Playing to Your Strengths With Esther Atkins

When Skechers Performance athlete Esther Atkins realized she didn’t quite possess the genetics to become an 800 meter specialist, she set her sights on something different – and it’s lucky she did.

One of America’s best marathoners today, Esther was the 2014 US Marathon champion and earned a spot on the World Championships Marathon team in 2015.

With a blazing personal best of 2:33:15 and many more achievements to her name, it’s clear Esther found her calling.

But just as with most runners, Esther’s career has not been without its setbacks.

From severe performance anxiety to plain old bad races, Esther has persevered through a lot to become the accomplished competitor she is today, and she credits a large part of her success to avoiding comparisons and focusing on her strengths.

Listen in as Esther shares her inspiring story and her tips for capitalizing on the strengths unique to you and your body.


Here are some of the topics we’ll discuss today:

  • Esther’s running background
  • Esther’s worst race ever and what she learned from it
  • How to bounce back from bad days
  • Mental toughness
  • The pitfalls of comparison
  • Determining and maximizing your strengths
  • Tricks for setting goals
  • Questions Esther is asked:

    3:37 How did you first get into running?

    8:40 How did your collegiate running turn into becoming a career marathoner?

    17:19 What were some of the strategies you used to manage your pre-race anxieties?

    21:29 What sparked your passion for the marathon?

    27:54 Would you consider that 3rd marathon a defining race that changed the course of your career?

    28:23 What did you credit that great pace to?

    30:26 Why do you consider your 2nd marathon one of your worst races and what were your takeaways from it?

    41:20 How do you bounce back after a bad race?

    44:13 What is one of your proudest accomplishments to date?

    47:01 What are your tips for enjoying every day and the process that is being a runner?

    51:27 What advice do you have regarding setting goals?

    53:54 How do you advise people to avoid the comparison rrap?

    58:26 What’s next for you and Skechers?

    Quotes by Esther:

    “Pick a point in the race where the people around me at this point are the people I’m racing – that’s my race. And if I beat all the people around me or that person in front of me….that’s me winning the race.”

    “As I got so much better at the marathon, I was like ‘oh all my other times are going to get so much faster’, and it just didn’t happen that way.”

    “A coach that I worked with at Rider, Bob Hamer – he’s the head coach there – he had his own version of it from yoga class where it’s just focus on your own mat and your own practice, and that’s so important to happiness. The key to happiness is not comparing yourself.”

    Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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    Mentioned in this podcast:

    ZAP Fitness
    Esther’s Blog
    Follow Esther on Instagram
    Follow Esther on Twitter

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