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How do you run when you have a 9-5?

How do you fit in a weekday run when you work 9-5, aren’t a morning person and have a busy 5-9? Welcome to my life. Here is my plan on how to successfully have a 30-minute lunchtime run midweek and be back in time for those afternoon Teams calls.

If you get an hour’s lunch and that’s when you want to go, there are a few things that I’d suggest to do. You need to be super prepared, to ensure things run as smoothly as possible and things are organised beforehand. You don’t want to be late back, especially if you have a call you need to log on to and join straight away.

Running couch to 5k - me after a run feeling proud!
I love running. And love it even more now I can fit one in mid-week.

I don’t like running after work. I’m tired, it’s dark and I just don’t have the motivation. I prefer to run just before lunchtime around 12pm Mon-Fri when I’m working, or around 11am on days off.

I’ve now gotten the hang of going for a lunchtime run and being back at my desk within 60 mins (give or take). This includes a 30min run, 2x lots of stretches, prep time and shower time. The key to this is getting as much prepared including your lunch and clothing. You don’t want to come back and have to start cooking your lunch, or start getting ready and wondering what to wear. This can all take place the morning or evening before.

You need to prep a few things the night before:

  • sort out your lunch so you don’t need to cook on the day. Either get it ready with no cooking time the night before (salad & tuna?) or know when you need to start cooking. If you know it takes 30 minutes to cook something and you’re going on a run at lunchtime, have it cooked before you go so you only need to warm it when you get in. The last thing you need to happen is to get in, be in a rush and have to start cooking food – you might leave eating for ages which is no good for your body.
  • check the weather so you know what running clothes to wear – and leave them out, even your socks, hat and sports bra
  • know what route you’re taking and let someone know the plan (for your safety) and ensure tracking is turned on (more on security in my tips for staying safe blog)

Quick tips to make this work

  • After my run, I eat lunch at my desk with a big coffee and water full of electrolytes. I don’t see a problem with eating at my desk because I’ve had a break. If you’ve got a meeting straight away when you’re due to be back online, try to leave your desk at 11.45 am to ensure you are back and have time to eat beforehand.
  • If you need to be back for a 1 pm meeting, I would suggest eating a cereal bar or something small if you aren’t able to eat your main meal. Then as soon as your meeting finishes, eat up!
  • don’t scrimp on pre or post-stretching. If you need to cut time out of anything, make sure it’s from the run. Stretching is the top priority.

Let’s go for a run in your lunch break, starting at 12 pm:

12.00 – 12.05 (5mins)
Get ready (pee, change clothes, hair up)

12.05 – 12.15 (10mins)
Warm-up stretching

12.15 – 12.45 (30mins)

12.45 – 12.55 (10mins)
Warm down stretching

12.55 – 13.00 (5 mins)
Shower time (leave hair wet if necessary – see more tips on this below).
You could skip this if you have a call at 13.00 and pretend your hair is wet because you’ve just returned from a walk in the rain… I did this last week (gross I know but needs must). I grabbed a shower a little while later.

Yes, you read that right – the shower is 5 minutes. More than enough time to wash what’s important and your hair! (think of the planet and hurry up). I have long hair and I manage this fine, so you will too (even better if you don’t wash all of it – see below!).

13:00 – 13:10 (10mins)
Lunch and back to work

Eating a tuna salad at my desk whilst icing my shins

I’ll foam-roll several times throughout the afternoon just to help my muscles calm down. I find this helps me to get out of my chair and move for a few minutes instead of sitting for 3-4 hours.

You could probably shave 1 or 2 minutes off your pre and post-stretches but only if you’re doing it properly without any pauses.

Finding the motivation

Motivation doesn’t just come to you. It takes action. More specifically, you need to take action.

If I’m having a stressful day, it’s easy to say ‘ok I won’t go today, I’ll go tomorrow’ but I could easily do the same tomorrow, then that changes the day so it’s too near my weekend run which ruins plans for later in the week.

I try to keep at the forefront of my brain not to let the actions of others affect me and my life. If I let someone stress me out, and it stops me from running, I’m allowing them control over my life. I don’t think so! You’ll feel a whole load better when you get back, and see things from a different perspective – exactly what you need in order to carry on with your chin up.

How to wash your hair quickly after a run (and tips for a half-arsed-job tip)

The way I see it, I have a few different scenarios for how much of a rush I’m in. Do I have enough time to wash and dry my hair? Probably not. I have long, thick hair which is why this section is here. I have some tips.

Got time for a hair wash and dry, and some styling! Oooh!
No tips from me here. I hardly ever style my hair especially if I’m working at home. My hair is pretty straight so I can get away with just blow-drying.

Got time for a wash and a quick dry
If I have time for a hair wash, I tend to clip my hair up when it’s damp but dry the front, so at least I have bangs which look fine if on work calls from home. I dry my hair a little with a towel and put in any treatments, then clip it up. As soon as I have a break in work or calls, I dry it.

Got time for a wash but no dry
You could leave it all wet and dry when you have time! Who cares?

Not much wash time
Here’s where it gets interesting – just wash the front. It’s very simple and quick to do if you’re in a rush but want to pretend you’ve got clean hair. Sounds gross after writing it out… but if you get it, you get it*.
You wash the front, and use a hair dryer on the rest to 1) dry the sweat 2) use dry shampoo to get rid of the grease.

I’ve done this several times when I need to be quick but want to wash my hair, to look slightly more respectable. You tie up your hair then pull out the front that you plan to wash. This is approximately one inch around the front of your head. You wash this hair in the shower as normal then you only have a small amount of hair to dry. It doesn’t seem worth the effort but it really is – especially if you’ve got long, thick hair like me. It takes drying my hair from 10-12 mins to 3, maybe 4. I’m able to style the front into waves if I want and look put together. I then dry the rest and use dry shampoo! Sorted!

*If I know I’m going out for casual drinks or to a friend’s, I don’t want to ‘waste’ a hair wash if I know I’m running the following morning. I don’t want to wash my hair more than 2-3 times a week because it’s bad for it, plus it’s too much effort. If I can get away with only the front being clean, then I will. It isn’t like the back is a grease ball, smelly or gross – I just want to refresh the front and do what I can with the back. I tend to wash my hair after a big workout when it’s gross. If my hair needs a wash on a Friday, I’ll use dry shampoo because I know I’m going for a run on Saturday and will wash it properly then. There’s no way I’m washing it twice in two days. This all makes sense in my head. I hope this has helped.

Hi, welcome to my beauty blog. I am Rachael, and this is my beauty blog

Thanks for reading. This article was written by me (Rachael) on February 2024 . I last updated it on: February 2024

It's tagged with the category: Couch to 5k Fitness

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