Seven Ways to Find the Cheerleader You Wish You Had

Ultramarathon mindset coach Susan Donnelly with support crew at Javelina 100-mile race

Frustrated by friends and family that don’t support your goals?

It’s hard to pursue something as ambitious as a first marathon, 100-mile race, or a year's worth of 100s when you’re not getting the emotional support you expect. Someone important to you asking about a long run, wanting to hear about your race, celebrating a hard-earned race performance, or congratulating you on an award. 

That type of thing.

I’ve spent most of my life running - the past 22 of it in ultras - so there’ve been plenty of times with no one behind me but me. 

I excel at moving forward, whether the people in my life actively “get” the vision of where I’m going or not, but it can be disappointing, discouraging, and just plain lonely when no one seems to care. It saps your motivation and makes the goal feel epically harder to reach.

Plus, it’s hard not to make it mean something about them or you:

“He doesn’t care.” 

“She should have congratulated me on my win.”

“I don’t have what it takes.”

“It's a stupid dream anyway.”

None of which you know for sure - maybe your friends are doing the best they can under circumstances you don’t even know about - and all of which can bog you down like mental quicksand.

Instead of stewing on it, waiting for them to see the light, or giving up (none of which get you closer to the goal you wanted in the first place) try this - take matters into your own hands and do something about it.

Create the support you crave.

Ideas to get you started:

  1. Trust yourself no matter what. You know what you want to do, and why. Think of support as the weather that changes along any adventure, and hang onto your inner compass heading through sunshine and rain.

  2. Cheer for yourself. Tell yourself out loud how awesome you ran that race. Tell yourself how awesome you climbed that hill. Celebrate mini milestones with a treat like a massage. It might seem silly but if you don’t cheer for yourself, why should anyone else?

  3. Bask in the support you get. Sometimes we breeze by what we ARE getting in the pursuit of more. Say “thank you!”

  4. Make a pact with a friend. Cheer each other in mutually challenging goals.

  5. Join a like-minded group online or in person. They’re out there. I joined a mastermind group this year and it works!

  6. Form your own mutual cheerleading group, either online or in person. large or small, long-term or for a defined period of time - whatever you’d love most. You’re probably not the only one that’s craving the type of support.

  7. Give the emotional support you long for to someone who needs it. A high five to a co-worker, a congratulations to the barista who ran her first 5k…it feels great and creates more of that in the world. Isn’t that one you’d like to live in?

Support matters, even if you’re running for the joy of it. It fuels you up and turns mountains into molehills. Don’t expect other people to do it for you all the time - take charge and give yourself what you need.

If you wish you had your own cheerleader pacing you through your big 100-mile race, guess what?  You can!  You get an enthusiastic pacer who's done the distance over 100 times - me! - to help you. Pacing, phone calls to prep for the race, bonus day before race session, and more help than you can imagine in between. I WANT YOU TO GET THAT BUCKLE! Check it out here.

Until next time,

Signature favorite.png

PS - That's Mom supporting her "cavewoman" daughter at the Javelina 100, and Dad is taking the photo.