Lunch-hour jog keeps office running

Executives are taking to the streets... in runners.

For some under-the-pump executives, a dash around the park at lunchtime provides the fitness boost they need to stay in shape and a mood lifter that keeps them firing through the afternoon as well.

Most popular in the southern capitals, the lunch-hour run is a fast way of clocking solid cardio and calorie credits, says Linda Watson, coaching chief at Brisbane's InTraining running centre.

"The good thing about running is you can get something out of a 20 or 30-minute run," she said. "It's more time efficient than going to the gym, or even swimming."

For 28-year-old Qantas legal counsel Amanda Barbera it's a fail-safe way of getting an exercise fix. She covers 10 kilometres of inner-city Sydney, "plus some stairs if I can find them", in 40 minutes, then spends the balance of the hour turning herself back into a well-groomed suit.

"My preference is to run before work, but late nights, early meetings and daylight saving all too often get in the way of that," she said.

"It's then when the 'lunch-hour bolt' is a saviour because it lets me make a quick snatch for the endorphins I'm addicted to. I find it easier to get away from work during lunch because everyone knows you're there for the day and you'll be coming back!"

While Barbera prefers to run alone - "time's too precious to waste it waiting for someone, and if I was lagging behind someone else for the whole time I'd come back more frustrated than I did when I left the office" - others prefer to pound the pavement in a pack.

Sydney personal trainer Rob Rowland-Smith has been running his CBD Corporate Warrior training program since 1997. Staged three days a week, the hour-long sessions include about eight kilometres of running, hill sprints, stair climbs, push-ups and abs work.

It usually attracts between 40 and 60 participants, some of whom have been turning up two or three times a week for as long as Rowland-Smith has.


His regular retinue of accountants, lawyers and bankers viewed the sessions as reward for their hard labour at the desk, Rowland-Smith said, with some planning their weekly calendars around the couple of hours out with him in the middle.

"Lots of people are under massive stress in high-pressure jobs," he said.

"This is the best stress release of all. It comes down to the feel-good factor. They can enjoy themselves and switch off - they don't have to think."


■Find someone to train with. It's more social and helps you stay disciplined.

■Don't get hung up on distances. Rather than trying to clock an ever-greater number of kilometres, focus on the quality of the run. Aim to keep going for at least half an hour and mix it up with stairs, hills and sprints.

■Find somewhere that's inspiring to train. Get familiar with green spaces and resist boredom by varying your route.

■Commit to going three times a week. "This often, you will continue to improve," says Bootcamp founder Chief Brabon.

■Invest in good footwear. If you plan to run regularly, it's worth investing in a decent pair and have them properly fitted.

■Allow yourself enough time to warm up at the start and stretch at the end.

This article Lunch-hour jog keeps office running was originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.