When I first started work in Auckland in the mid-1990s, my mode of transport to campus was by running. It was just too hard to do twice a day though, over Auckland hills, on the knees. So I switched to cycling and stuck to that for many years.
This year I’ve started mixing runs with bike rides. Run one day, do a couple of days of biking, then another run. It’s taken some training to build up to. Leg muscles trained for cycling, don’t seamlessly make the transition to cycling. And as an older runner, I’ve got to work harder at avoiding injury. The days I could simply lace up some running shoes and go for a 10-20km run just for fun are long past me.
There are a number of advantages to running. I can take routes through parks or other scenic areas. It’s good to be able to see, kingfishers and the like, out when you are. I don’t have to worry about motorists pulling out in front of me. Or trying to run me over. It’s also a much more intense workout than cycling, or say, sitting in a car. It also puts you in a good mood. The rhythm of running, the exercise, being free of congestion on the roads, all helps. The main disadvantage is that it is a slow form of transport. It takes over double the time to run, as it does to bike.
In some ways running has got easier as a commuting option. A lot of my papers or data now exists on servers I can access anyway I have a computer. I don’t need to carry a bag of physical papers or textbooks. I’m also fortunate that work has shower facilities and I can store a change of clothes here.
Like cycling, running doesn’t use any fossil fuels. It is also a good way to stay fit and defy the “obesogenic environment” we can get mired in.