Improving health and fitness are often cited as the main reasons people start running.
When I started a proper running regime, running at least 4 times a week, I noticed surprising benefits in areas of my life other than my health and fitness. One of those areas was my career.
Can running really be good for your career?
Of course, it can! Another great reason you should adopt a running habit.
Here are the top 6 ways, from my experience, running can benefit your career.
Perseverance means you persist, don’t easily give up, and overcome any barriers standing in between you and your goal. Running develops your perseverance.
Running presents many obstacles that make you more perseverant. Climbing a steep hill – which looks to you like a mountain – after running a few miles, overcoming stich pain, braving the elements to run through rain and sometimes snow, are all examples of being perseverant.
Perseverance means not shying away from a challenge, tackling it head on because you know the results will be worthwhile. You’ll develop a higher tolerance to issues, throwing yourself into problems. Your performance in the workplace will undoubtedly change.
At work, you won’t give up when your computer refuses to connect to the internet, or a client becomes hesitant before signing the deal, or when something just doesn’t go to plan. Giving up is no longer you. You’re better than that.
You have powerful references from your runs to support the fact you are a perseverant person. You throw yourself into problems, creatively solving them with determination. Whatever it takes.
Running has given you perseverance
2. Improves your organisation
Being organised means you prepare for and arrange your life systematically, with some order. Sounds simple right? Many of us aren’t organised. We miss deadlines, forget things, don’t prepare properly and choose not to plan for what’s important.
Start running. Save time and learn from my mistakes below. You and your career will benefit from the new, organised you.
When I first started running, I thought all you must do is chuck on a pair of shoes and away you go. What a mistake. I didn’t have the right shoes (or any other running clothes), place running in my schedule, a running plan, correct nutrition, or discipline in my running habits.
The results of my poor organisation surfaced in my first half marathon, where I injured myself, finished slower than expected, and didn’t enjoy myself.
After a break, I started running again with great organisation habits in mind. I started planning, developed discipline, monitored my progress, got the right gear and focused on my nutrition. The result? I finished 3 half marathons in 3 months in times I was incredibly proud of.
These organisation skills transferred to my work; I started planning for tasks properly, crafting and following a schedule, monitoring my progress. I performed better and felt in control. Start running, to make you more organised in your work.
At work, we’re being asked to perform tasks and deliver results which require confidence. Whether you work in a bar, on a farm, in sales or for an IT company, you need to feel comfortable in your skin and believe in yourself to do the job. Sounds cliché, I know.
You can be the best, most skilled worker in the world. If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s unlikely you’re going to perform at your best.
Running helps you develop massive confidence. Not only does it improve fitness, help you lose weight and define your figure, it gives you massive certainty in your ability to perform.
Nothing beats the feeling of pacing the last 100m of a decent run, sweating from your efforts, a sense of pride flowing through you. You put in the work and completed the task. Naturally, this confident belief in your own abilities will transfer to the workplace.
In the workplace, the fitter, healthier you, more certain in your abilities, will be more confident.
Your running efforts will become a factual reference you can do a job well, so you’re now more confident in your communications with colleagues and customers, willingness to face problems, your ability to lead. Run for increased confidence in your career.
4. Working under pressure
This is 2018. Everything is instant, everyone wants things done now. Not tomorrow, now.
Whatever industry you’re in, things can change at the drop of a hat. I used to work in a restaurant as a waiter, where a seemingly quiet evening could descend into chaos in a matter of seconds, customers flying in left, right and centre. If you can’t handle high pressure work situations, you’re going to struggle.
When you exercise, you subject your body to stress. Your heart beats quicker as it frantically tries to meet increased demand for oxygen in the body and the brain. After time, your body can cope with exercise better and simultaneously increases its stress threshold. In other words, it takes more for a habitual runner to feel pushed than it does for a non-runner.
Translate this to your career. If you are regularly exposed to stress, through running, you do not feel overwhelmed by fast moving environment. Your familiarity with stress will allow you to understand your negative emotions and respond to surprises better than a non-runner.
Run to work better under pressure.
5. Better social skills
‘Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success’. Paul. J. Mayer
Introverted or extroverted, the ability to communicate, connect with and influence colleagues and customers, is crucial for a successful career. How can you learn and develop social skills?
Running is a social activity. There are so many opportunities to meet new people and develop existing relationships. Join a club, participate in parkrun, join a running forum, start a Facebook group, compete in events, raise money for charity. Try and do at least 1 sociable running activity. The skills you’ll acquire will pay huge dividends to your career.
Not only can running make you more socially literature, you can use it as a strategy for developing relationships in at work. Why not enter your department for a charity run, or invite colleagues to a parkrun event? Running can give you better social skills.
6. More energy
In our working lives, we need a positive attitude and lots of energy to perform at our best. Think of a store assistant working an 8-hour shift. They need to speak to customers, operate the till, and make the store presentable. A dependable energy supply for our work, is a must.
However, we often wake up feeling tired and groggy, gulp down a few cups of caffeine, then mentally crash at midday.
I’ve been there, not fun. Whilst I still love a cup of coffee, it’s no longer the be all and end all to my energy supply.
Running increases demand for oxygen consumption, meaning more oxygen enters your blood stream and circulates through your body. Eventually, your lungs will become conditioned, and deliver more oxygen to the blood stream, with a lot less effort. They become stronger. Think of a runner’s body like a fuel-efficient car; with more miles (energy) per gallon of fuel (oxygen).
Running means your brain and muscles easily access the fuel needed for active, energetic, sharp performance, long after your running workout.
Regularly running changed my working experience. It helped me develop a natural, sustainable energy supply, lasting late into the day, meaning I could happily perform best at work, still having fuel to enjoy the evenings.
Not only will this increased energy benefit your career, you and your close relations will enjoy the energetic, new you too.
Start running for more energy.
7. Improved mood
When we exercise, our brain releases feel good chemicals like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, meaning we feel good both during and long after exercising. Endorphins limit our perceptions of pain, dopamine causes a pleasure sensation, serotonin regulates your mood. These
This potent cocktail of neurotransmitters is the equivalent to drinking the elixir of happiness.
Being friendly, approachable and positive, all contribute to career success. Feeling happier at work will improve your customer service, make colleagues like you more and increase the enjoyment you get out of your job.
Run more to improve your mood.