Emma Abrahamson was a star miler and member of the University of Oregon team that won the 2016 NCAA DI XC Championships. She may have retired from her running career, but she’s just getting started with her next adventure: transitioning her coaching/social media side hustle into full-time self employment!
The product? “Get After Fit” Coaching! Now, she lives in San Diego and she’s on a journey from athlete to social media influencer to coach/entrepreneur!
Read more about her journey below, or check out the full audio interview!
Emma Abrahamson got her start in swimming and triathlons. She was a precocious runner and was soon recruited by a club coach. At age 11, she quit swimming and went all-in with track & field. She remembers her personal trainer assigning intense workouts when she was as young as 12.
“I was running times that most middle schoolers can’t run. I dedicate that to her. She pushed me very hard.” The trainer, Suzanna Davis, was also a professional triathlete. “She helped set me up for a good high school career.”
After high school, Emma became a member of the University of Oregon team. Here, she was on the squad that won the NCAA DI Championships in 2016. The middle distance specialist ran a personal best of 4:39 in the mile!
Throughout her running career at Oregon, Emma began cultivating her personal social media brand through Youtube videos.
After graduating, she moved to Atlanta for work. Here, she trained post-collegiately for a short time with Atlanta Track Club Elite (AJC Peachtree Road Race, anyone?).
“A combination of everything led me to where I am today.”
A (YouTube) Star is Born
Her YouTube channel got its start when she was in Eugene, Oregon for an internship with Run Gum. On a day with too much free time, she decided to film “a day in the life”. Her videos began gaining traction among young runners. Soon, she even had a catchphrase: “What’s up fellows?”
She calls her YouTube channel “probably the best thing I did in college”. She clarifies that “it’s brought a lot of opportunities work-wise that I never thought I’d have.”
Young athletes who follow her on social media often ask for advice. Although it’s hard for her to keep up with all the comments and questions, Emma finds it very rewarding to hear from the athletes who look up to her and are motivated by her work.
This was a big inspiration for her to start her own training program to help people reach their goals. She already had some coaching experience — during breaks from college, she helped out with a youth club called Junior Mavericks. Seeing them succeed and run personal bests energized her.
“Coaching was always on the back of my mind,” Emma mused. “I looked up to my coach [University of Oregon Coach Maurica Powell]–especially seeing her and the inspiration she provides for her team.”
Coach Powell changed Emma’s outlook on how good she could really be as a runner. Emma dedicates her 1500m PR of 4:18 to Coach Powell (as well as her teammates), noting that she probably would have been satisfied with just breaking 4:25.
Now, Emma is ready: she is NFHS certified and has her USATF Level 1 certification class scheduled. She’ll be offering individualized training plans, weekly evaluations through Training Peaks, one-on-one phone calls, nutrition advice, and supplementary weight training. Her target athlete: everyone!
“This is a really cool opportunity. It’s so rewarding to see people accomplish their goals.”
On Starting a Business
Emma has some sage advice: “in the process of starting your own business, don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Emma admits that she didn’t know where to begin. After lots of research and conversations with mentors, she finally realized that there’s only one way to proceed: trail and error.
“It is pretty frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing, but there’s never really a right time to get started so you might as well start now with doing your research.”
But struggling through this process has paid off big time for Emma.
“I didn’t think of myself as an entrepreneur until I started my personal brand on social media,” she observed. “I’m still in the beginning so I have a long ways to go, but it’s been fun!”
One last thing: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who have [started a business] before you because it is hard but it’s definitely a rewarding endeavor.”
Listen to the full audio interview here: