Getting up to speed on the benefits of a running commute: Meet Ian Buckley, a Tax Inspector at HMRC

We caught up with Ian Buckley, a Tax Inspector at HMRC, who had been commuting from Huddersfield into Leeds using a combination of running, cycling and catching the train.

We talk about the benefits of walking and cycling short, local journeys, but running tends to get overlooked as a viable way of getting from A to B. 

At the start of lockdown, we caught up with Ian Buckley, a Tax Inspector at HMRC, who had been commuting from Huddersfield into Leeds using a combination of running, cycling and catching the train.

A commitment to change

In 2015 I decided it was about time I got fit and healthy, as opposed to wallowing on the couch avoiding activity at all costs. 

I dug out my old mountain bike and started cycling the 2.5 miles each way from my house to Huddersfield Train Station each day. 

I decided that I wanted to get some more miles in, so I bought a road bike on the Cycle to Work Scheme and started cycling to Dewsbury or Mirfield train stations to build up my mileage before catching the train into Leeds. 

Eventually, I thought I would attempt the whole distance, cycling the 21 miles into Leeds from Huddersfield and getting the train home again in the evening before building up to cycling both ways and clocking up about 150 miles each week.

Putting the brakes on cycling

One morning I hit a patch of diesel on the bike, took a tumble and broke my wrist, which put  a sudden stop to my cycling.

It was a shock to the system going from 150 miles a week to nothing at all overnight and that’s where the running came in. 

I had previously thought about doing a triathlon but up until that point I absolutely loathed running and was doing everything I could to put it off.

I was, however, missing my morning endorphin rush and in despair about my lack of exercise. 

The doctor said I couldn’t cycle with a broken wrist but I could run, so I downloaded the Couch to 10k app on my phone, put some good tunes on and I was on my way. 

I built up the running in the same way I did with cycling – starting with home to the train station in Huddersfield, gradually adding in some extra loops en route, before branching out to Dewsbury and Mirfield train stations again.  

Now, I sometimes run to the swimming pool in the morning and generally mix it up – running a couple of days and cycling a couple of days. 

I’ve not yet run all the way into Leeds but it’s definitely on my to do list. 

Combining exercise with a busy schedule

I have three kids at home and between helping to look after them and running the house there’s not a great deal of time when I get home in the evening. 

Building my training into the commute means I have to get up early but it means I can make time for myself without it eating into family time. 

Running or cycling to work sets me up for the day and I feel good about myself. It’s some set time each day when I can get some fresh air and relax. 

I’m not sat at my desk concentrating and I get to see other things.  It’s an escape from the general stresses and strains of daily life. 

Ian’s advice to others?

It’s something I would recommend to anyone, if they possibly can, to just go for it, give it a try for yourself.

One, it saves me money.  Two, it’s good for the environment.  Three, I’m keeping fit and healthy. 

If you buy a bike on the Cycle to Work scheme it doesn’t have to be expensive and running is even cheaper still. 

Combining public transport and cycling is ok if you avoid the busiest trains.  That’s when running comes into its own – not worrying about getting your bike on the train.