Change the pace – the magic of the runch

Runch (verb): the act of running at lunch

I like my job. I really do. But on the days I runch, I love my job. Running at lunch, no matter how brief, clears my mind and invigorates me for the rest of the day. I come back to the office happy, full of energy, and smelling surprisingly fresh.


I would love to runch every day but I just don’t have the time to do it often. And when I do my runs are generally short.

The days I make the time? In fall when the leaves are glorious, the sun is shining, and winter is looming. During summer when the sun is out. When I crave trails. If I need a change of pace. On days I have after work or evening plans and want to fit a run in.


It’s actually fairly simple to run at lunch, if you plan ahead.

  • Check the temps and pack your runch clothes accordingly. Do it the night before so you don’t forget something important in your rush to gather everything in the morning.
  • If you runch often, keep a little bag at your desk with items you frequently use like deodorant, wipes or towels, spare make up, hair ties, etc.
  • If you have shower facilities, great! Pack body and face wash and a towel. If you don’t, take a hand towel, body wipes, and face wash.
  • Take a blowdryer. On a runch this summer it started to pour rain. My hair was dripping wet by time I got back to work. Thankfully there was a blowdryer in the change room so I could dry it instead of heading into the office with soaked hair!
  • Since most people actually eat at lunch time, you need to plan to eat a little before to hold you over. Don’t forget to pack good recovery food for after your run.
  • Let a coworker know what time you should be back and, if possible, the route you plan to take. Safety is still important during the day!
  • Realize stuff happens. You’re paid to work, not to run (well, most of us!). So if work comes up and you can’t runch, save it for another day.

I ran at lunch once a week for the past couple weeks. The trails were calling my name in the splendid fall sunshine. Instead of being disappointed my runs would be short, I ran one a bit faster and on the other took a hillier route.


As always, I went back to work happy and reenergized.

I love that more and more companies are realizing the importance of healthy, active employees and are offering benefits like subsidized gym memberships and employee fitness classes, or even time to runch once in a while. Check out Outside’s 100 Best Places to Work in 2013 (note the Best Perks: Fitness Plans portion).

Do you run at lunch? Does your work offer any fitness programs? 

57 responses to “Change the pace – the magic of the runch

  1. I love the idea, but I just get too sweaty to run at lunch, especially now that I’m living in Africa haha!

  2. That looks like a great place to runch, along the river! I think I might have to steal the word “runch.” So much easier than saying I run on my lunch break! Runches are my sanity. Everyday that I’m in the office (not traveling) and don’t have a lunch meeting, I runch. Usually four or five miles around a lake by my office (it’s not as beautiful as it sounds). I’ve gotten to the point where I am starting to resent lunch meetings! I need the mental break during the day, and to get up and away from my desk. I’ve gotten to the point where I can be desk-to-desk in 47 minutes (change, four mile run, shower).

    No real fitness programs at my office, but they’re slowly warming up to the concept of healthy employees save the company money (our health insurance is self-insured, so every medical bill gets paid by my employer, not an insurance company). They’ve hired a “Wellness Coordinator” who is slowly starting to implement things around here.

    • Sounds like your company is on to something positive!
      Impressive splits for your runches; you’ll kill tri transitions! Runch is a lot easier to say, but first you’ll have to explain what it means.
      The places I have to run at lunch are incredible. The only downside is that it’s hard to make myself turn around.

  3. My first year teaching I had my plan period and lunch back-to-back so I used to run a lot (and then I could shower in the locker room) – it was great since i didn’t always have much evening time and at that point in my life I never got up any earlier than I had to.
    Glad you have such a great place to Runch!!!

  4. I do run at lunch…I’m headed out for a runch today, actually! I don’t do it as often as I would like…even though I know my bosses would always be fine with it (they are also runners), I still always feel guilty that I’m not working (even though it’s also supposed to be a lunch break, anyways…?). We have a locker room and showers so I usually do a quick rinse off after my run, but don’t wash my hair (unless I got super sweaty) to save time. We have a few groups at my work that do activities during lunch, including a running group and a biking group. It’s nice to be in an environment that values hat.

    I agree that I always feel 10000% better after a runch. I like how it breaks up my day and actually gives me energy for the rest of the day. Plus all of my coworkers look at me like I’m crazy, which is fun =).

    • So cool that you have a running and biking group at your work during lunch! You definitely shouldn’t feel guilty when you do go out, especially when you have more energy after!
      I don’t wash my hair after either. Sometimes I can even leave it down instead of in a sweaty ponytail!

  5. I runch (almost) every day I’m in the office…it has become my regular run time. I’m lucky enough to have a change room here with showers and great river paths to run on.
    Fall/winter runching is the best as it’s the only daylight runs you can get in!

  6. This is an awesome post, especially as I am about to start working at an office job and I am afraid of the hours. I know a runch would energize me a lot, but I still have yet to figure out if it fits in with the values of the office. I don’t want to show up on my first day with my running clothes packed and ready to go only to know out no one takes a lunch break, you know? At the very least, I could do it all after work and then be energized for my bus ride home.

    • Good luck with day one tomorrow! Hopefully you can escape for a run midday. It certainly breaks up sitting at a desk all day. Somedays I run after work just to change it up. That’s a nice option too!

  7. Great tips! I love runching because it means I don’t have to get up early before work to get my run in. However, it’s so hot down here in Texas that I only get so many chances to runch. I have to wait for a really cool day, otherwise I’d be sweating all afternoon!
    I know what you mean about being recharged afterwards! I usually run before work (see above) and then go to the gym at lunch. I always feel better after a runch or a gyunch!

    • Runching in Texas heat would be pretty tough, and sweaty! In winter do you get out?
      Love the word gyunch!

      • Yes! The past few years my marathons have been in January, so all my high mileage training is done Oct-Dec, when it’s actually nice running temps (sometimes). There is an advantage though to running in the summer heat – when cool temps come around I feel like I was shot out of a cannon!

  8. Runner Girl Eats

    I’ve never runched but it sounds perfect. Maybe one day I’ll give it a shot 🙂

  9. Great tips. But as I work from home, I guess I get to runch whenever I want… 😉

  10. I runch 3 days a week and I love it! The rest of the day I always feel so great! Plus it’s nice to do it that way rather than waking up way before my toddler to get a run in on a week day.

    • Thanks for the comment, Lauren! I think being able to runch when you have kids at home would be the best! That way you don’t have to wake crazy early and don’t have to skip evening time with them!

  11. We started a running club at work a couple of years ago where a big group of us head out at lunch time twice a week. I agree- it’s the best way to get reinvigorated and focused for the rest of the day!! 🙂

  12. When I can’t run in the morning, I love to escape during lunch. It’s a great way to break up the work day, and when I’m done, I’m ready to conquer the rest of the work day. Great post!!

  13. So fun!! Looks like a great place to do a runch!!!
    I only have a 30 minute lunch so it wouldn’t be worth it to go out for 20 minutes. Sometimes I have a longer lunch but I don’t know until the day is happening so no planning ahead!
    I love looking at the 100 best places to work…and dreaming of someday working at ANY of them! 🙂

  14. I’ve never been much of a runcher.. I just cannot do it. Maybe its because I’d rather eat on my lunch… haha HOW do you fit it all in?!? You’ve inspired me so maybe I will take it up one day, and if I do it will be in the fall because it really IS the perfect time to do it!!!

  15. I love running at lunch time! I usually call it my lunchtime runtime funtime episodes. The area outside my office offers some amazing hill training and straight always for some speed work. Love it!

  16. Haha, I love that word! I runch every so often- I am lucky enough to have a treadmill and small gym down the hall from my office!

    • I was laughing the day you said you do your popsicle stick workout because I was picturing you doing the workouts at your desk until you clarified about the gym! Nice you have that space so close to your office!

  17. I never runch but have been getting into the Wunch habit (walking at lunch). It’s much easier since I am always in gym shoes and i get to catch up with my coworkers. Loved this post!!!

  18. That is so cool that you get to trail run at lunch! I have tried runch in the past but I get toooo sweaty. I would always feel sorry for my patients because I was so sure that I smelled or looked awful! There are days when I wish that I had a desk job that my appearance (or smell) didn’t matter so much so I could take full advantage of my lunch. Fun post!!


    This is such a great post, Abby. I hadn’t thought of running in the middle of my day. I teach at a university so I don’t have a typical lunch break. I do, however, get done at earlier times on certain days and this has inspired me to consider making one run a week part of my post or during work plan.

    • Thanks, Stephanie! That would be nice to run after work on your earlier days! Sometimes I’ll run after work just to hit the trails. It’s nice to switch things up from my regular running routes around home!

  20. “Runch” – love that term! If I go back to my regular job next year and actually get a break during the day, I’m definitely going to incorporate some runching into my weeks!

  21. I only get a 30 minute lunch, and I too get really sweaty at times and this would be impossible for me to work with. HAH. I work in the direct eye of customers and that would be gross. I envy those of you that have a runch though! I hope one day to have a job that allows this.

  22. Many of my runs are at lunch because I train clients in the morning and afternoon/early evening. I always feel better after a run no matter when I go! 🙂

  23. Awesome!! I have a bit over an hour free for lunch/prep together, so it would be easy for me to run my 30-min. lunch and then eat on my prep. Maybe I’ll try it some day!

  24. I’m so jealous that you can RUNCH! I would LOVE that. Do you only get an hour? And do you shower before you go back to your office? If I could squeeze in a workout at lunch I would be wide awake all afternoon instead of falling asleep when the 2:30 slump hits!

    • ha ha- I hear you but my slump comes around 1:30! I do only get an hour, so I quickly change, hit the trails, then take a super quick rinse shower. I definitely don’t stretch which isn’t very good!
      Some days if I want to run a little longer I just stay at work a bit later!

  25. ohh you know ive been thinking of how to fit a runch into my day- its amazing how much better i feel and how much clearer i think when i work out mid day. i really think that needs to start happening. if i wasnt sure a few minutes ago, this post convinced me 🙂

  26. I LOVE running at lunch! I haven’t been able to do it until I started my new job two months ago at Anytime Fitness corporate… love that they encourage employees to workout during the day! I feel fortunate to work here 🙂

  27. some day maybe you can runch with cotter crunch. tee hee!

  28. This is so funny! I have a new job and I was on the fence about taking a Runch tomorrow for the first time but this blog post convinced me to do it! My new office has a running trail right out front and it’d be crazy not to take advantage. I’m doing it!!

  29. I’d never heard of it called “runch” before – cool term! I’m going to use it myself. I haven’t mastered morning running yet, so I run after work or at lunch. In the winter, a runch is nice just to be able to run in sunshine.

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