, I was thinking, then they’re going to think I’m fast, or at least as fast as that guy! Of course, 20 seconds later I was completely exhausted and found myself dropping back to snail pace to catch my breath.

Camden (8km)

At this point I’ve been running for 45 min and I could really do with some food. Since starting my marathon training I’ve been eating like the world is going to end. The other day I had a massive bowl of risotto plus steak and chips and I was still hungry. I made a mental note to myself: No more eating like a maniac.

Chancery Lane (11.6km)

Finally, I arrived at the office, sweaty, wet but happy. I love running to work because I like knowing that I would still be able to get into work even when there are tube strikes (which seem to be a regular occurrence these days…). When I tell people I sometimes run 8 miles to work, most people say “I could never do that.” My response is always if I can, anyone can!

So far it hasn’t been easy to stick to the marathon training programme. Track sessions, tempo sessions and ever-increasing long runs… running can be unkind to the legs, but I’ve never felt fitter in my whole life. It seemed that every time I get out I’d get another Strava segment PB or add to my weekly distance target!

To anyone considering running to or from work: do it! It’s amazing how you can fit your running into your working day. A lot of people use lack of time as an excuse but there’s 24 hours in a day and you can always get a run in.
Hopefully I can keep up with the training schedule…