How not to Run a Marathon

My father has competed in over 69 marathons, all in a span of less than 20 years!  By the time I was 16, he’d run over 80% of those races, and I approached him to train me to run the Philadelphia marathon.  I figured it would be a good idea to train with someone who knew what he was doing before I actually attempted to run one. I also kind of figured I really didn’t fully qualify as his son until I ran one.  But my goal was one. Just one. Because I had good motivation and excellent training, it only took one attempt – goal achieved.  I’m 47 now and haven’t run one since. Not thinking of it either.

Here’s the ironic part. Despite his obvious acumen in marathon running, my dad didn’t actually set the bar high in terms of proper training for his first marathon.  I just learned recently a little about that first race.  Here’s how not to train for a marathon...  He ran long distances (15+ miles) daily up to the actual day of the marathon. Wrong. He ran with two different shoes! He liked them both and couldn’t decide! Way wrong! He turned his ankle several days before and ran anyway, without proper medical attention. Dangerously wrong! He wrapped his own ace bandage and moved it to his thigh when that was hurting along the way. As it was eventually just dangling from his leg, he ripped it off entirely because it looked bad! Wrong. I don’t even remember if he actually finished that race, but I do know that he eventually figured out how to train properly as he went on to finish a total of 66 marathons.

Here’s my transition into business application…The average manager gets into their first management role at the age of 27. Yet the average manager does not receive any formal training until the age of 42. Are you seeing an issue here? Why do most people get promoted into management? They performed well, were really smart and hung around a while – great prerequisite for managing, developing and guiding others, right? Wrong.  Jim Clifton (CEO of Gallup), in his recent book, The Coming Jobs War cited that America has an epidemic of disengaged employees in its workforce today – far more than any time measured in the past.  Poor management is one of the major culprits.   

Could your manager use a dose of How to Win Friends and Influence People? People skills are far overlooked, considered far too simplistic, yet is the very skill that glues the relationships of a team together – for the benefit of all. There’s certainly more to management training, but that would be a good start – before the manager starts!