Perils of the work gym and my dream of perfect time management

A while back I mentioned I was going to join a gym to remove at least two of my regular excuses for not running: "It's too late/too dark out," and "It's too hot/rainy/cold."

So, was it worth it?

Cost: At $30 for a one-month membership, my work gym is a steal (although you have to pay at this random office that is very far from the gym, with a PERSONAL CHECK).

Pros: For City of Oaks training, it did exactly what I wanted it to: Eliminate excuses and help me ease into running again. 

Cons: However, there were consequences to working out where I'm likely to run in to people I know professionally.

  • Day 1- Ran into colleague immediately after walking in the door. Had a 10 minute conversation about work, which harshed my workout buzz a little.
  • Day 2- All clear! No familiar faces. 
  • Day 3-  Definitely ran into someone, but I quickly averted my eyes (as is my shy-person habit). Then when I changed my mind and wanted to say hi, I realized he, too, had adverted his eyes. Now it would be far too weird to say hello. Upstairs, halfway through my workout, I noticed someone else I knew (I thought -- but I didn't have my glasses on, so I couldn't tell for sure) on the stationery bike right in front of me. Horrors!!!

More stray gym observations:

  • People wearing long pants to the gym to run on the treadmill. Why.
  • Why is no one ever sweating?
  • Socializing. I can't think of a less fun place to hang out with friends than a stinky gym with fluorescent lights.
  • Why are people walking on the treadmills? Walk outside!

And then there's this:


Despite all of that, it was totally worth it. Thirty bucks gave my training plan more structure and really helped me get running done. The bus home takes me right by the gym; it is very easy to just swing by before heading home. I am much more likely to run if I can do it before I get home and get distracted by a dozen other things.

Winter training: For Tobacco Road training this winter, I'm definitely going to keep up my gym membership to remove the excuse of "it's too dark"/"it's too cold." Last year, when I was training for Kentucky, I relied a lot on the enthusiasm of my friend who always asked me to run after work. Many many nights, I would have not run at all if it weren't for her organizing a post-work run. Sadly, she moved away, so this winter I'm tackling training all by myself.

I feel a little silly, having endured a Chicago winter and learned what dark and cold *really* means, but oh well. It's worth $30 a month to me.

The dream of perfect time management: The other huge benefit to joining a gym near work is that, in theory, I could become one of those people who runs during lunch. This is the dream: that I can manage my time so efficiently, and organize my little work bag so perfectly, that I can get in a 4-5 mile run and a fast shower in the middle of the day. I have only ever done this once, back in New York, and I basked in a glow of ~perfect careerwomanhood~ for a whole week. 

Running in the middle of the workday questions:

  1. Does anyone actually do this?
  2. Do you eat before, or after?
  3. Is it really possible to do this in an hour, or is it more like a 1.5 hour project?
  4. Do you wash your hair?
  5. Do you do a workout (in which case, it makes sense to be at the gym)? It sounds like it would be better to do an easy run outdoors, to avoid getting sweaty. 

Tell me everything!