Early-morning workouts aren’t your jam. You absolutely do not do mornings.

Evening workouts seem too late. There are just too many commitments after work. So that leaves your good old lunch break.

Enter the RUNch, aka, run at lunch.

Smack in the middle of the day, it’s perfect for runners who dread the morning and equally as good for those of us who are too tired to schlep to the gym or head outside for a run after a long day at the office. Whether you’ve got 30 minutes or 60, you can squeeze in a great run and not feel like a sweaty mess by the time you get back to your desk.

If you have an hour lunch, allow yourself five minutes to change clothes and 15 minutes to clean up afterward. That gives you least 40 minutes to work out.

Your first step in getting a good workout at lunch involves what you pack in your gym bag. You can’t run if you forgot your running shoes at home. Plan and pack the night before work so you won’t be rushing in the morning.

Gym bag essentials:

  •      Running shoes
  •      Running socks
  •      Sports bra (for the ladies)
  •      Shorts/capris/tights
  •      Tank/short sleeve/long sleeve shirt
  •      Running jacket (weather permitting)
  •      Hat (baseball, visor, winter hat)
  •      Gloves/mittens (winter running)
  •      Electronics – GPS watch, music, etc.
  •      Clean underwear (for after your run)

Post-run cleanup:

Deodorant and clean underwear are essential. If you do not have access to a shower, baby wipes and dry shampoo are great alternatives. With those on hand, you can freshen up just fine after the run and not offend coworkers. If you are lucky enough to have a shower, check to see what amenities are offered. Soap or shampoo may be available in addition to towels and a blow dryer. If not, travel-size toiletries are a great option.

Time/route:

Make sure that you have enough time for your run. This includes time to change before and after, as well as the cleanup. Plan ahead of time what you will be doing for your workout and approximately how long it will take you. Instead of just running easily for 30 minutes, add some sprint intervals — you’ll get a better workout in the same amount of time. In addition, know your route if you are heading outside. Have a plan and stick to it.

I know what you’re thinking — I need to eat at lunch, too! To save time, pack a lunch and bring it from home. You don’t want to waste any precious minutes waiting in line at the deli when you could be running an extra half-mile.

Schedule your lunchtime workout like you would any other meeting. Put it into your calendar and when it’s time to go, stop answering emails and just GO. The office will survive for an hour without you!

A quick shot of exercise can prevent a late-day slide into lethargy. Plus, it will relieve stress, reduce muscle tension from sitting at a desk, and increase the oxygen in your blood. You’ll be in a better mood and more productive.

Who knows, maybe a RUNch will get you a raise?

Do you like to RUNch?