Get a lunchtime appetite for running in the #4miler

EVER thought about upping your fitness levels but just can’t find enough hours in the day? Well, here is an initiative just for you.

City.A.M have teamed up with Garmin, leaders in satellite navigation, to bring you the #4miler – giving City workers the chance to reclaim their lunch hours by keeping fit in a healthy team environment, while also helping to boost productivity.

Simply by gathering up your colleagues and planning a four-mile loop to run in your lunch break, you’re ready to go, and with the help of a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS sports watch, you can calculate how far and how fast you have un.

Chris Merrell, UK Marketing Communications Manager at Garmin, said: “With working days feeling like they’re getting longer and time constraints from home life and other commitments taking up more of your evenings, finding time to stay in shape is becoming more of a challenge. The #4miler helps to make the most of your one guaranteed hour of the day that’s your own.

“As an employer, making provision for employees to have flexibility in their lunch hour and shower facilities and enable hygienic working conditions, will also result in improved productivity and motivation in those tougher post-lunch hours.”

Setting up your own lunchtime #4miler is easy – it takes just four simple steps.

Firstly, create a free account at http://connect.garmin.com, plan your four-mile route, run it, and then upload your race details to your Garmin Connect account, where you can share with and challenge your colleagues.

To sign up, visit www.garmin4milechallenge.co.uk and let the challenge begin!

Q&A: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHAT IS IT?
It’s an inter-office running competition, or indeed challenge, supported by City A.M., which aims to improve the fitness and productivity of London’s business community by encouraging them to do a healthy lunchtime run.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
Participating businesses can enter teams into the #4miler, and each team will set up their own four-mile loop on the Garmin Connect website. The eight individuals in each team will endevaour to run the fastest loop.

DO YOU NEED A GARMIN FORERUNNER WATCH TO PARTICIPATE?
You can run the Garmin #4miler without a Forerunner – you can even manually enter your activity into Garmin Connect to share and compare your running data if you'd rather “try before you buy”.

However, running with the aid of a GPS sportswatch, it will ensure your results are accurate and your running is made simpler.

As such, Sweatshop, the UK’s largest specialist running shop, have created a special reader offer for City A.M. readers – 15% off 4 x Forerunner 110s. Simply quote #4MILER online at Sweatshop.co.uk or visit stores.

The offer expires on 30 September 2010.

For more information and to sign up your office visit www.garmin4milechallenge.co.uk

THE INVESTEC TEAM | CASE STUDY
INVESTEC boss Robert Evans believes the Garmin #4miler will not only bring his workforce closer together – but will also help increase productivity in the office.

Banker Evans says a lunchtime run around the City streets leaves workers more relaxed and revitalised for a busy afternoon in the office.

More than 50 Investec staff members put their name down for the Garmin #4miler challenge before joint team champions Evans and Richard Johnson settled upon a pre-registered eight.

They are now joined by FJ Eigelaar, Holly Cracknell, Slade Spalding, Omar Elhag, Chris Huddleston and David Knott and City.A.M. will be following their progress in the coming weeks.

“There was enormous interest,” Evans said. “We are quite a sporty bank anyway, but I didn’t expect quite so much interest.

“It just goes to show what a good scheme it is. It’s great to get out from under your desk at lunchtime and use your time wisely to keep fit.

“In my experience, I find that a half-hour run in the lunch break really increases productivity in the office because you feel refreshed and enlivened.

“It’s also helped bring us closer together as a team. I’ve got to know people I wouldn’t normally bump into in the office, and maybe when the scheme becomes more popular with other firms, it could help networking throughout the City, and maybe even a bit of competition if those shall wish.”

Evans, himself, completed the London Marathon back in April and is using the 4miler to train for his second marathon, in Leicester, later in the year.

“Personally speaking, it’s great to get the extra training in, but it doesn’t have to just suit regular runners, it’s equally perfect for those who just want to stay in shape but don’t always have the time to do so,” he added. “It’s also great to have the Garmin watch. It’s a really nice piece of kit and will really help me with my training.”

The Investec team have tried and tested a number of four-mile loops through the City, but the run along the embankment to Westminster seems to be the most popular.

“We’re looking at running at least twice a week, on a Tuesday and Thursday, so keeping motivated is key,” he added, “so we thought a scenic route along the river would help keep people interested – especially when the weather isn’t too kind.”

THE WATCH:
GARMIN FORERUNNER 110
THIS sporty accessory makes keeping track of your running fitness easier than ever. At a reasonable price, the watch offers lightning-fast GPS tracking to monitor your run’s distance, automatic lap-counting and the ability to connect to Garmin’s server to store information about your runs as you progress.

The no-frills design fits comfortably around your wrist, weighing a light 52 grammes while storing enough battery life for eight hours’ constant use – or three weeks on standby. Its 1560-pixel screen enables you to take in data about your run at a glance.

For a little extra, Garmin also throws in a heart-rate monitor and calorie-burning counter, so that you know exactly when you’ve run off the summer's latest barbecue binge. In all, the forerunner offers fitness freaks the convenience and pinpoint accuracy of training on the treadmill while running on the road.

HYDE PARK RUN - 4.09 MILES
Start at the Cumberland Gate entrance and run along N Carriage Drive, heading west until you reach the far end of the park. Then run down The Broad Walk towards Hyde Park Gate. Cut through the park, over the Serpentine and then run along Serpentine Road towards Mayfair. Run up Park Lane and end where you started.

CANARY WHARF - 3.76 MILES
Start on the South Colonnade and run east, up towards Trafalgar Way. Turn down Preston Road, which will later turn into Manchester Road after 1.5 miles. Cut through Millwall Park and past Mudchute, then run up E Ferry Road onto Limeharbour, hitting three miles around Marsh Wall South Quay. Turn left, then run up Admirals Way towards Heron Quays and back up to the South Colonnade.

CITY RUN - 3.93 MILES
Start at Bank, up Poultry and along Cheapside, then turn up past St. Paul’s, doing a small loop down Gresham Str and towards London Wall. Turn left to the Museum of London and run up London Wall up to Moorgate onto City Road. Turn right on Leonard Str before you hit Old Street roundabout. Cut back towards Moorgate until you hit London Wall again. Turn right down Old Broad Str, run around the Bank of England.

INVESTEC’S TEAM RUN
4 MILES
This run starts at Investec’s office on 2 Gresham Street and cuts through the City to the Millennium Bridge for a lovely run along the South Bank of the Thames. Cross over Tower Bridge and run along the Thames until Southwark Bridge Road. Then head back into the City, hitting Cheapside and for a small loop around Gresham Street, ending back at the office.