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Turning pink on that lunchtime jog? It’s because you’re working hard


As a person who has terrified many innocent cafe-owners, dog walkers, passers-by and my own children with my incandescent head after a jog, I can approach this question with great empathy, quite a lot of experience, and maybe a couple of tips.

A lot of people will tell you that going bright red while exercising is all about genetics: you have sensitive or pale skin, you have more capillaries in your face than others, those capillaries remain dilated for longer, and so on.

That’s almost certainly true, but it’s also because you’re working hard. I have to admit, I’m more than a little bit sceptical when I see people out on a 20-degree day in tracksuit pants and a jumper, shuffling along un-flushed and barely sweating.

Anyway, my broader, less cynical, point is if you’re working hard, feeling better, improving your health and enjoying it, you definitely shouldn’t stop.

Now, I’ve never discovered a way of stopping my face from doing the whole red tomato thing after a jog. However, I have noticed that if I set off in very cool conditions I end up a moderately startling red, but not an inadvertently-stopping-traffic red.

So I wonder whether you could switch your jogging time so that it isn’t in the middle of the day. Perhaps before or, as we near daylight saving time, after work might be better.


If that doesn’t suit your schedule, another idea is shorter, more frequent runs. If you’re going for, say, a 25- or 30-minute trot once or twice a week, perhaps increase the pace a little bit but aim for 15 or 20 minutes every three or four days. (There’s even some really interesting research on frequent, high-intensity training of no more than 10 minutes being hugely beneficial.) The advantage, of course, is more time to cool down before you return to the office.

The other option is to keep doing what you’re doing, but simply not rush your recovery (and your shower) after your jog. Take the time you need to cool right off, return to a hue tolerable to everyone, and then make up the extra time at the end of the day.

If your boss has been supportive to this point, I’m sure he’ll be supportive in letting you extend your lunch break by a few minutes.

Yours in ruddy solidarity.

Lunch breaks. Toilet breaks. Career breaks. As long as it’s work-related, Work Therapy can help you with it. Send your question to

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