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151 – Olympic Hopeful Nell Rojas’ Strength is her Strength

I met Nell Rojas the day I interviewed her but I felt like I’d known her for a while. I guess I have by proxy. Her dad, Ric Rojas, is a renowned running coach and a former world class runner himself. He’s been coaching athletes for a long time, ever since he informally coached his own high school track team in 1970 when he won the National High School Indoor Mile (yes, he’d be a great guest on the show too). So it’s no wonder that he produced not only an incredible athlete, but an even more exceptional person.

Nell is a late-start marathon runner – and it suits her. At 32, she qualified handily for the Olympic Marathon Trials in her first marathon ever. Then she followed it up with a 2:28 win at her second marathon and a top 15 ranking in the US. We all have interesting and often winding paths to the things we were meant to pursue. Nell is no different, but the really intriguing part of her story is that her success and ability to tap into her greatness seem to be happening almost by mistake – or maybe by default! Like there’s a grand master plan that she is just stepping into at the exact time she’s supposed to.


Even though she’s relatively young, she has a very articulate way of sharing the lessons she’s learned. You can understand why she is a coach herself, developing her own style – a unique combination of her dad’s influence and her own experiences. Today we talk about:

  • Strength: physical, mental, all of it!
  • Strength training: Why she has been strength training since middle school & how it sets her apart from her running peers
  • Being the prodigy of a champion athlete: the role of her dad in her life
  • Her philosophy: It’s not about long miles
  • She doesn’t run doubles!!!
  • Burnout: what this is and how to get through it
  • Eating disorders and body image: Moving beyond the disorder into true self love
  • Reframing the negative & learning to lead with the positive
  • What it means to be the best you can be
  • Saying goodbye to ego and how that allows you to find your true courage

For more on Nell:

Coaching: She coaches athletes around the world, not just in Boulder!

Instagram @nell_rojas_running

Facebook @nell.rojas1

And a shoutout to her dad Ric!