I wish someone had told me sooner. I’ve been running for years now and if I’d known how good going for a run at lunchtime was I’d have started doing it ages ago. Over the last 6 months (which, funnily enough is the same time since my daughter was born) I’ve found it really hard to stick to an exercise routine. My old trick of getting changed as soon as I got home and heading out for a run or cycle doesn’t work when I get handed a baby to feed or a nappy to change instead. With Ride The North approaching fast at the end of August something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be my beautiful daughter!
Despite having quite good changing facilities at my office I’ve not taken the opportunity to run at work before. I’ve tried running to and from work with some success but at the moment I’m commuting by train and the station is beside my office, so that won’t do much for my mileage. The main thing that always put me off was my own insecurities about body image and personal space coming into conflict with gym changing rooms. Eventually I realised that no-one really cares what anyone else looks like in a changing room so there’s no point worrying about it.
My office is well positioned for some good short routes perfect for fitting in over a lunchtime. First up I decided to try a run over the bridge to Torry and up to Girdle Ness lighthouse. This route takes you up the south side of Aberdeen harbour, rising up to Torry Battery and the lighthouse with some stunning views out to the harbour, Aberdeen beach front and beyond to Balmedie. If you’re lucky you can even see the dolphins at the harbour mouth where the silt from the River Dee makes for rich feeding grounds. While I didn’t see any I was told by another runner back at the office that he stood and watched two dolphins on his loop just after we passed each other going in opposite directions.
On Monday I opted for a flatter run along the River Dee from the harbour all the way to Bridge O’Dee before looping up to the A90 roundabout and coming back past the football pitches. As it was a flatter route I threw in some fartlek intervals for a bit of speed work too. While running along the busy roads on this route wasn’t as nice a break from the office as the lighthouse route, the new path along the river between Riverside Drive and Bridge O’Dee is lovely.
Next up in a rare patch of summer sunshine I went back to the lighthouse route but ran it anti-clockwise. I think I liked this way even more than the clockwise route. The hills felt more substantial and I got to enjoy the view over the harbour and Aberdeen for longer. Nasty headwind on the return leg of the loop though.
Usually I spend my lunchtime staring blankly at my internet browser or reading a book on my kindle. Which is fine, but then I find myself getting annoyed that I’ve spent the whole day in the office. Especially when it’s nice outside! Lunch times have just been dead time in my schedule. Like I’m just sitting, waiting for the clock to tick over to one o’clock and I can start work again.
Now on the three occasions I’ve gone for a run at lunchtime I feel like I’ve done something constructive with my dead time. Plus through the magic of endorphins I feel much happier in the afternoon and can concentrate better on my work! I feel less guilty about my mid-afternoon chocolate break too…
Then there’s the added bonus that I don’t need to take time out of my evening to go for a run so I can spend more time helping round the house or looking after the baby, which means everything feels a bit more organised and relaxed later on once she is fed and put to bed.
I should have started this months ago.