Is Your Job a Treadmill or Outdoor Run?

I love running. It’s one of the only sports I can do as a mid-40s guy without getting injured. But as much as I love running, I equally despise running on the treadmill. So much so that I set a goal not to step foot on one in 2018. I prefer to run outdoors and take different paths. My jobs and career have been similar. There have been times where I felt I was running in place and other times where I was experiencing the variety and excitement of an outdoor run.

Treadmills can be effective to a point. They are comfortable. Safe. Boring. No matter how fast you run or what elevation you set, you’re still running in place. Hours spent staring at a screen or in the mirror. There are fancy gyms that have classes specifically designed for the treadmill, but you never cover more that an inch in distance. The same machine over and over again. Sure you can throw on some fancy tights, but, typically, it’s the same running shirt and shorts. Every run.

Running outdoors, on the other hand, is different every time. No single day has the same conditions. You can choose a different route, each day. Trail runs. City streets. Runs along the ocean. Each scene and setting providing a different perspective and level of effort. I live in an area that experiences 4 different seasons and a wide variety of temperatures. I get to wear different running clothes from short sleeves to hats, gloves, and running pants. Running with others is easier, too. There is no loud music or the din of the treadmill motor to get in the way of a good conversation.

Many of my outdoor runs are memorable. That 12-miler when I was caught in a monsoon or that beautiful 5-mile run along Laguna Beach. I can’t remember one monotonous treadmill run. Treadmill runs don’t even register on MapMyRun.

Your job can be like running on a treadmill. You complete the same tasks with the same amount of effort. You may increase the pace a bit the finish up by 3pm on a Friday, but each day, you choose to get on that treadmill and run in place. Either way, you have a choice.

Or you can choose to take your job or career on an outdoor run. Experience different aspects of your daily routine. Choose a different perspective in how you approach your tasks, peers, or your boss. Explore some other departments and learn a new skill. Talk to someone you’ve never interacted with and learn about what they do.

If this is not an option for you or you just feel stuck on that job treadmill, hit the stop button and get off. Go outside and find another job. Don’t continue to slog the miles on the treadmill. Don’t keep whining about how boring and miserable you are in your job. Nobody wants to hear that, especially your local HR guy. He’ll tell you to get outside and get off the treadmill.

So where are you in your job or career? Are you on that hopelessly boring treadmill just running in place and going through the motions? Or do you choose to lace up the Asics everyday and head outside to experience the beauty and variety that your job could provide for you? I choose the outdoor run every time.


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