A couple weeks after I started my job, my boss announced at a staff luncheon that I was hired the second I told her I was a runner. It wasn’t because we had this as common ground, but because in her experience, “runners where the most level headed and hard working employees that she’d hired in the past.”
I’m not exactly sure if I fit this mold perfectly, but I do think that running has shaped me in many ways that are positive and I see many of these attributes among my friends in the running community. The thing about these qualities is that they also are admired and utilized in the work place that can easily lead to job growth and success.
A similar situation happened with my running friend, Kathleen. She’s a first year at a huge company and noted that the CEO had never acknowledged her until the day he heard about her running her first marathon. The following Monday he approached her to ask her all about her experience and even bragged on her to the other staff. She went from being invisible to being the talk of the office.
I don’t know if you’ve watched Undercover Boss, but there’s also evidence to show that there must be some link between running and success. There are so many CEO’s and executives of these massive companies who also double as marathoners and triathletes. They’re always working out in hotel gyms or getting a jog in before beginning their day of managing fortune 500 companies.
So what’s the common thread? I’m not sure. I’m willing to bet there are studies out there on the socioeconomic links between running and success, but I’m also willing to bet that one leads to the other or vise versa.
Thinking out loud, my theory is that some people have personality traits that provoke them to be drawn to activities that are at least similar to running, or like me, people who started running early enough to shape them into adopting some of these leadership qualities. Again, I’m not necessarily the best example, but I’m hoping my inability to let go of goals and my stubborn drive pay off eventually.
Runners prove everyday that they are going to stick to something when they say they’re going to do it. They set their alarm in order to fit in a tempo run before the work day, they don’t give up on their training plans once committed, and they’re used to getting to their group runs on time because they know if it starts at 6:00, no one’s going to wait for them while waiting for their Garmin to sink.
2. Self Disciplined
It’s obvious that runners are self disciplined when it comes to getting in their miles, but think about everything that takes work outside of running. Not drinking the week leading up to the race, getting to bed on time so your body has enough sleep to heal itself, turning down the fast food before track workouts, and getting in the necessary auxiliary strength training.
I agree with my boss when she said runners are level headed. I think it’s true that they’re less likely to go from one extreme to the other. I think a lot of it stems from just having a hobby that clears your head and gives you endorphins, but it’s also learned through perseverance. While runners are likely to be well-versed in intervals, they also have what it takes to endure long runs and sometimes even marathons or ultras.
Running takes both mental and physical toughness. Running is physically taxing, but it’s also known to be a mental sport. Running 26.2 miles takes so much mental toughness and training for any trace takes a large amount of dedication.
We all know about endorphins, but I think it goes even beyond that. Not only are runners more likely to be happy, but they’re also more likely to go and find happiness for themselves. They aren’t the type to sit back and wait for things to happen.
6. Hard Working
I don’t think running is easy for anyone. Some runs are easier than others, but I’ve never met a runner who only goes at their comfortable pace. Half of the appeal of the sport is that it gives you something to strive for. When your speed pace becomes more comfortable, you make that pace more difficult until it’s time to adapt it again.
There are so many ebbs and flows in running. We go through periods of injury where we have to be patient in our progress in order to not further injure ourselves. We have to be patient in the times where we aren’t on the podium or PR’ing in that distance we’ve been working towards.
Runners in particular are also very aware of themselves. As a runner you’re always told to “listen to your body.” That also spills over to listening to your breath, being aware of your health, and coming to terms when you need help or need to take a break.
9. Results Focussed
Ever watch the finish line of a race and just count how few minutes or seconds people start walking over to check the results? If it’s a big race, you check your laptop or phone compulsively to see your ranking and time. You might have a training diary, a fitness tracker, or use Garmin Express to analyze every single improvement in your running. Runners are not only results focussed, they’re results obsessed.
Overall, runners are competitive. Not only with others, but also with themselves. It’s the drive behind the 7:00 a.m. track workouts, cross training, and extra mile.
Do you think running has given you these traits or do you think you started running because you possessed some of them?
How has running shaped you?
I think more than anything running has made me dedicated, strong, and happy.
What are some other traits of runners or other types of athletes?