3 Iconic Pursuits & Your Wellness Strategy Trifecta

The 3,000+ mile Race Across America… the Hawaii Ironman World Championship Qualifier… the Boston Marathon Qualifier…

What could this trifecta of the 3 iconic endurance pursuits possibly have to do with your employee wellness program strategy? Actually – the comparisons run deep.

RAAM - Kona - Boston

Our CEO, Brad Cooper, became the first person ever to win the Race Across America (2-person division), qualify for the Hawaii Ironman (18th overall out of 2,800 at age 49) and qualify for the Boston Marathon (also 18th overall, out of 3,500), all within a 5 month period that also included a severe bike wreck, 8 broken bones, 2 surgeries and plenty of other roadblocks. When asked “what was the hardest part?”  his answer is simple: “It was the combination of all three.”

Almost 10% of marathoners run a Boston Qualifying time, but only 1/2 of 1% run a time that is 25 minutes faster than the qualifying time. However, even 1/2 of 1% is quite a few people when talking about the thousands of marathon runners. Fewer than 3% of Ironman triathletes (and just 1/10th of 1% of all triathletes) qualify for Kona (the World Championship). It’s rarely with that same 25 minute buffer Cooper had, but again, it does happen. With the Race Across America (RAAM), a total of 15 people each year cross the finish line in first place across the individual, 2-person, 4-person or 8 person divisions. However, it is 15 people, not zero. So, while the odds of hitting any one of these three targeted pursuits are long, it’s the combination of the three and the extreme variety of training/body adaptation within the brief timeframe that create the biggest stretch. They just don’t fit together!

And that brings us back to your employee wellness program.  The 3 critical components that make up the Wellness Program Trifecta are composed of Engage… Measure… Optimize:

  • Engage – It doesn’t matter how great your program may be if employees aren’t engaged. Please note – “participation” does NOT equal engagement. Engagement is another level of depth. It’s the part that matters – the part that puts the “meaning” in “lasting meaningful behavior change.”
  • Measure – If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it really make a sound? Well – that question may not matter to your employee wellness plan, but if there’s not an effective way to measure progress both individually and aggregately, the decision to continue with the wellness program is likely to be short-lived.
  • Optimize – The goal of an effective wellness program isn’t to create a bunch of robots who are all doing the same things. Rather – the goal is to optimize the life of each involved individual – to help create lasting and meaningful positive change.

When it comes to the RAAM/Kona/Boston combo, the most significant challenge isn’t dialing in one of the three. While it’s clearly a stretch, accomplishing one or even two is not out of reach. It’s adding the third within the same time period that creates the greatest challenge. Wellness programs function similarly, as a concentrated effort devoted to one (or even two) leg(s) of the wellness trifecta has a reasonable chance of success. The true challenge in both settings is bringing together all three – at the same time.  However, it’s through the pursuit of this extreme challenge where your ultimate success will be realized.

In order to create lasting, meaningful behavior change through your wellness program, all three must be achieved. It’s a stretch goal… and maybe it’s never been done before in your organization. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be accomplished.

For more information or questions about how to achieve the ultimate Wellness Program Trifecta in your wellness program strategy, please contact us at [email protected]

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