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Stories from the run commute: Running downtown Toronto

The Beaches - Toronto

When stuck in slow-moving traffic or on an inefficient bus commute, many runners know the feeling of wondering how much faster it would be to just run instead. Toronto runner Allegra Young put it to the test. “I was sick and tired of being stuck on the hot, sweaty [transit rides] with grumpy, tired commuters,” says Young. “I was convinced that I could run the distance to work in time it took me to get there on the TTC so I tried it out.”

Since then, she makes a habit of running home from work three days out of five. Sure enough, it gets her home quicker and it’s a more enjoyable way to spend the time. Sometimes she will opt for the morning commute and shower at the nearby Goodlife Fitness gym, but as a person who prefers running in the evening, changing into workout clothing and heading out at 5:30 is more rewarding.

The route goes from downtown Toronto at Yonge and Wellesley Street east towards The Beaches. That’s about 7.5K for Young. She doesn’t always take the same roads though and switches it up to explore different parts of each neighbourhood. While most who run commute bring small backpack, Young brings the absolute minimum and therefore has no need. With her, she’ll have her bank cards, keys and her iphone. Usually she’s listening to a podcast as she takes in the aromatic scents of Little India’s spices and the wafting smells of roasting chicken in Greek Town on the Danforth.

One of the big rewards for Young is that when she gets home, there’s time for other important items on the “to do” Allegra Younglist since she’s done the commute and workout all in one. “I love that I don’t have to get home first, unpack, change, perhaps get distracted with a chore or a snack. I also like that there’s no pre- or post-workout time like there is at the gym. I just hit the pavement until my commute is over.”

The extra time she uses for other fitness essentials like getting in strength training or a yoga session. Since Young is new to her east Toronto neighbourhood, she had been tasked with time-consuming chores that come with moving a new home. Unpacking and renovating swallowed up big chunks of free time, having the workout over and done with was a major scheduling bonus.

To new run commuters, Young says to not hesitate. “Do it!” she says. “I can’t overstate how freeing it is to either start or finish your day commuting on your own terms rather than on public transportation.”