I am a prisoner in my own office. I enjoy an afternoon run during my lunch hour, but recently a colleague has invited himself along with me. I do not enjoy run with him because he slows down my pace and likes to talk about office gossip. How do I get rid of him? I can't hide going for a run because it is obvious: I go every day. To make things worse, he is my supervisor. - Fast Paced Underling
Dear Fast Paced,
First, I sympathize. We are all prisoners in our own offices, hunkered down in our four-by-four bland colored cubicles, yearning to run free. I also share with you the enjoyment of an afternoon "lunch" run, which often puts me in the position of having to politely decline from business "lunch" meetings and the like.
There are several very simple solutions to your problem, which you've undoubtedly considered, but for the benefit of the bazillion-trillions of readers of this web page, I'd like to list them in order of effectiveness.
Option one - Break your supervisors leg.
Pro - He would be physically unable to run with you, and certainly unwilling to do so anytime soon.
Con - Most countries have fairly serious laws that discourage the breaking of another persons leg, and many companies have strict policies against such practices.
Option two - If you're planning on running for an hour, start running the course an hour earlier. That way, when your supervisor meets you in the parking lot at the start of his workout, you'll have already completed your "real" workout, and can consider the next hours run a "cool down" period.
Pro - You get what you want.
Con - You'll never get any work done.
Option three - Simply put: lie. Sit down with your supervisor one afternoon and with a look of deep concern and trouble on your face and ask him if you could confide with him about something of a very personal nature. Tell him that you've contracted a deadly case of the bubonic plague, and although the disease is almost certainly fatal for most people, it's only contagious via your sweat glands. "The good news is that I'm only a carrier of the disease" you can add, "So, I'll be okay". When he asks you about tomorrow's run, tell him that you admire his bravery "Most people wouldn't want to take the chance of running with a perspirationally contagious carrier of the bubonic plague especially since there is a 97% chance of infection". Then tell him that you appreciate his "laughing in the face of danger". If you're going to try this one, I'd recommend that you throw in a major crying fit somewhere during the initial meeting.
Pro - Your supervisor will never again come within 100 yards of you.
Con - You'll never be invited out for beers after work again.
It's often difficult to find a balance between office politically correct action and our desire to enjoy our lunch breaks in a way that brings us the most joy. Running can be a social event if you're with someone who is at your level of fitness, endurance and pace. A colleague who I used to run with, prior to his leaving my company, forced me to "push" myself to the limits of my ability, as each "lunch run" became a mini five-mile road race. Since he left, my running pace has dwindled (although my endurance remains strong).
If you could somehow encourage someone else, who is at your supervisors level of running, to join you in your daily luncheon ritual, you'll have accomplished two noble goals: one, the promotion of a healthy lifestyle to the proposed "someone else" and two, the personal achievement of a challenging daily run for yourself.
And so, whether it's by violence, cheating or lying, there is a way for you to enjoy your daily runs without the burden of unwanted supervision. Enjoy your lunchtime runs, they are what separate you from the pizza eating cholesterol laden minions who you work with and for!