Marathon training & my job : so much in common

I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, Erika at MCM Mama runs and Patty at My no guilt life for Tuesdays on the run where today’s topic is Race t-shirts. I have never worn a race t-shirt because I am very picky about the quality and the fit (sorry race organizers!), so today’s post will be about the parallels between training and working.

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A little bit of background…. I LOVE what I do. I work in market research (opinion polling) in an international company. We are present in over 80 countries and our clients are some the biggest companies in the world.

I am what is know as a Global Account Director, I am responsible for the relationship with one of our top accounts. This means I work with my client to make sure we have a mutually beneficial relationship and to ensure the client is satisfied with the services we offer.

But as with any job, there are many challenges… If you work in a service industry, you know things don’t always go as planned. There can be quality issues, there are always problems to solve, solutions to find, and of course clients to meet. Multiply this by 30 countries. This requires early morning phone calls to China, late night phone calls with the US, global travel to meet the clients and our teams.

I love it… because I work with so many different people and cultures, and one day is never the same as the next. It is challenging, rewarding and has offered me the opportunity to grow personally and professionally (in addition to the great travel). I am highly involved and good at what I do because it makes me tick, fulfilling the need of variety, intellectual stimulation, and challenge.

If you are new to my blog, thanks for stopping by. I am training for my first marathon, April 3rd, using a 6 month Jeff Galloway plan. It is going very well and I think I am loving it because it is so much like my job.

  1. I need a strategy, a plan and need to follow through. I have to decide how my company should invest its time and resources with the client, which requires a long term plan with specific milestones. Just like a marathon. You can not wing a marathon (well, maybe you can but I couldn’t). I am very sensitive to making good use of my time and being efficient, so determining what strategy I want to use,  what steps I need to take and how to reach the final goal is always lingering at the back of my mind.

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2. I learn to go with what is thrown my way. No matter how much planning and anticipation I do, things don’t always work out. A major issue comes up ? A new opportunity ? An  unsatisfied client ? Some days are good, some are bad. Adapt and adjust. I started a plan with a time goal of 4:20…. which was way too ambitious I learned, so I am aiming for 4:45.

3. I appreciate the small victories. Working with clients is about building relationships. We are vying for business. Everyone is working on a budget. Its hard. Learning to appreciate the small victories keeps me motivated…. like in running. A new distance ?  a PR ? Learning to recognize those accomplishments fuels my motivation.

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4. I connect with people of different backgrounds and origins. I always wanted to work internationally, in an international environment. In one week I speak to people in Brazil, Mexico, Poland, China, Japan, Egypt, Italy, the UK, Spain, Canada… all linked by the client we are working on. Just like running. Meeting runners through blogging, social media, in a running group, or with colleagues, we are all connected by a similar passion.

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5. I have to be patient ! Working with clients, putting into the place the foundations of a long term, healthy relationship takes time. It doesn’t just happen overnight. Just like marathon training ! I have finished week 19…. faithfully following a plan. I have another 7 weeks, then it will all be over in less than half a day. 🙁

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I consider myself very lucky to have a job I love. Do you work ?  Do you see any parallels with your job ? your volunteer activities ?

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Comments: 48

  1. Christine @ Two Runners Travel February 16, 2016 at 12:27 pm Reply

    Karen, this is so funny! I used to be in consulting and I often compared my job to running. I pushed around a lot of paper most days (or that’s how it often felt) and eventually we would complete a project and the client would be happy…kind of like a marathon finish line. But along the way, there would be a lot of adjustments and whatnot. Definitely lots of parallels with marathon training! Now I’m studying to be a personal trainer- very much a change but one I’m very excited about!
    Christine @ Two Runners Travel recently posted…Weekly Workout Roundup: Feb 15thMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm Reply

      Personal training is a big change indeed but I am sure that so much of what you learned in your previous job will help you in your news job. Good luck on the new adventure !

  2. Marcia February 16, 2016 at 12:50 pm Reply

    Yes many parallels between running and work. Before I stayed home with kids I was a creative director. Much of what I did was subjective. Clients chose what they liked and didn’t based on their taste most of the time. That can be tough. What I love about running is it’s you and the clock. You either hit your time or you don’t. How great you love your job so much! Thanks for linking up!
    Marcia recently posted…Race Shirts I Love, and Not So MuchMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm Reply

      I agree that subjectivity is tough. Market research is about data a lot of the time, so it takes out much of the subjective elements. Working in a really creative field would drive me nuts.

  3. Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness February 16, 2016 at 1:27 pm Reply

    #2 is so true in both aspects! Your job sounds very interesting!

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm Reply

      Yes, things just don’t usually go as planned… you know what they say about the best laid plans….

  4. Tina@GottaRunNow February 16, 2016 at 1:31 pm Reply

    4:45 sounds like a great goal for your first marathon. For my first marathon, I just wanted to finish. Whatever happens, finishing your first marathon will be quite the accomplishment!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted…5 Mental Tips for RacingMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm Reply

      If I finish in under 5 hours I will be happy !

  5. karen February 16, 2016 at 2:38 pm Reply

    Your job sounds very interesting and i would love to be able travel and see places through work. I just sit at a desk at a school and keep things straight, records grades, applications, quite boring…but very busy.
    I admit a plan that long scares me lol I have a time sticking to just a few months, which is weird because I am going to work out anyway, but there is something about feeling like I “have to” that changes it for me…
    I think you are doing great training 🙂 You never know, race day you might surprise yourself ! but finishing is going to great no matter the time.
    karen recently posted…TaperMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 10:16 pm Reply

      I NEVER thought I could stick to a 6 month plan but it has really helped me persevere. That 6 month plan is what has helped me most at work ! And you are right, I will be happy, no matter my time.

  6. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets February 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm Reply

    This is such an interesting perspective and it’s great to learn more about what you do. I find that running has so many parallels, and now that you mention it, it is a lot like my job too. I am engineering project manager, and that does involve a lot of planning and back-up planning, just like training for a race. I’m still adapting to my new role at work but maybe if I think about it like running I’ll gain some more confidence? 🙂
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…ZOOMA Run Love 10K Race RecapMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 10:18 pm Reply

      I really struggle the first 6 or 8 months of a new job. It takes at least that long for me to build confidence because for me that means building credibility… which takes time !

  7. Lisa @ Lisa Runs for Cupcakes February 16, 2016 at 3:36 pm Reply

    I work as a social worker with clients experiencing domestic violence situations and running definitely has it’s parallels to the type of work I do. Most of my clients are long-terms so it feels as though our work is never done, as with training for races! Yet, sometimes, there are major break throughs like helping a client secure a job. As with training, it is those small victorious moments that makes it all worth it!
    Lisa @ Lisa Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…GORE-TEX Philadelphia Half Marathon Race WeekendMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm Reply

      Kudos to you for your job… I could never do that, the emotional toll would be too much for me.

  8. Kelli February 16, 2016 at 3:43 pm Reply

    That’s fascinating! I wonder if your company works with my company. I worked in marketing prior to starting my new job a year ago (same company, different function). I do notice a lot of parallels – especially around planning and organization, but also around flexibility and rolling with the punches. Great post!
    Kelli recently posted…Zealios Skin Care ReviewMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm Reply

      Maybe you are a client ! Next time you come to Europe let me know!

  9. Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner February 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm Reply

    I love how you tied that all in together great metaphors. Have a wonderful day!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Spaghetti Squash BakeMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 10:20 pm Reply

      Thanks Deborah.

  10. Darlene February 16, 2016 at 6:26 pm Reply

    So true. Running is hard work. You are lucky that you get to travel. I did once a year for my last job but unfortunately I wasn’t a runner at the time.
    Darlene recently posted…Tuesdays on the Run: Race ShirtsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 10:21 pm Reply

      I know how lucky I am… and count my blessings regularly. You never know how long it will last.

  11. Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy February 16, 2016 at 9:04 pm Reply

    Very interesting perspective!

    I was a graphic designer who worked from home until I retired about 10 yrs ago. It wasn’t planned, but quite frankly, I enjoy not working & am lucky that my husband’s income is enough to more than cover our needs.

    I loved designing, but I hated working with customers. I just suck at it! But then again, I also don’t miss it.

    I keep myself busy through exercise, cooking/baking, caring for the furkids, and of course this blog, which is part of where I get my intellectual stimulation.

    My husband works with people in both Europe and Asia, so yes, we’re familiar with those middle of the night phone conferences occasionally (usually around the time I’m up anyway!).
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Fit Fashion FindsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm Reply

      I am not sure if I would like staying at home all the time. I work from home usually one day a week, sometimes 2, and that’s enough. I need the social stimulation. Of course if I was at home, I would find other activities to fulfill that need.
      I am so NOT artistic, and am impressed you were a graphic designer.

  12. Rachel @ RachelMcMichael.com February 17, 2016 at 4:26 am Reply

    Yes, yes, yes! I love your perspective!!! I am also super-blessed to have a job that I absolutely LOVE! And I do see the parallels. I’m not a big runner but the same is true with any type of workout – planning, preparation, patience, and community are all SO important!

    • Karen - Fit in France February 17, 2016 at 7:02 am Reply

      You are so right. My parallel is with running, but any fitness or training plan would be true. I find the long term aspect of my plan and of my job are perfectly in sync. Nothing happens over night !

  13. Runaway Bridal Planner February 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm Reply

    You definitely sound like you have a very interesting job!
    I just love that you love your job! I’ve been fortunate enough to own my own wedding company for the past 7 years and although it’s hard work, I’ve loved nearly every minute of it. I don’t think of it as work.
    Totally agree with ya on parallels between running and working. Like planning and designing a wedding although it all happens on one day, the planning and prep work like running is done in advance so like a race or the wedding day that is the reward for all the hard work.
    So awesome about your upcoming first marathon. I do love that distance most of all, just because of the unpredictability of it. But put the training in, all the miles and especially all the long runs and your chances on race day of a great rewarding race, will be far more likely!!!
    Good luck with the rest of your training!
    Runaway Bridal Planner recently posted…My Least Favorite Time Of The YearMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 17, 2016 at 11:18 pm Reply

      Thanks Kristy ! I could never do what you do. I think brides and grooms would completely stress me out with unrealistic demands. But wedding planning I can imagine is like running… all that hard work and its over so quickly ! Glad that you love you job, that is so important.

  14. HoHo Runs February 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm Reply

    You a very lucky to have a job that you enjoy. Getting to travel around and experience different countries and cultures sounds amazing. Unfortunately, I would have to say that I run to help alleviate the stress of my job. You will rock that marathon time goal!
    HoHo Runs recently posted…Race ShirtsMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 17, 2016 at 11:16 pm Reply

      I used to run to alleviate the stress of my job but took on a new position 18 months ago. It changed my life. Thanks for the vote of confidence ! Starting to get nervous…..

  15. Shannon @GirlsGotSole February 18, 2016 at 2:20 am Reply

    Your job sounds so interesting! My job has nothing to do with running. I so badly want to find a career that I love and enjoy punching in for each day.
    Love how you are following Jeff Galloway’s program! I’m a Galloway runner here in Florida and have used his training programs for over four years now. Love them and him!
    Shannon @GirlsGotSole recently posted…Race Report: Kissimmee 5kMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 18, 2016 at 10:27 pm Reply

      Life is way to short to be unhappy at work ! Would love to hear more about your Galloway experience. People look at me bizarrely when I explain the run / walk method.

  16. Jenn @ Run With Sole February 18, 2016 at 4:29 am Reply

    My job is a running coach/personal trainer so running is my job! Everything you describe totally translates to running and working with my clients. But as I was reading your post, it reminded me mostly of being a working mom. I have had to do so much of what you describe as a mom- roll with the punches, time management, patience and appreciating small victories. Sheesh! Getting through each day with all of us alive and in one piece is a victory!!

    • Karen - Fit in France February 18, 2016 at 10:26 pm Reply

      Ha ! You are right about being a mom ! My kids are older now and much more independent but when they were little the days were CRAZY. But we survived and they are turning out to be confident happy young women.
      Not sure which is more challenging… working with clients or kids 🙂

  17. Missy - Getting Fit to Find Myself February 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm Reply

    I have a job I love too! I think we are very lucky people since so many do not have a job they love. I am a Senior Business Analyst for a health IT company and I see a lot of parrelles between that and my other passion of running. I have plan, I have roll with the punches, but when it is all done the rewards are amazing.
    Missy – Getting Fit to Find Myself recently posted…Happy 4th Anniversary to Me!My Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 18, 2016 at 10:23 pm Reply

      SO glad you like your job too. Life is too short to be miserable at work.

  18. Sarah February 18, 2016 at 6:05 pm Reply

    That’s amazing how passionate you are about your job. I have become less and less passionate about mine, especially as I have grown to love food and fitness. I am not sure if I should pursue it full time. There are definitely parallels though! Dealing with frustrations and challenges, creating a plan, etc!
    Sarah recently posted…The Ultimate Oatmeal & Review | My ProteinMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 18, 2016 at 10:22 pm Reply

      I think if food & fitness were my job I would get bored very quickly. I like the balanced (or opposites) of the corporate life and my completely different private life. I thought about quitting my job many years back and becoming a yoga teacher, but I am glad I didn’t !

  19. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home February 19, 2016 at 1:51 pm Reply

    A lot of people compare marathon training to a job! You have to be accountable (to yourself, but still…) or it doesn’t get done. I think this is why I only do one marathon a year (and this may be my last) because as much as I love training for a big race, it does feel like a job and that’s not why I run!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Book Review: It Was Me All Along by Andie MitchellMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 20, 2016 at 7:35 am Reply

      For the moment I don’t feel like training is a job but maybe because it is the excitement of the first one. However, if I did several a year, I could see why it might feel like I have to run and not because I want to.

  20. Lindi mogale February 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm Reply

    Interesting parallels between your job and your running. i am reading alot of runningblogs as part of the blog hop and i am finding it interesting the level of details and monitoring in order to ensure optimal results
    Lindi mogale recently posted…Letters to Our Children: TheHeirMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 20, 2016 at 7:36 am Reply

      Running, like anything I believe, needs some sort of structure and plan if we want to reach a specific goal.

  21. Sarah February 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm Reply

    Oh, patience! I feel like that’s one I’m always learning myself – and, you know what, things ALWAYS go better when I’m patient. Lovely “meeting you” through the blog hop!

    • Karen - Fit in France February 20, 2016 at 7:38 am Reply

      Thank you for stopping by ! And I agree, things always go better when patience is present.

  22. Lindsey February 20, 2016 at 4:47 am Reply

    I can see how running can be like my job! I need to stay confident in my knowledge and abilities for both. I am always looking for ways to grow and learn:..in both fields as well 🙂
    Lindsey recently posted…quinoa + apples | WIAWMy Profile

    • Karen - Fit in France February 20, 2016 at 7:40 am Reply

      Ah yes, growing and learning are so important, in what ever we do.

  23. Sonia February 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm Reply

    You have such a fascinating job! I agree you can’t just wing the marathon or the training! Sounds like you are enjoying the process by relishing the small victories and putting in all the hard work! I hope that your training continues to go well!

    • Karen - Fit in France February 21, 2016 at 5:53 pm Reply

      Many thanks, so far so good!

  24. GingerRachelle February 22, 2016 at 6:16 am Reply

    Your job sounds really interesting and challenging. I worked at a wholesale travel agency where I sold vacation packages to Hawaii. We dealt with people from all over and that was the best part. I loved talking to people I otherwise wouldn’t have been around. I also really loved hearing so many different accents. I think it’s so awesome that you can just run down to the Eiffel tower!

    • Karen - Fit in France February 22, 2016 at 7:12 am Reply

      I bet working in the travel industry was so much fun. Being able to dream every day at work is the way I see it !

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