Let Them Roar!

Ultrarunning mindset coach Susan Donnelly focuses on strengths instead of weaknesses to finish races like Tunnel Hill 100 mile

Quick question.

It’s early morning, in the dark, and you’re standing at the bustling, noisy starting line of a race. 

What are you thinking about?

Odds are, it’s a mix of last minute details and nerves about your ability to do well or finish. Those nerves come largely from thinking about the weaknesses you’re carrying into the race - injuries that haven’t fully healed, the hill training you didn’t do, the long runs you skipped, or that you’re slow.

So, how about your strengths?

Do you give them equal airtime?

You should, because you have more on your balance sheet than a bunch of items in the “Liabilities” column.

I don’t care who you are, how slow you think you are, or how little experience you have - you have strengths. And probably more than you think.

For starters, answer this list:

1. What things are you good at? 

2. What conditions do you excel in?

3. What distance is your best?

4. What type of course are you strongest on?

5. What's different about you that you could capitalize on?

Do an inventory. Here's my own answers to get you started:

  1. Climbing and descending, the rockier the better.

  2. Extremes, like heat - dry and humid - where others suffer (I'm from the South).

  3. The longer, the better - 100 miles and probably 200 miles with more practice.

  4. Technical, rocky trail with plenty of ups and downs (Tunnel Hill in the photo is NOT my forte).

  5. My depth of experience at the 100-mile distance, determination, and mindset skills. Things go wrong but I’m confident I can handle most anything and finish.

When you do your own inventory, DO NOT BE SHY. No one benefits from you downplaying your assets.

And DON'T COMPARE. If you think you climb strong but got passed a few times on that long hill in your last race, it doesn’t matter - it's still a strength for you compared to the other things you do. 

Once you know them, plant them firmly in mind so you can call them up when negative thoughts hit. Reminding yourself that, “I might be slow on this road but I can work that next rocky section,” boosts your confidence.

The bottom line here is, you have strengths. Everyone does, including you. 

Get to know them. Use them. Capitalize on them. Celebrate them. Enjoy the heck out of them!

Do anything but hide them because you’re not sure, or because someone else's strengths might be mightier, or because someone might think you’re bragging. 

None of that matters.

There are things you do better than other things you do, and it’s smart to know what those are.

Let them roar for you!

Please share this post with anyone who needs to remember they have strengths.

Until next week,

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