Running to Work: Marathon Training, Replenishment, and Worker Well-Being
Examining the impact of off-job activities on employee well-being offers a new perspective on the determinants of employee health and satisfaction. Applying conservation of resources theory (COR) and self-determination theory (SDT), I suggested that certain elements of leisure activities promote resources, thereby increasing feelings of replenishment. In turn, replenishment (i.e., a gain in resources) increases well-being. Using a sample of individuals training for a marathon / half marathon, I examined how certain elements of an employee’s marathon training regime can lead to replenishment and increases in employee health outcomes. Specifically, I addressed how a training regime that includes group support, clear goals, self-affirmation, and psychological detachment is more likely to result in replenishment. I examined the extent to which an organization supports an employee’s marathon endeavor moderates the relationship between training characteristics and replenishment. Additionally, I tested replenishment as a mediator of the training characteristic-well-being relationship. The hierarchical moderated multiple regression results highlighted the importance of self-affirmation in off-job activities. Further, results suggested that off-job activities have the strongest implication for increasing employee engagement. The results showed inconsistencies with previous research and theory regarding the role of psychological detachment and replenishment in the relationship between off-job activities and well-being. Overall, this research answered several important questions regarding the process through which leisure activities increase a sense of recovery in employees and positively influence health at work.