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The Correlation Between Career Success & Endurance Sports

Have you ever wondered how power players in the office arriving prior to 9 a.m. have already managed to complete a full-on workout that began early in the morning?

Turns out, there may be something to their drive and ambition at work and on the treadmill.

According to a new piece on Fortune, there’s a correlation between career success and marathoners. For starters, as per USA Marathon, the piece mentions marathon finishers in the U.S. spiked from 300,000 runners in 2000 to 525,000 in 2011.

As for triathlons, 2.5 million people participated in 2011 compared to less than 1.5 million in 2008 (source: Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association).

Endurance sports enthusiasts aren’t exactly shabby in the income department: In 2006, New York Road Runners informed the New York Times the average NYC Marathon runner’s income was $130,000 (keep in mind this was six years ago). Similarly, the USA Triathlon pointed out the average household income of their triathlete was $126,000.

We’re making the assumption here the salaries equate to demanding jobs and if correct, the piece indicated the connection between people with incredibly busy work lives. Essentially, they manage to make endurance fitness a priority. And we’re not talking about a three-mile run on a treadmill; fitness regimes are intense, goal-oriented and extremely driven.

Gordo Byrn coaches triathletes and told Fortune almost everybody has full-time jobs and more than half of them have children. “I think [for] a lot of folks, what appeals to them is this challenge of trying to balance training with family and work.”

Pointing out “the whole craziness of it appeals to people” maybe there’s a certain high of setting lofty goals, breaking them down into achievable portions and of course, being determined to reach them.

Charlie Brown, sports psychologist working with professional athletes and executives,  made the connection that successful folks on the professional front have “great habits that fit an endurance framework.”

For starters, they’re persistent — a quintessential quality for marathons and triathlons, as well as training for them.

On a more scientific note per the piece, Robin Kanarek, dean of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, conducted an experiment by giving people short descriptions of others.

The only difference between descriptions? How much people exercised. Participants indicated intense fitness folks as “more motivated, more dedicated.” Interestingly enough, these are the very same traits many successful people employ at work.

She told Fortune, ”When people become really extreme, they do get into this addictive pattern. If they’re running when it’s snowing, or doing ultras — running 100 miles through Death Valley — there’s something else going on there.”

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