Why Serena Williams Inspires Me As A Runner

One of the greatest tennis players of all time is a source of motivation for all female athletes.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

You might feel like you’re seeing Serena Williams everywhere these days. That is because for the next two weeks, she will be competing at the U.S. Open, the last tennis Grand Slam tournament of the year, for a chance to make history. Williams has won every other major in 2015—The Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon. If she is triumphant at the U.S. Open, she will become one of only four women to win a calendar Grand Slam.

Williams’ career has been an inspiration for many female athletes. She possesses a number of traits that we could emulate to become better runners. Here are just a few reasons why Williams is just so motivating.

She’s resilient.

Serena has faced many peaks and just as many valleys during her long career. After a series of injuries and setbacks in 2011, she hired a new coach, worked on her strengths and weaknesses, and came back stronger than ever, winning eight Grand Slams since 2012. The feat is even more incredible when you consider she did this after turning 30! Williams has never been afraid to change her training and work on her shortcomings to accomplish her dreams.

As runners, we often reach plateaus as well. Take a cue from Serena. Instead of resigning ourselves to never obtaining our goals, it’s important to look at ways we can be better, whether it is through a new training plan, strength program or nutrition change. If Serena can come back to win multiple tournaments, we can run toward a new personal best.

She is comfortable in her body.

Serena’s physical appearance is a symbol of female strength and beauty. However it also has been the subject of public criticism and body shaming, a double standard that is not burdened by most male athletes. Instead of listening to her detractors, Williams is confident in her body. “I realized that you really have to learn to accept who you are and love who you are,” Williams told the New York Times earlier this year. In an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, she also noted, “I am a full woman and I’m strong, and I’m powerful, and I’m beautiful at the same time.”

William’s body confidence sets a great example for all female athletes, especially runners. Instead of picking apart our perceived flaws, it’s important to be comfortable in our own skin. We wouldn’t reach any of our goals without the strength our body provides for us. Focus on positive physical improvements, like creating a stronger core or more defined arms. These can help us become better runners overall.

She is confident in her goals.

It’s not enough to just set goals. We also have to believe in them 100 percent. Even at an early age, Williams has been committed to being the best. In a new Gatorade commercial, Williams is interviewed as a young athlete and asked who she wants to be like. Her response: “I want other people to be like me.”

Our goals may not be winning a Grand Slam, but they are no less important. From completing a new race distance to nabbing a personal best, runners have to be confident and committed to achieve these feats. When doubt begins to creep in, think about this quote from Serena: “I don’t have time to be brought down, I’ve got too many things to do. I have Grand Slams to win, I have people to inspire, and that’s what I’m here for.”