Why Marathoners Make the Best Employees

Marathoners make good employees

Can I toot my own horn a little? We marathoners are a pretty amazing bunch.

I’ll admit we are a little crazy, we train for months so that we can pay for the privilege of running 26 miles. Terrible conditions? Cold, heat, rain, sleet, snow? That is no match for our drive to complete the marathon.

Training for a marathon does more than improve our lung capacity and teach us optimal hydration strategies. It develops skills that improve us as people and make us more productive and efficient at home and in the workplace.

In short, marathon runners are awesome.

Marathon Employee

Why Marathoners Make the Best Employees

Many runners may not even realize they are practicing transferable skills. They (hopefully) aren’t skills new to marathoners, but the marathon training process is a chance to see a direct line from action to impact.

We Set Goals and Develop Plans To Achieve Them

No one shows up for a marathon on race day unless they’ve planned it far in advance. They have set a goal, found a training plan, and followed the plan. They have dealt with the obstacles that got in the way. Faced doubts and bouts of low energy, but always stuck with the plan.

Goal-setting and plan-making skills only grow stronger with use. The skills we used to get to the finish line are the same ones we need to complete major work projects. Complete a project on a crazy deadline? Exceed ambitious sales goals?

Set a goal and make a plan. It’s old hat for a marathoner.

We Totally Rock Time Management

Marathon training takes some serious time. For even the fastest of runners, it is a part-time job.

Many marathoners work a full-time job, drive the kids to and from soccer practice, do 3 loads of laundry, make dinner AND still find time to run 8 miles on a weekday. That takes some serious calendar management and prioritization.

Get it all done and still have time to spare? A marathoner can do it.

We Are Used to Getting Feedback and Adjusting

Marathon trainees learn pretty quickly that things don’t always go according to plan. We train and fuel one way and it results in a terrible run, so we change things up and try again. We look back at what we did that may have had a negative influence on a run and we adjust accordingly. Or we look for the things that went right so we can do more of that.

Those same skills are a great benefit in the workplace. Presentation didn’t go well? Change up the message, maybe work on the delivery.

Review, adjust, and get back out there and try again.

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We Know It Isn’t Always Fun

Part of the marathon training process is learning to be uncomfortable and unhappy, but doing the work anyway. We have to train when the weather is terrible. We need to train when we don’t feel like training.

Marathoners know that the process isn’t always going to be fun, but pushing through the not-fun parts leads you to the results that you want to accomplish.

Every project has stuff that no one really wants to do, but the not-sexy day-to-day chores still need to get done. We marathoners may still not enjoy those bits, but we understand (and expect) them.

The work needs to get done.

We Know You Get Out of the Work What You Put In

You can’t fake your way through marathon training. You do the work, you (usually) have a good race.

But if you don’t really do the work? If you slack on your mileage, don’t fuel properly, or bail on runs when you just aren’t feeling it? You will have a bad race. It’s as simple as that.

It’s the same in the workplace, you can’t just show up for a meeting without putting in the work. A 100% impromptu presentation? That’s not going to go well.

You need to put in the work to get the results you want, there are no shortcuts.

Employee Marathoners

Are there other reasons marathoners make great employees?

Employee Marathoners


Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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