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Lunch Breaks for Runners

Take this quiz to find out how to normalize a midday run from your office.

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When the days are jam-packed and training time in short supply, sometimes a lunchtime run is the only way to get your day’s miles in. Midday runs have a lot of other benefits too—better visibility, warmer weather and a pick-me-up to avoid an afternoon slump are all reasons a noon run is ideal.

But not every workplace is a runner-friendly one. Though some workplaces will barely flinch when you punch out for an hour-long run, others will have a sea of turned heads when you walk through the lobby in neon sneakers. How do you normalize your noontime workout? It depends on what kind of office you’re in. Here’s how to find out:

1. What kind of outfit are you allowed to wear to work?
a. It’s pretty casual—jeans are fine.
b. I’m usually in a button-up shirt and slacks.
c. I own a Monday-to-Friday lineup of power suits.
d. There are strict rules—a uniform or dress code must be followed.

2. What do people in your office typically do on their lunch breaks?
a. Play basketball.
b. Grab Chipotle and discuss who got the final rose on last night’s show.
c. Close deals.
d. Lunch break? What lunch break?

3. You say you’re coming in late on Monday because you’re running a marathon on Sunday and want to sleep in. How does your boss respond?
a. “You should take the whole day off. You’ll be sore and tired!”
b. “How about you work from home that afternoon?”
c. “Will you still be responding to e-mails, though?”
d. “I wish you wouldn’t let your weekend hobbies affect your work.”

If you got …
You lucky duck—you work in a runner-friendly office! If your office environment is casual and your boss is supportive, chances are you can stash a change of clothes in your desk and check off a few miles during downtime. Don’t abuse this gift, though—keep your workouts short, and only when you’re sure you aren’t needed at your desk.

Chances are, you’re the only one running on your lunch break. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Try to set up a group run at your workplace, where you recruit your colleagues to register and train for a 5K together. You’ll normalize your lunchtime run in your office as well as build a stronger rapport with your colleagues.

A corporate office is all about structure—and that can work in your favor. Talk with your human resources department about their workplace wellness program—many offices are seeing the value of supporting the physical health of their employees by setting up on-site gyms or providing discounts to fitness centers near the worksite.

The more rules you have in your office, the more likely your company is trying to project a certain image—and a sweaty runner likely isn’t it. Be discreet about where you change before and after your run, and choose exits where you’re least likely to bump into clients. Take your cell phone in case you’re needed, and choose routes where you’ll be able to loop back to your office quickly.