My daily commute or how I plan to average 70 kilometers a week.

I am a big fan of winter and snow and the cold does not scare me. My holidays include heading to YellowKnife in the middle of winter and enjoying the frigid temperatures – except that with all this global warming finding cold places to visit is getting difficult. But what I don’t enjoy about the winter is all the slosh, and all the mess from melting snow in the city. So during the winter, although I continue to run, I don’t walk to the office. You see I live a mere 5 kilometers away from the office and walking back and forth between the office and my home is a great start and end of the day routine. Since I started working – and that’s two decades ago – I have never lived more than 5 kilometers from my work – with one exception which we will not spend time discussing 🙂


Queen West to Queen East

I have been a walking commuter for a month now (since the snow melted and spring arrived) and nothing stops my walking – not even the rain!

The rain is just about here!

I headed to the office on a holiday Monday and got totally soaked heading back home with my dog. I had not gotten that soaked since childhood! Water was in my shoes, socks, my pants, underwear … well pretty much everywhere and standing in the living room I formed a puddle of water large enough that it could have been used as a small swimming pool for a 5 year old!

Totally soaked!


Toronto’s streets are incredibly quiet when you venture out early in the morning. When I manage to leave the house at 6 AM, I own Queen street. There isn’t a soul outside and pretty much everyone is just about hitting the snooze button on their alarm clock. But when I leave late – say 8 AM or later – well, the hustle and bustle of Queen street is so unbearable that sometimes I duck into Graffiti alley to get all the way to work. You see I live on Queen West and work on Queen Est. So I have an all Queen Street daily commute. Never a dull moment.

Last month I started using Runkeeper to keep track of my running and walking. My running this year has been pretty pathetic – but I will be fixing that shortly. As I started using Runkeeper I started to make an effort to walk to the office every day and walk back home every day. That’s 10 kilometers a day. Each and every day. What I really liked seeing in Runkeeper was an uninterrupted week of walking to the office.   When my walks got interrupted you know I was on the road and not home! I started enjoying entering my walk data, watching the kilometers accumulate and realizing that I actually looked forward to the morning data entry routine! I had downloaded Runkeeper for my iphone a while back but my iphone crashed and killed all my apps and has since been refusing to sync – more on my iphone battles later but suffice it to say that this old iphone’s days are numbered!

So how does this bring me to improving my running? Well simple: I am interested in building mileage and would like to see my average weeks include 50 to 70 kilometers in a combination of walking and running. When I manage to commute to the office daily, that’s almost 50 kilometers in a week (provided I walk both to the office and back home). And any running that I do tops that off! So that’s what I call building mileage. I am not focused on how quickly I can run or walk to the office but focused on doing it every day. Once that routine and discipline is set in stone, I will start looking at how to improve my time.

There is something pretty awesome about discovering the city you live in by commuting to work and re-seeing all the buildings and streets that you take for granted when driving. Walking brings me closer to my city. I also get to discover awesome graffiti along the way and the odd abandoned objects.

So here is to building a 70 kilometer week! And how is your commute going?






  1. Kevin Jackson

    I truly admire and appreciate your perspective, of course my commute involves three flights of stairs, and about twenty feet horizontal. Maybe we should move down into the city so that we can walk miles and miles to work every day…

  2. Stephen Desroches

    Soaked but still smiling.

    You’re making me feel bad for driving but I’m 6km away uphill so that makes it ok right? (I actually tried walking a couple days per week last summer)

  3. Leila Boujnane

    @Kevin Jackson: oh you are too funny! Yes, you should definitely move so that you can commute. It is healthier that way 🙂 I bet you work in your pyjamas!

  4. Leila Boujnane

    @Stephen Desroches oh no uphill is not an excuse. Being uphill means that it is downhill one way, therefor faster to get home. Start walking. Imagine how many awesome photographs you will take during your daily commute! Just imagine. Do it!

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