HOW-TO: Run on Your Lunch Break

I have always been a collector of hobbies, particularly ones that involve exercise. In my dream world I would do yoga, go to the rock climbing gym, go to a dance class, trail run, lift weights, hike and paddleboard all two times per week (Ha!). But that would probably be a tad bit overboard and very expensive! In order to succeed at these sports that I mentioned above, I need a workout program that will strengthen my core and other major skeletal muscles, challenge my cardiovascular endurance, and continue challenging my flexibility and range of motion. 

In the article that follows, I will talk about how I incorporated running during my brief 30 minute lunch break to increase my cardiovascular endurance as a means to prepare me for the other physical activities that I love. I will also tell you how to get back to your desk looking minimally sweaty and provide you with four 30-minute running workouts to try on your next lunch break. 

When planning my workout program, in order to do the outdoor actives that I love and want to excel at, I knew I needed to actively work on building/maintaining my cardiovascular endurance. With my busy work schedule, I am allotted a 30 minute lunch break and so I chose to use this time to incorporate a quick run into my day. While running is definitely NOT my favorite form of exercise, it is inexpensive, easily accessible anywhere, and requires no equipment. The versatility of the workout is what makes running a viable option for so many people who need a quick and comprehensive workout in a short amount of time. I wanted to slip it into the middle of the day so my evenings could be filled with the activities I tend to enjoy more, such as rock climbing and yoga.

I work as a product photographer during the week and while my days are fairly active some are spent editing at a computer. The addition to the mid-day run was great as it gave me more energy in the afternoon. That being said, here is some advice/tips on how to successfully squeeze in a lunch-time workout while simultaneously getting back to your desk without looking like a disheveled, sweaty mess. 

1. If you have long or medium hair, put it in a braid, preferably french braids. Often when you put your hair in a ponytail it can cause it to kink where the hair tie is. Put your hair in a braid while you run, then when you get back to work, take your hair out and spray some dry shampoo on your roots. Presto! Wavy beach hair post-workout! 

2. Get a desk fan! I got the awesome one pictured below on Amazon for $20 bucks. It uses the USB plug-in on my computer for power and works great. I use it right when I return from my run to help me cool down.

  3. Another tip to keep you cool is dressing for 10-15 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. If it is 65 degrees out, I immediately don leggings and a sweatshirt (Southern girl born and raised). Naturally, I am dripping sweat just 10 minutes into the run, but this really helps cool me down at the end of my workout. Once I remove the excess clothing post-run, I cool down quickly therefore am a little less of a sweaty mess when I go back to work. If you are finding that you are still sweating too much to return comfortably to your desk, try starting your cool-down earlier. By doing this, you will give your body more time to actively recover and will allow your heart rate come back to its natural resting position.  

4. But, what if you don’t have a shower? Great question! There are some office buildings that have showers. Unfortunately, mine does not. I usually give myself a good 10 minutes to cool down. Then I head to the bathroom to change. I use dry shampoo and a body wipe over my body. I often use wipes called The Athletic Wipe (pictured below). They are great and don't leave your skin feeling sticky. Baby powder is another option to help you dry off. Don’t forget the extra deodorant in your gym bag!

5. Brand-new runners should build a base of fitness before tackling harder or longer workouts. Personal trainer, Erin Fitzgerald recommends jumping into the harder workouts (3+miles) once you’re “consistently running three to five times per week for 30 minutes at a time and are injury-free.” That means that if you’re not a runner at all right now, start with few light running workouts where you are mixing walking and running until you’re doing them consistently multiple days a week. And remember  "listen to your body and don’t beat yourself up!” Erin says.


6. You should always warm up before and cool down after your run!

7. Change up your workout! If running really isn’t your thing, there are other ways to exercise on your break. Even if you just walking a mile or finding a park nearby to do some lunges and push ups. If you have a private office shut your door and do some yoga. You will be amazed at how great you feel afterwards, especially if you sit at a desk all day!  


Need some ideas? Check out these four 30-minute running workouts! Try them and let us know how they go! Take a picture of you completing one of these workouts, post a picture on Instagram and tag us, @FemTribe

Do this and you will receive ONE FREE group exercise class of your choice!


Speed Demon
Run for 10 minutes at an easy pace.
Run 1 minute fast, followed by 1 minute slow. Repeat the interval 5x.
Run 10 minutes at an easy pace 


Run Strong Circuit
Circuit 1: Run 4 minutes at an easy pace. Do push-ups for 1 minute
Circuit 2: Run 4 minutes at an easy pace. Do squats or jump squats for 1 minute
Circuit 3: Run 4 minutes at an easy pace. Do tricep dips for 1 minute
Repeat Circuits 1 – 3 one more time


Speed Play (Fartlek)

Run for 8 minutes at an easy pace. Run for 2 minutes at 10k pace
Run for 6 minutes at an easy pace. Run for 4 minutes at 10k pace
Run for 4 minutes at an easy pace. Run for 6 minutes at 10k pace 


Heart Pumping Plyo Run
Run for 8 minutes. Do 1 minute of mountain climbers. Hold a plank for 1 minute
Run for 8 minutes. Do 1 minute of burpees. Hold a reverse plank for 1 minute
Run for 8 minutes. Do 1 minute of jumping jacks. Do 1 minute of bicycle crunches