30 Day Fitness Experiment

What can you do for your body in 30 days?

Beginner’s Guide to a Car-Less Commute

I have anxiety. I even see a doctor (ok, a couple of doctors) about it. Anxiety makes new things really difficult, like changing the way I get to work. I used to walk to work, when I lived on the other side of town and didn’t have a car. But that was then.  

Are you thinking about changing the way you commute? You could go green(er) by riding your bike, walking, or taking public transportation.

But there are so many things to worry about! What if I’m late? What if I’m sweaty and out of breath? What if I’m too early and people look at me funny? What if it rains? We could go on… and on… and on…  

Here are a few tips to get you centered, determined, and on your way to a new habit. Today we’ll talk about walking and cycling; we’ll cover public transportation in a future post.

  • Plan Ahead. This one might seem obvious, but there are so many things to plan! Start by planning your route.
    Commute by bike
    Image by i eated a cookie via Flickr

    Check it out on Google Maps (many areas have a “walking” option on the “driving directions”), then do a run through on an evening or weekend. This gives you an idea of how long it will take and which routes you should or shouldn’t use. Keep in mind that any route will probably take longer during weekday rush hour, and allow for that.  

  •  Set a Date. If you plan on an Alternative Commute every day of the week from now on, fine. Otherwise, pick one or two days a week to start with. If you just leave it at “I’m going to bike to work one day this week,” before you know it you’ll be staring at Friday morning, and you probably won’t be prepared.


  • Set it in Stone. Now that you’ve chosen a day or days, set it in stone! Stick to it! Have everything ready the night before, including foul weather gear if necessary (of course you’ll be checking the forecast), and do it. You said you were going to go. Now go.


  • Go early, and take along some reading. Here’s the deal. If you give yourself plenty of time to get there, get presentable, and get to work, you will probably have a few extra minutes. Your mind will be clear and refreshed from the exercise, so get used to having this time before work to relax and do some reading. My Mac + Kindle DX setup is about as good as it gets: anything I can print, my Mac can convert to PDF. Anything I have in PDF format, my Kindle can display. Perfect.

    What to Take With You


  • A complete change of clothes, including socks and underwear. You don’t need any fancy workout gear. That said, if you wear a bra, you will probably want to wear an exercise-style bra on your walk/run/ride and change into a regular one once you get there.


  • Food and Water. You’re using your own power to get you places. You’ll be hungry and thirsty. Pack something for the way there and something for the way back. Good choices include carbs from granola, fruit, or whole grain crackers, protein and fat from almonds or peanut butter, and pure water to drink. Sports drinks are ok for longer stints, but are too sugary to use as a go-to beverage.


  • Toiletries. You’ll need some deodorant, maybe a spray bottle with water to rejuvenate your hair if you’ve been wearing a helmet, a washcloth and some multi-purpose soap/shampoo if you’ve got a shower at work. Minimalism is key here, since you don’t want to have to carry a huge pack full of stuff. If you’re going to apply makeup, keep in mind that you’ll probably be washing it all off for the return trip (makeup + sweat = skin problems and all kinds of smudging). You can get by with a little mineral foundation, some all-in-one lip and cheek color (like BeneFit BeneTint), and a little mascara. Think about this: Would you rather look and feel awesome at work because you’re wearing a ton of makeup, or look and feel awesome at work because you got a great workout getting there?

    Walking to work - Treasury Gardens, Melbourne
    Image by avlxyz via Flickr

    How to Do it Once You Get There:

    If at all possible, give yourself some time to cool down, before you go washing up and applying makeup. Both will work better once your body has cooled down. Sit awhile, drink some water, get cleaned up and changed, and then relax. You made it!  



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    April 28, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    1 Comment »

    1. […] This is Part 2 of the Beginner’s Guide to a Car-Less Commute. Read Part 1 here. […]

      Pingback by Beginner’s Guide to a Car-Less Commute: Public Transportation Edition « 30 Day Fitness Experiment | May 8, 2010 | Reply

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