How to Master the Art of the Lunch-Break Run 

Six pro-approved steps to help you master the art of getting your sweat on midday.

Finding the time to work out when you are so busy you want to crawl into a hole and die can be hard: That’s where the lunch-break run comes in. Not only does it give you the opportunity to sneak out of your office for some much-needed sunshine, it’s also a way to use the time you know you have every day to get your sweat on — without needing any equipment or having to shell out any dough. And, unlike a lunch-break fitness class, you assign the amount of time you’re going to sweat for. Only have 30 minutes until you need to be back at your desk? No problem.

But the lunch-break run is an art of sorts: You have to, one, know how to get the most out of a short run, and, two, know how to set yourself up to look office-ready afterward. So, to help you become a lunch-break running pro, we asked two of our favorite Philly runners, Holly Waters of Fitness Alive and Katie Rodger of The Juice Philly (also a Lululemon Ambassador and an avid runner), to spill their lunch-break run tips and dish on their favorite post-midday-run products. Below, how to master the art of the lunch-break run in six steps.

1. Be prepared — always

Fact: If you have to lug your running shoes into work every day, the chances of you going for a regular lunch-break run are significantly lower. Because, let’s be honest: You will probably forget to lug your running shoes into work a good chunk of the time. Instead, stash a pair of running shoes and a spare running outfit at the office. That way, you are always prepared, whether you planned to run on your lunch break or decide to squeeze a sweat session in on a whim.

2. Keep an office stash of products

Since your office probably doesn’t have a shower (if yours does, boy, are you lucky), you’re going to need to stash a few products in your desk drawer to get your sweaty self back into office-ready shape after your run. After all, having your hair plastered to your face by sweat like someone with a really bad case of the flu does not a good impression make. The fix for a head full of damp, sweaty hair: Dry shampoo. Waters is a fan of Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk and Rodger says, “Absolutely nothing works better than L’oreal Fresh Dust. I’ve tried no less than every single dry shampoo on the market, and this one is literal magic. It basically delivers a blowout via a spray can.” Yes, please! Both ladies are also fans of the post-workout messy bun. (If you, like me, are challenged when it comes to producing a hairstyle that doesn’t look like a four-year-old’s work, you can find a tutorial here.)

You’re also going to need some cleansing face wipes to wipe off makeup (if you wear it) before the sweat session and get sweat off your face after. Waters likes Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths, and if your face turns bright red anytime you work out (my hand is raised), Rodger says these Giovanni Cosmetics wipes “smell like summer and calm red and inflamed skin after a tough workout.”

3. Pencil it in

A workday can spin in six different directions in the first hour, and by the time lunch comes around, you’re in the weeds, and getting out of the office — especially for a run — can feel impossible. Which is why, like all your other priorities, you should pencil your lunch-break runs into your calendar and treat them like a meeting (Jillian Michaels would be proud). The world will not crumble if you leave your desk for 30 minutes — promise.

4. Before you step foot out of the office, know where you’re going

Knowing your route on a lunch-break run is essential. First off, knowing where you’re going and about how long it will take you ensures you’ll be back at your desk when you need to be. Secondly, as Waters points out, if you don’t have a plan before you head out, you end up spending more time thinking about what to do, rather than just doing it, and that’s just inefficient. So, have a plan.

5. Sprint it out

When it comes to getting the most out of your limited amount of time, both Waters and Rodger are all about working quick bursts of speed — an efficient way to burn more calories in a short period of time — into lunch-break runs. You can work in speed in a number of ways: As Waters says, you can simply go “fast, slow, fast, slow” throughout your run, or you can end your run with a set of sprints, like the badass you are. And if you come across a steep hill or a set of stairs, take ’em on. Your glutes will thank you later.

6. Don’t you dare feel bad about sneaking away from your desk for a few minutes

If you feel guilty for sneaking out of the office to get your sweat on, take note of my favorite tip from Waters: “Smile more during your workout, at others and to yourself. You are awesome for taking time to do something good for yourself. Be proud.” Taking time for both your physical health and your mental health will only make you better at your job — and science agrees!

And there you have it friends: Six tips to help you master the art of the lunch-break run. Got more tips? Shout ‘em out in the comments section below!

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