Winter Running and Your Workplace Routine

The winter running season is here. While it took a little longer to get here due to some unseasonably warm weather, I’m in it now for the next several months. For all the non-running readers, you may be wondering what the difference is. Or you may not care at all and choose to move on. (But if you stay, I’ll show you how this relates to work and HR. No relation to pancakes, though.) There are several differences between running in warm weather and cold weather and there is a transition period that’s always new and exciting. While there are seasonal and quarterly transitions in the workplace, they may not offer the types of renewal that gets you through the year. Does it have to be that way?

I live in the Chicagoland area and I have the benefit of four seasons. While there is rarely a smooth transition into each, it’s nice to have the variety. The hot summers have you looking forward to the crisp autumn temperatures and the beautiful turning of the leaves. And there’s nothing more magical than that first snowfall and dusting off those snow boots. Just when you’re sick of the dirty snow banks and cold weather, spring arrives with the bloom of the flowers and the donning of the windbreaker.

These seasonal changes are ideal for the runner in me. While there are 4 seasons, my running seasons fall into 2 categories: “Winter” and “Not Winter.” The differences are in the clothing I wear. It’s pretty simple. Above 40 degrees, I’m in shorts and a shirt, long sleeves up to 50 degrees. Below 40 degrees and I’m in running tights (yes, I wear shorts over those tights. It’s a no-brainer for dudes. No exceptions.) Hat, gloves, and varying degrees of a running jacket are all part of the winter gear.

I always look forward to these transitions. I’m a frugal runner and I’m constantly looking at running gear for the least expensive price. Except for shoes. Never skimp on shoes. That goes for running and non-running. But that’s another post. I like to buy gear out of season, too. Yes, it’s cheaper in the offseason.

I’m excited for this winter season because I’m trying out a few different things. You see, my running has evolved over my 8 years of running. My habits, routine, and training plans are constantly adjusting. I’ve seen the biggest transformation this past year as I’ve run more miles and explored different avenues.

One way I’m looking to change this winter season is a full commitment to outdoors. I have always favored outdoor running over the “dreadmill.” While a treadmill is sometimes a necessary evil when traveling or in the worst of weather, it is one of the most boring exercise for me. I’d rather sit through a webinar on how Millennials are shaping cultures and disrupting the HR tech space by claiming their seat at the table than run on a treadmill.

For this winter, I’m setting a goal to avoid the treadmill as much as possible. I want to continue my morning running, too, and in the event of extreme weather, I’m going to take my running to the local park district indoor running track. At least I’m moving forward and not on the hamster wheel of boredom.

I’m looking forward to trying out some new winter running pants that just arrived. I scored them for $20 and they feel great based on trying them on. I also picked up a new pair of mitten/gloves from my local Ace Hardware for $8. I got a new stocking hat from my half marathon in November and it’s perfect.

For the snow-packed streets and running paths, I’ll be trying out a pair of the over-the-shoe spikes. I’ve never tried these before, but for $9 at Costco, it will be worth the experiment.

The seasons and weather require me to make adjustments and shake up my routine. Wear and tear on clothing and gear, plus my desire to sport some fresh new looks, have me changing up my equipment. This keeps me engaged and in shape throughout the whole year. I don’t plan to take any breaks in my running schedule and these transitions keep me energized.

So what does this have to do with HR and the workplace? Nothing and everything. While the outside environment requires us to go through some transitions in our wardrobe and homes, the work routine may not. While you look forward to rocking that favorite J-Crew cable knit sweater in the winter or your go-to corporate logo’d Nike golf shirt, your work can be stale and boring throughout the year.

You may not look forward to the quarter-to-quarter transitions of your business, but are there ways for you to approach it in a different way? How can you get excited about a transition in your job like I get excited about the winter running season?

Each role will be different and you need to figure it out for yourself. But don’t just accept that just because you did it one way, last season, you have to be the same, this season.

Rewrite a communication instead of using the same one from last year. Try that new technology you’ve been hearing about to help you plan your schedule. Invite another group to a meeting to give you a different perspective on compensation and merit approaches.

Don’t get stuck on the treadmill of work. That’s boring and predictable. Try out some new gear and embrace the change of the season to do something different.

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