Watching Laura Muir set records at 5,000m, 3,000m, and 1,000m indoors this past winter was fun. Watching her win the 1,500m and 3000m at the European Indoors in Belgrade was a big highlight of my track viewing, as Laura used different tactics to win both titles.
This weekend, Laura Muir will take on the world in the 1,500 meters at the Prefontaine Classic, in what should be one of the most hotly contested races of 2017. Here’s a fun interview by Cait Chock with Laura Muir, after her last races of 2017, at the European Indoor Champs.
Interview with Distance Phenom Laura Muir
By: Cait Chock
Laura Muir is no stranger to setting records and having all eyes on her when she steps to the starting line. (*cough* In a time trial by herself she set a new British indoor record for the 5k on January 4, 2017.) But what had eluded the young Muir, 23, was standing at the top of the podium. To the harrier, who has made it clear she is in a hunt for medals, not times, this was especially frustrating. People remember who wins the gold medal, where-as records have a way of being broken and forgotten over time.
Rest assured no one will be forgetting Muir. Even so, she at long last found her way to the top of the podium, and in a typical ‘go big or go home’ fashion, she decided to do it twice in the span of three days.
I had the great pleasure of chatting with Laura Muir right after her double Gold Medal victories at the European Indoor Championships. It will be exciting to watch her undertake the same double-gold challenge come the Outdoor World Championships in London, and it blows my mind that she’s doing all of this on top of rigorously studying and working as a veterinarian trainee!
1) You’ve had a little time to let it sink in, can you talk about how it felt stepping away from the European Indoor Championships with double gold medals?
I have to admit it took a few days to appreciate what had actually happened!
I had been waiting so long for a medal, so for two golds to come along in one competition was a dream come true.
2) How did those races feel? You didn’t get much recovery between events, Worlds in London you’ll get a lot more…so what is your game-plan there and what do you think it will take to win?
It was tough both mentally and physically. I knew I was strong enough to race well in both races I just had to believe in myself.
It was difficult knowing after each race I would need to prepare for another just a few hours later, 4 races in 3 days, running 45 laps of the indoor track is quite a lot!
London will be different, with it having global competition the rounds will be tougher and I am hoping to run the 5k too, which is further than the 3k. But we know from the indoor season our recovery strategies work and I am able to run well in successive races in a close time frame so between now and then it’s just a matter of training hard and getting myself into the best shape possible before the World Champs.
3) You’ve spoken a bit how you’re much more relaxed and able to take the media and attention in stride these days. What are some ways you’ve learned to manage the stress of competition and channel the nerves on race day?
I just think to myself, you work so hard in training and racing is meant to be the fun bit, so have fun!
Before I would get so nervous and found I was not enjoying racing sometimes, so I decided to be more relaxed around race day and in my warm up but still making sure I was focused.
I actually found I performed better because I wasn’t wasting all this energy beforehand.
4) You’ve long been one of the best, but over the last two years you’ve cemented yourself as the best, the Africans included. You’re proving genetics aren’t the end all. How does it feel to be an inspiration to your country women in that regard?
To have people coming up to me and saying they are inspired by my performances really means a lot.
I just go out there, commit 100% and run as fast as I can and it seems to work!
5) Is there anything you’ve been doing differently or may have added/changed over the last two years that you think played a key role in your progression? Or do you feel it was just having more experience and naturally building upon fitness year after year?
We have not really changed anything these past couple of years.
I just keep building on my fitness and find I am getting stronger and stronger.
I train consistently 6 days a week, every week, and practically never miss a session.
6) Can you give us a day/week in the life of Laura? Not only are you training but you’re also going to veterinary school and working as a trainee, both rigorous on their own let alone simultaneously! How do you manage to fit everything in?
Training varies from day to day but if I am on placement I will get up early to run beforehand and then run when I get back or if I have a session I have everything all packed the night before so I can drive straight to training.
A lot of it comes down to being very organized and lots of to-do lists to make sure I don’t forget anything
7) Training wise, can you tell us a little about your weekly volume, favorite workouts, and any extras you may do for strength and injury prevention?
I don’t complete a huge mileage each week, often less than a lot of distance runners but everything we do is of quality.
I like fast sessions, 200m reps are my favorite!
I complete different strength exercises each day, it’s not much, but each day focuses on a different muscle group.
We also do a big warm up incorporating lots of plyometric exercises too, which I think have helped a lot to make me stronger as an athlete.
8) Your coach has said how much you’ve improved in being able to run through the pain. Can you talk a little about that, and what are some tricks you have to block out the pain that comes with training and racing…because, let’s be honest, it can get pretty brutal.
I think a lot of it comes down to your mentality.
You know it’s going to hurt so you might as well get on with it and be happy with the end result!
If we are doing a big session that might involve 20 or so reps, I think of it as 10 reps and then once I reach 10 I think right just do that again and that’s you.
Breaking a session or run down into chunks makes it seem much more achievable and helps you to focus on the rep at the time and not worry about the many more that are to come.
9) Can you share a little about your nutrition, what does a typical day look like for you food-wise, and any favorites you frequently rely on to fuel you for workouts and races?
I love porridge, I have it for breakfast every morning. If I have been on a run I will add peanut butter to it too which provides a good source of protein and tastes great.
For lunch and dinner I have a lot of veggies, eggs, fish, chicken and the occasional steak.
Post session I will have a banana before retuning home to a big meal.
I also love chocolate milk too.
10) You’re still so young, you’ve talked how you are more focused on medals rather than records, can you tell us what some of your long term goals are?
I just would like to be the best runner I can.
You cannot control what other competitors do, so as long as I continue to race and feel I have given 100% in each race I will be happy.
Hopefully that will result in some global medals and titles too, fingers crossed!
Thank you so much for your time, Laura, and big cheers going out to you from Stateside!!
Caitlin Chock (caitchock.com) set the then National High School 5k Record (15:52.88) in 2004 and went on to run professionally for Nike. A freelance writer, artist, and comedian in Los Angeles, you can see more of her work on her website, Instagram @caitchock, and Twitter @caitlinchock.