How Millennials Like to Work and Run  

Week 4

Week 4 Mileage: 31

Long Run Distance:  13


I don’t just run to run, and I don’t just work to work.

I run for the health benefits, which is probably the most common reason cited to run, but I also run for the social camaraderie,  for good conversations, and for the endorphins and productivity it produces. I’m sure there are more reasons, but for now, that will do. Oh, and because it provides good ideas for blog posts.

I work, as many primarily do, in order to provide for my family along with my husband. But I also work to try to make a difference in people’s lives, for the social interaction, and if I’m honest with myself, to try to prove or justify my worth.  And it also provides for good blogging content.

In reality though, I could combine my list for running and working into one, because I talk about work when I run and a talk about running when I work.  Many of the reasons overlap or are one in the same, and they all roll into how and why I do life the way I do.

I happen to, also, (just barely) be a millennial. One of the stand-out features and values you will see in the literature about my generation is the need and desire for work-life balance, or what I would prefer to call work-life integration.

In a Runner’s World article and another corresponding article in the print version of the magazine, a study about what millennial runners want emphasized the surge in millennials gravitating towards the half-marathon distance. Making up 43% of the running population, millennials run primarily as a way to stay fit, not primarily to compete, and as a way to do fun too with pre and post race parties and travel destinations. The half marathon distance is the perfect one to train well, have fun, and not let running take over your life. The Disney Princess race is cited as drawing the most attention for millennials, for all of these reasons. The article concludes by saying, “Here’s a plan for anyone who wants to train for 13.1 like a millennial- running without giving up other activities you love.”

And just like millennials don’t want to sacrifice other parts of their life in order to be able to run and race, they also don’t want to sacrifice and segregate for the sake of work.

Work isn’t and shouldn’t be stand-alone activity and running isn’t either.  It’s a way to incorporate and integrate.

Here are some ideas for creating an integrated culture in the work place to help spark not only millennials’ engagement, but also your entire workforce:

  • Offer and make community service opportunities a part of work.
  • Set-up a mechanism for interest groups to form. Who knows, a running group may emerge.
  • Offer flexibility in scheduling in order for employees to structure their day that allows for integration of other life activities.
  • Larger employers offer one-stop services on-site like fitness centers, daycares, cafes and even dry cleaning and massage services on site.  For more on this and how it can be justified with the business bottom line, check out Work Rules!  for insights from inside Google.
  • And quite simply and most importantly, hire and train leaders who are focused on seeing employees first as people, with lives in and outside of work.  This promotes leaders to ask and care about people’s whole lives.

You don’t necessarily have to create a princess race to draw engagement, but all of these things, if done right, lead to more engagement in the workplace, which has been tied time and time again to better results.

What leads to more engagement for you in the workplace and in life?


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Mary Ila Ward

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