Running and Working and Nonstinking
May 7, 2017 1:56 PM   Subscribe

You are a runner (possibly a Runner 5) who sweats when you run. You are a runner in a professional environment who wears slacks and suchlike at work most days, even though you are not what they call "customer-facing". You are a runner whose workplace does not have showers and is not near a place that has showers. How do you run at your lunchtime (or other midworkdaytime) and go back to work without being a runner that people avoid all afternoon?
posted by Etrigan to Human Relations (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
A brief sink shower of the smelliest areas (armpits and so on) using some Dr. Bronner's or other liquid soap followed by toweling off with a good absorbent microfiber travel type towel followed by a once over with baby wipes would probably be sufficient depending on how intense your body's smell is. Above all I think you just want to get good and dry before you change so that sweat doesn't soak into your professional clothes.
posted by Gymnopedist at 2:19 PM on May 7, 2017

I use "cleansing wipes" from Target that have argan oil and coconut oil and presumably some kind of soap or antibacterial thing, and I use them on my armpits. Dry shampoo in hair. Wash my face. That pretty much takes care of it. I'm pretty sweaty but not very stinky so YMMV.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:23 PM on May 7, 2017

I've never had awesome luck with this, but agreed with Gymnopedist. Baby wipes can help (don't flush them!).

Another tip I can give is to have a long cooldown after running. Stretch and give yourself time for your heart rate and body temperature to recover. Otherwise you may end up bursting back into sweats once you're dressed.
posted by Paper rabies at 2:24 PM on May 7, 2017 [7 favorites]

Merino wool clothing for your run and a merino wool undershirt at work. Cooling and guaranteed stink free.
posted by halogen at 2:31 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

To be honest, this is why I run before work, or I pack stuff to run/commute home.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:48 PM on May 7, 2017 [7 favorites]

Action Wipes! Literally exactly for this, I have SUPER sensitive skin and didn't react to them, and I felt they left less of a...slime feeling that actual wipes meant for baby butts.

They're big and kill stinky germs and like, surprisingly close to showering.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:10 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

Nthing wipes. Go over everything at least twice using multiple wipes. Let sweat dry before wiping, and wiped skin dry before getting dressed. Wear different underwear and different everything else for running.

If your hair gets sweaty, wear a sweatband. If it is long, dry shampoo or consider a different hairstyle after lunch. (If I work out with long hair in a ponytail, when I take it down and brush it out it often looks really nice, ymmv). If your hair is short, maybe give it a rinse and shake it out, to get the sweat out? And consider a spritz of a good-smelling, non-cloying leave-in.

Keep your clothes in a place where the smell won't get all over. Make sure your work clothes are clean.

See if you can find a one-person bathroom to do all this.
posted by ramenopres at 3:23 PM on May 7, 2017

Towel, cleansing wipes, baby powder (careful not to get it on your clothes), dry shampoo (Not Your Mother's brand comes with high recommendations). Keep deodorant in your bag too, obviously. Make sure you have a good gym bag with a separate compartment for sneakers that is also ventilated; and contains a separate ventilated compartment to stash damp clothes in after your run.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:08 PM on May 7, 2017

I used to do a 20 km ride to work and back during the height of Toronto summer and I developed a simple system.

Change of clothes including underwear, a towel, and a hook in pannier bags (backpacks make you sweat more).
I would get into work early and put the towel on my chair and cool down for 5-10 minutes so I stopped sweating.
Grab the deodorant in my desk and take my pannier bags to the bathroom. Hang the bag up in the stall with the carried hook. Put the fresh clothes on the hook built into the door. Change out and put the cycling clothes in the backpack (inside a plastic bag so the backpack doesn't end up stinking itself or stink up your office. I seriously oppose the vented shoe bags and gym bags - you may not stink but your workspace will - let your clothes breath when you get home - not at work).
Towel yourself down - be thorough - this is the key step. Towel goes in a plastic bag as well.
Apply deodorant liberally - pits, a swipe across the stomach and a swipe across the lower back.
Put on clean clothing.

Start the work day.

Reverse to go home - your cycling clothes will stink on the ride home but who cares? Have several sets so you can go without doing laundry for at least a few days.
posted by srboisvert at 4:22 PM on May 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've read that you only become stinky due to microbes and such, so that if you shower right before your run, you'll remain non-stinky for a few hours. Furthermore, apparently cotton is also a good way to go.

More importantly, whaaaaat up Runner 5! Raise the gates!
posted by adrianhon at 4:30 PM on May 7, 2017 [7 favorites]

Nthing wipes. And this probably goes without saying, but bring clean underwear - if you change back into your work clothes but still have to wear the sweaty unders you ran in, you'll feel gross.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:33 PM on May 7, 2017

Bring a face towel in a large Ziploc bag, plus fresh socks and undies. After your run, soak and wring the towel in the sink. In the bathroom stall, remove running clothes and use them to absorb any sweat. Use the wrung-out towel to wipe down, change.

(Shaving underarms (or closely trimming if that'd be unusual for you) might help, too.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 5:25 PM on May 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bottle of rubbing alcohol, small washcloth, deodorant. The alcohol, deodorant, and a stack of clean washcloths live in my desk drawer with my running clothes. Soak the washcloth in hot or warm water, splash some alcohol on, wipe yourself down (face first, pits last), apply deodorant. Washcloth goes into the bag with the dirty exercise gear.

I bike to the train and run at lunch. I actually don't wear biking gear except in the summer and only on longer rides. My mile sprint to the train is too short to work up a sweat. If I can get in a 2+ mile ride in warmer weather, then I start thinking about wearing a biking shirt or t-shirt.
posted by JawnBigboote at 6:33 AM on May 8, 2017

In all but the coldest of weather, while the sink bath might work for most of me, my hair (longish: to the middle of my back) is soaked and literally dripping with sweat after 30-40 minutes of running. I'd need to also at least rinse, if not shampoo, my hair in the sink while there and then include an extra microfiber cloth or two just to semi-dry my hair. I would imagine all of this would take ~5-10 minutes of hogging the sink. I wouldn't particularly want to do this at my workplace. I wouldn't run at work if they didn't have showers. But then we do have showers and I still find it much less inconvenient to wake up early and run in the morning at home.
posted by nobeagle at 7:18 AM on May 8, 2017

I don't run or otherwise exercise at work, so I don't have a lot of specific recommendations. But I can confirm that rubbing alcohol under your arms will kill the bacteria-causing odor before you re-apply deodorant.
posted by thejanna at 8:44 AM on May 8, 2017

Thanks for all the suggestions. I went with the Action Wipes, started today, and an hour after the run, I am at least not offending my cubiclemates.
posted by Etrigan at 11:04 AM on May 15, 2017

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