The pros and cons of running on your lunch break

Since quitting running in July I’ve wanted to start again, but it’s only now, October, that I’ve restarted. I had legitimate reasons preventing me from running, scratch that, I could have run but I had more fun things on, namely being a volunteer in the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies. So running was off my agenda this summer (obviously it was firmly on Mo Farah’s).

Now that there’s a void in my life the size of the Grand Canyon x 10 I can see space for running. So today I pushed the boat out, really really really far out, and went for a run during my lunch break.

As if having to work for a living, and not having inherited/won/found a pot at the end of a rainbow or got my wishes granted by a blue genie wasn’t bad enough, I was throwing running into the 9-5, Monday to Friday, until I retirement mix. Would it make me more productive at work? Who cares*! But I have no other option. You see, I’m not going to run before work (I like my sleep) or after it (I like not getting killed  – it gets dark at 6.30pm now), so I have to run in the middle of it.

Where on Earth do you find enough motivation to even consider running a lunch time let alone actually do it? I hear you cry.

Well, I think it’s that damn book working (don’t tell the author or the publisher). It rabbits on about ‘no more excuses’ etc etc.  The book propelled me to think outside the box, and running in the middle of the day was one of the solutions I came up with.

So, yesterday I put the idea to the test. I started work at the normal time but asked my boss for an hour lunch break instead of  a 30 minute one. I changed into my running gear in the disabled toilet (very spacious) walked to the canal, stretched, ran along the canal, ran back, changed back into my work clothes, and returned to my desk in under 60 minutes. In total, I ran for 20 minutes.


  • I got to enjoy the best part of the day. The sun was emitting a decent amount of light and heat, which can’t be sniffed at in October!  Also, it was nice to experience the good weather from outside the office instead of from inside.
  • It was a break in my otherwise 7 hour stint sat at my desk. Studies are showing sitting at a desk is really bad for your health.
  • As I don’t work from home I got to run along a different, and much prettier, part of the canal.
  • It only extended my work day by 30 minutes. So I had the evening free and didn’t have ‘I need to go for a run tonight’ hanging over my head.


  • Work colleagues saw me in my running gear. No one looks good in running gear.
  • It didn’t make the afternoon go any quicker.
  • I probably stank to death. I sprayed lots of deodorant and body spray, and opened a window, but I don’t know if that was enough. People might have just been acting polite but secretly wishing I would take a shower. I’ll just have to wait and see if HR send an email about personal hygiene over the next few days.
  • An hour lunch break doesn’t give me much time to run.


  • I wasn’t alone. Lots of people run at lunch time. LOTS. But it didn’t annoy me as it was just runners and not the dreaded cyclists.
  • I rushed the warm up. As I was conscious of time I didn’t warm up properly and whilst running my legs really ached.

*The book says it will.

Published by Lettice

Lettice is an avid traveller, volunteer and writer. Follow her blogs for tips on where to go, what to do, and how to get there.

5 thoughts on “The pros and cons of running on your lunch break

  1. I love running during my lunch break. I already take an hour lunch break, and never needed that long to actually eat, and so I found myself over eating because I had more time to, or I would go shopping which would hurt the bank. So I resort to running during my lunch to save money, and get the most out of the day without having to workout after work.

    Yes, sometimes I wish I had time to run and shower, but that is almost NEVER the case, so I bought Renew Mirra Cleansing cloths and do a quick wipe down after so I at least feel refreshed, and a little less dirty.


    1. Hi

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I usually avoid hour lunch breaks too because I found I just spent money. It’s good you’ve got into the routine of running at lunch. I went running at lunch time again today, but I found it really tiring – more tiring than running after work. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m tired this week. Do you find a difference between running at punch time vs after work?


      1. I notice myself getting tired around 3:30 or 4 if I run around 1 for lunch which is hard considering I have to stay til 5. But I just find it hard sometimes to get motivated to do it after work now that it get dark so much earlier.

        I have become a big fan of 45 min spin classes at lunch. perfect time to workout and take a quick rinse off shower.


  2. I like getting out at lunch time for a workout, whether gym or running, and I think I’ll be doing it more and more as the days get shorter.

    I’m really lucky that we have a shower at work (just one shower though, and a lot of people run/cycle during their breaks, so if I time it wrong I’ll be stuck in the queue outside the bathroom with a lot of other sheepish looking people in Lycra).

    My tips are – bring wet wipes to work with you, if you can’t have a regular shower have a camping-shower instead

    Dry shampoo – will soak up the sweat in the hair and leave it feeling clean for the afternoon. Even though I have access to a shower, I never wash my hair at lunchtime because I don’t have time (stupid long ponytail! – I would need a 2 hour lunch break if I started washing my hair as well), so the dry shampoo is ALWAYS in my gym bag.


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