Question for elite and recreational runners:

How practical is run commuting and how often do you commute by running?

Going to work, store, bus station, train station, grocery, bar, post office, doctors office, friends or family house, restaurant, concert, club, etc…

Do most people consider running more of a fitness/competitive activity or a practical activity?

I ask because I bike commute 100% and I want to try run commuting. Bicycle maintenance and upkeep is too expensive and running is free.

I can run 10 miles with an average pace of 9:00 minute mile so I think I am fit enough to run commute.

What would you think if you saw someone running on the sidewalk with a backpack wearing jeans and a dress shirt?

A. It’s going to take a hell of a lot longer to get anywhere on foot. You can go 2.5-3.0 times as fast on a bike(YSMV).
B. Your food bill will go through the roof.
C. I used to bike to work three days, 30 round trip and my expenses were nil.
I currently bike 5 days, 16 miles round trip. Tires, tubes every year and a couple of bottles of chain lube are normal expenses. What bike are you riding?
D. Carrying anything is a chore to impossible. I’ve run with a backpack and it’s a pain in the everything.
ETA: I can’t imagine running 10 miles in jeans and dress shirt and being presentable.

I can see driving Mon.and Fri. to transport a week’s worth of clothes and running unencumbered the other three days.

What are your bicycle commuting expenses?

A few questions.
How far is your commute and what is the terrain?
How far are you running daily/weekly?
What are your running goals?

I want to give up on bike commuting because I had a tire rim failure on my way home. It was impossible to repair because I don’t carry an extra tire. So I ended up having to run home pushing my bike 7 miles. If I can run my bike home, then why not just run without the bike home.

A bike is expensive because of chains, tires, tubes, cassettes, chainwheels, and all the extra costs like tools and helmets.

Chains are cheap, around 30 and they last a long time properly cared for. I have the original chainrings and cassette on my handcycle. 50,000 miles and no wear.

You’ll probably spend more on shoes than tires. Running shoes are only good for 300-500 miles, bike tires can go a few thousand.I run Gatorskins, two of those should go a year easily and cost the same as one pair of shoes.

Tools and helmet are a one time expense and aren’t really all that much. Which you should already have if you have a bike.

Depending on your pack and load, running with a pack can drastically alter your running mechanics, throw off your balance and can lead to injury.
What will you do if you have one of those bad days and you get halfway and can’t continue? Or you roll an ankle?

You should be inspecting your bike before each ride.
Tire rim failure? Was it the tire itself or the rim?

Tire bead failure. Impossible to repair without a new tire. Only solution was bus or walk home.

I wear $35 Vibram Five Fingers for running. Much cheaper than my $80 dollar specialized aramadillo tires on my bike.

if the shoes ever wear out I can just run barefoot for free.

Sounds like you’ve pretty much made up your mind. I don’t have much to add to what running coach has already said, except to ask what your weekly mileage is already and warn you that running with a backpack and regular clothes instead of running clothes is going to likely garner some attention from curious cops. They’ll just want to know if everything is all right, maybe what you are up to, have any identification…? No big thing unless you fit the description of somebody and then maybe your delay will be more than a couple minutes. I mean, this depends on how big your town is, so if you live in a small town maybe it will only take one time and then you’ll just be that “running guy.”

It is better that you alternate days, biking and running, stash clothes to change into at work and run in appropriate running clothing. You can get a backpack made for running, but that will run you more than a new tire. Running ten miles with a normal backpack and jeans/trousers would suck ass, not enough BodyGlide in the world for that.

Also, tire bead failure may be under warranty.

I’m certainly not an “elite” runner but I have dabbled in running to/from work once or twice a week while training for a race. At the time I could comfortably run 8-10 miles at around an 8:30 pace, and the commute was only about 5 miles each way, but I never even considered running as a regular way to get to work. Here are some reasons why, most of which have already been addressed:

  1. I takes forever. Are you prepared to double or triple your commute time?
  2. You’ll almost certainly arrive at work a sweaty mess and will need at least a change of clothes, and likely a shower to make yourself presentable (I kept extra clothes and shower supplies in my office, running with a backpack isn’t fun). So add time to wash up/change to your commute as well.
  3. Running isn’t free. What you save in tires and chains you’ll spend in running shoes and apparel. As Running coach mentioned, shoes only last 300-500 miles, and your toe shoes will definitely be on the lower end of that range. Also, consider the value of the extra time you’ll spend getting to and from work (although this isn’t really an issue if you already spend time running before or after work).
  4. It’s a hassle. Working late, deciding I wanted to join my friends for happy hour, or an evening rain storm would sometimes have me asking my coworkers for a ride. Running just isn’t as flexible as biking.

Having said that, I can’t think of any good reasons for you not to try it for a while and see if you can make it work. If you don’t already run an equivalent distance per week, I’d start off slow. Limping home on a rolled ankle isn’t any more fun than walking your bike home, I promise!

As a runner, I can definitely see the appeal of run-commuting, but running in your work clothes carrying a backpack? And to save money on “bicycle expenses” when you already have the bike? You’ve lapsed into a bout of madness!
Also, as a barefoot runner, I think it’s great that you are willing to give that a try. But if you wear your shoes out first and think you can just carry on commuting without them, you are setting yourself up for injury and disaster. You need to work your barefoot mileage up gradually and give your feet time to build up and your running style to change.
Shod or unshod, running twice a day, five days a week, is not a starting point. Mileage and days per week running should be built up gradually over months.
Good luck though!