Ultra running is good for your work life because it gives you processing time.
When I first joined SendGrid I was about halfway through a years' worth of training for the Leadville Trail 100. After having crewed/paced for someone else for that race in 1995, I had been planning on doing it myself someday. I figured I'd do it when I was 'old' for my 50th birthday, but in 2010 I wasn't working so I decided to commit to LT100.
Actually, I was running the Mesa trail one day in the fall of 2010 with Huybert and he suggested that this was my year. Realizing I was out of excuses, I knew it was time to start training in earnest. So on very little base, I ran the Sourdough Trail - all 26 miles - at around 9000 ft. I was tired, but felt ok. Soni rested a few days, then did the Dirty Bismarck (about 14 miles) kinda peppy.
I pulled my calf muscle halfway through. Realizing I had no idea how to train for a 100, I hired a coach and got on a much more rational plan.
I never missed a workout from November through Feb 2011. On Feb 28, I ran a 40 miler, took a shower and went to my first SendGrid board dinner at the Rio. I was hesitant to tell the board about my running project. In fact, I had delayed starting at SendGrid, until March 1, just so I could stay 100% focused on my running plan through the 40 miler.
I had expected my board to resist my pursuing LT100, but their reaction was just the opposite. Not only were they encouraging of my running project, but they offered to crew or help in any way they could. I knew I was joining a special team. The next two weeks I didn't run at all as it took awhile to find a balance between running and work.
What surprised me was how running long stretches made me a better business person. In my normal life, I have a lot of input coming at me from all directions. From what I have learned about how our brains work, we need to balance input time from processing time. Call it unplugged if you will. Running on a trail is perfect because you definitely are not doing meetings/calls/email. Moreover the trail itself requires just enough concentration to preoccupy part of your brain, so they back part of your brain can process all of the inputs it has been receiving. It's similar to the insights you get just after sleeping or in the shower.
I think it's time to go run.