Running is a passion of mine. So is HR. So why not marry my love for the two in written form?

Well, that problem is solved. :-)

I recently put together this collection of stories about running, business, and life. More than half of the content is brand new and not published anywhere else, and the book runs about 35 pages in length (which means virtually nothing in the world of Kindle/eBooks, as I’ve learned!)

It’s on sale for $3.99 right now. Here’s who should read it:

  • If you work in HR, are looking for some inspiration for running, and you like to run, then this will give you some of my stories (mostly humorous) to help you with that.
  • If you’re in HR and you don’t care about running, you can still get some great lessons here. You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy this. In fact, you might laugh even more at some of the silly things I do to try to compete in this sport…
  • If you’re just getting into HR, you will learn some timeless truths about this profession (many of which I’ve learned the hard way).
  • If you’re an expert HR pro, this will expose you to some of the deep passion in this field, whether in my story or in the profiles of other running/HR pros, and will help you revisit that spark that made you choose HR in the first place.

A special thanks goes out to those that responded to my recent survey and allowed me to highlight them in the book. They all share their own inspirational stories about how running makes them better at this human resources thing.

Thanks again for your support and I look forward to checking out the reviews. You can get a copy of What Running Taught Me about HR: Essays about running, work and life right here.

running tiring

Credit: melinthemilkyway.com

I had a fun idea while running the other day to put together some thoughts about running and HR. I have posted here several times in the past about how it has helped me to draw parallels between training for a race and practicing HR on a daily basis, and I’d like to put something together that would be of interest to the HR crowd in general and the running/HR crowd in particular.

So, that being said, would you be interested in helping? If you work in HR/recruiting and you run, you are exactly the person I’m looking for (click here for more info). If you’re not, but you would be interested in reading, click here for more info.

For those of you that look at us runners with a mixture of pity and disdain, no worries. We won’t make you run if you won’t make us stop. :-)

Have a great week, everyone!

runningIf you’ve followed for a while you know I enjoy running (I’m on MapMyRun, if you’d like to connect!) I’m also a bit of a nutrition nut due to a high school stint in wrestling, several years of running marathon distances and longer, and generally being a nerd. One thing that I have learned over time, and studies have backed up this observation, is that all of us consistently overestimate the calories we burn and underestimate our intake. Let’s repeat for clarity’s sake:

We consistently overestimate the calories we burn and underestimate what we consume.

It’s a part of being human to want to maximize our successes and minimize things that detract from our performance. As I thought through this idea (on a run, of course) I considered the parallel in the workplace when it comes to communication.

Managers overestimate the amount of communication provided and underestimate the amount of desired feedback.

Put simply, managers think they are communicating plenty. They think they are rockstars at communication and have it completely taken care of. At the same time their employees feel clueless and out of the loop. They are not getting sufficient information to do their jobs well and wish the manager would share more often.

Same principle: we want to maximize the activities we do (Wow! I communicated that well. I rock!) and minimize things that detract from that (Well, if the employees listened more then they would know what’s going on.)

One thing I do now for sure–in all of the thousands of employees I have met over the years, I have yet to come into contact with one that told me, “My manager communicates too much.”

When in doubt, share information. The best leaders know that sharing information is more powerful than holding onto it in the long run, even when you have to communicate with difficult team members.

What are your thoughts on manager feedback and communication? 

Okay, so I am dying to talk about the race I did last week, but I don’t have a good place for sharing running/race reports. So I’ll talk a little about the “why” and try to connect that back to wellness initiatives (or something). :-)

bourbon chase 2012

Me, Duke, and Tina looking very fresh before our first set of legs

What is the Bourbon Chase? 200 miles. 12 runners. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

When the gun went off last Friday afternoon for our team to start Leg 1 of the Bourbon Chase relay event, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. What I got: sleep deprivation, sore muscles, new friends, and loads of fun and memories as a member of team Modern Bourbon Warfare IV.

I was runner #5 in our van of 6 runners. The way the relay worked was one van is active on the course at a time, so runners 1-6 would run a leg, then that van would go “inactive” for 5-6 hours while van #2 and runners 7-12 ran their portions (approximately 33 miles were covered each time a van was active). Each runner ended up with three legs to run, averaging anywhere from 13 to 19 miles total per person. My own total was 18.3 miles, and even though I’ve run that far on plenty of previous occasions, it still hurts a good bit when you run each leg as hard as you can. Continue reading

I’m taking a moment for a non-HR post today. Enjoy!

In about a week I’m going to be running a local 5k race, and I’m hoping to get out there and have a great time. Oh, and I’m going to leave my shoes in the car. Why? Because barefoot running is something that I truly enjoy. I’ve learned the hard lessons already, and now it’s just a chance to feel free and happy while I’m getting in some miles.

What are the hard lessons, you ask? Well… Continue reading

Pinnacle PoundersA quick decision at work last fall has led to untold hours of friendship and fun, and it was entirely unplanned. This is the story of our accidental wellness program.

August 2011

One of our engineers decided to start training for a local marathon. She was already running some, and a few of us at work decided to start going out once a week for a run just to support each other and have some company. What started as one person’s athletic goal has blossomed in so many ways.

Fast forward to March 2012

For three of us, today will be our final training run before this Saturday’s Andrew Jackson Marathon in Jackson, TN. I always said that I wasn’t interested in running a marathon, but after working and running with these amazing people, I just couldn’t resist joining them for the 4 month long training period. It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve learned a lot about healthy eating choices, and we’ve definitely become better friends in that time as well.

The numbers

We’ve estimated that the group as a whole has covered over 2,000 miles just in the past 8 months! A sizable portion of that falls on us training for the upcoming marathon, but the rest is spread among half a dozen others who join us for a few miles whenever schedules allow. The average runner burns 100 calories per mile, so that pushes the group total calories burned to 200,000! In order for a person to drop a pound, they’d need to cut approximately 3,500 calories from their diet over time. Using those numbers, the group has burned enough calories to shed just over 57 pounds. Continue reading

Last Saturday I ran a local race that involved running four miles and eating a box of donuts at the halfway point. Yep, it’s about a fun as it sounds. I picked up a few ideas that touch on wellness and thought they would be worth sharing.

The banana was right

One of the runners in the crowd was wearing a banana costume. On the back was written, “Today I see how the other 1/3 of Alabamians live.” That was a fairly obvious reference to Alabama’s 30+% obesity rate, and it really hit me hard to put it in those terms. Yes, I’ve heard the statistics, and yes, I think it’s crazy that 1/3 of people who live here are overweight.

For some reason, though, the idea that some people make these poor eating choices every day didn’t occur to me until the banana guy came around. More than anything else, it really just gave me a little more perspective on the demographic that wellness programs at work should be focusing on. Thanks, banana man.

Runners who eat vs. eaters who run

One of the issues I’ve seen with wellness initiatives (such as paying for gym fees or providing nutritious snacks) is that it affects those who are predisposed to healthy activity and eating. If you offer to pay for me to go to a gym, I’ll take you up on it because I’m already relatively athletic. However, offering to pay the gym membership for one of our software engineers would get you laughed out of the building. And if you brought them some fruit or veggie snacks, they’d ask for fries and a Coke.

It was interesting because one of the guys on my team for the Donut Run was a self-proclaimed “eater who runs.” He might be stimulated to get up and participate in an activity when there is a handful of donuts waiting for him, but he’s not going to get out there and work out on his own without some sort of incentive. For the record, I’m a “runner who eats.” :-)

The Pounders

A few months back we started a running team at work. The Pinnacle Pounders go out every Tuesday afternoon and run together. There is a great sense of camaraderie, and it’s just a great way to de-stress after a long day. Again, the only people who show up are those who are already runners! We are working to get some of our staff out there to walk our little course, but so far we’ve been unsuccessful. I’m hoping the people who see us enjoying ourselves and having more energy during the day will consider joining us, but only time will tell.

So, any other thoughts on wellness (or donuts)? Have you had an experience with a wellness program? What was it like?