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Stop Asking Your Millennial Co-workers To Run 10K Races

If you're trying to round up a group of co-workers to run an upcoming 5K race, then you might want to sprint right past the millennials in your workplace. They're too busy running toward athletic activities that have absolutely nothing to do with running!

A new Wall Street Journal article singles out the millennials as single-handedly stomping out the decades-long running boom. That's right, Gen Xers: you can have your smelly running shoes and random bouts of plantar fasciitis, because the 18-to-34 demographic has better things to do than huff and puff its way to some distant finish line!

The numbers tell the story. Between 2013 and 2015, "frequent" runners in the 25-to-34 demographic decreased 19%, while the 18-to-24 demographic saw a 22% decrease in young adults who run regularly. In real numbers, it means a drop of 2.5 million Americans who get out and run on a regular basis.

There are many theories floating around as to why the millennials are running away from hard-core running. Maybe they like their phones too much? Maybe running feels too competitive to the "everybody gets a trophy" generation? Maybe the millennials didn't run very much in P.E. class? Maybe they think running is boring, and too hard on the body?

Who knows; it's hard to place a one-size-fits-all running sneaker on an entire generation of spin class participants. The real question is, what does this changing fitness trend mean for the average workplace?

Well, if you're a middle-aged employee trying to recruit a few co-workers to run a 5K, then aim older so you don't waste your time. Much older. Baby Boomers over age 60 represent a whopping 25% increase in running for exercise and achievement over the last few years. Cue the running music!

Gen X managers planning their next triathlon will have to understand what their millennial colleagues want out of a fitness regimen, too. Most likely, it is going to involve an expensive, boutique fitness class. According to the WSJ article:

Millennials aren't sedentary. Rather, they're fueling the proliferation of studios that specialize in everything from cycling, CrossFit and boxing to ballet barre workouts, boot camp and weight training. Their hunger for variety is reflected in the success of ClassPass, which offers entry to a range of fitness classes in 31 U.S. cities for a monthly fee. The service has booked 18 million reservations in less than three years, most of them for people in their 20s, a spokeswoman said.

So, there you go. Stop it with the triathlon and Tough Mudder sign-up sheets, Gen X! Instead, aim for a gentle, decidedly non-competitive barre class. You can still ask the millennials at work if they're up for the afternoon coffee run, however.


  1. How about instead of all the snark regarding the Millennial stereotype of not being able to handle competition, perhaps consider that running is fucking boring?

    1. As a runner myself (just jogging, no races), I have to disagree with you. But to each their own. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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