Welcome to our ‘In the Pen‘ interview with record breaking, championship winning, Great Britain international athlete, Laura Muir – the latest edition of our series of chats with runners who inspire the Lonely Goat Running Club community.
Laura has enjoyed an amazing rise to the top of the athletics world, competing over the middle distances, 800m to 5000m. Among her many achievements are:
- Four European Indoor Championships gold medals (1500 and 3000m, in both 2017 and 2019);
- Gold in the 1500m at the European Championships (outdoors) in 2018;
- European records over 1000m and 3000m indoors;
- British records over 1000 and 1500m (outdoors) and 5000m (indoors).
What makes this all the more impressive, is that until recently Laura was combining her training and competing with studying to become a vet, before graduating in 2018 – which she talks about in more detail, below.
Laura is aiming to complete at the Olympics in Tokyo next year, yet was generous enough to take time out of her training schedule to answer our ‘In the Pen’ interview questions.
1. Why do you run?
It’s fairly simple for me, as I think it probably is for most people reading this: I just love it.
I didn’t get into running with any ambitions of doing this for a living. I was a fairly late developer, so for me it has always been just about getting out there and enjoying the process. I’ve formed great relationships within the sport – my training partners and my coach are some of my closest friends – so the mix of a passion for running itself and the social element are my “why”.
2. What motivates you?
The challenge to become the best version of myself. When we race we do that against others but ultimately my motivation is the contest against myself. When this is all over and I hang up my professional spikes I just want to look back and know in myself that I gave it everything.
It’s all about fulfilling my own potential as opposed to beating others.
3. What are your top tips for beginner runners?
Learning from my own journey it would just be to enjoy it. Find a way of running that works for you and enjoy it. For some that might be running alone, for others it might be in a group. The model is different for everyone, but ultimately we should all be running for the love of the sport; so finding that when you start is important.
4. What is your favourite place to run?
I’ve been incredibly lucky to travel the world racing competitively. I’ve raced in numerous Olympic stadia. As a Scot, racing at Hampden Park during the 2014 Commonwealth Games was iconic!
I think my favourite place to run is on the canals of Glasgow. I love being home and I find comfort in those beautiful familiar runs. The dirt trails in South Africa are amazing though, and a lovely surface to run on too.
5. Where would you like to run that you haven’t?
The stadium in Tokyo! Haha…
But on a serious note, it was a real shame that the Olympic Games were delayed this year. It was for all the right reasons, but I’m very excited to get out there and to race in that stadium in 2021.
Before every Olympics we see all the images of the developments and the stadiums and I think we all know that the Japanese will put on a real show!
6. Do you have any funny running stories?
I am not sure if it classes as funny as such, but it was certainly different! We were in South Africa on a training camp and we had a really hard session of 1 kilometer hills. We were just about to start a rep when this family of warthogs started crossing the path! I just remember saying “I hope those warthogs are out the way by the time we start”.
8. What did you used to do when running that you don’t do now?
When I was studying at vet school I used to have to go out for my morning runs really early before lectures or placement. Often it would be dark in the winter which made it tricky to run quickly, especially when the weather often was not great.
I’m very happy now that I can at least get my morning run in the daylight even though the evening runs are still in the dark!
9. What result are you most proud of?
In a running sense the double gold at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow was very special. Doing that in front of a home crowd with my friends and family there was really important to me and a memory I will cherish.
In a personal sense my veterinary degree from the University of Glasgow is something I’m very proud of. Before running became an option for me professionally, I was dead set on becoming a vet and finishing my degree was always a priority.
10. Who inspires you?
My family. It might sound cheesy, but now more than ever I think we are all grateful to those closest to us.
11. Are you a parkrunner?
I’m not! With all of the travel and competition it’s tough to schedule it in. Maybe some day though…
I see there are some pretty fast parkrun times out there and it’s a fantastic organisation doing great work.
12. Music or silence when running?
Silence. I like that I can be aware of what’s going on around me and I can be in tune with my body, listening to my breathing and foot strike.
13. What do you like about running on your own?
I love the peacefulness of it all. I often find myself in a daydream. When it’s just you and the road, tow path, trail or track you can just enjoy that moment and all your worries seem to disappear. I find I always feel better after a solo run, not just physically but mentally.
14. What is your next challenge?
I’m hoping to have a fair few races in 2021, but the big focus will be the Olympic Games in Tokyo. After the chaos of 2020 that target has become even more important so going out there and doing myself and my country proud is the priority for the next 10 months!
15. How can people follow you online?
Instagram is probably the best place to start – @lmuiruns.
16. Anything else you would like to add.
Just that I hope everyone is doing ok. It’s been a tough 12 months and personal wellbeing should be the focus. I think communities like Lonely Goat are great to help build digital communities in times like this so keep supporting each other and keep finding the joy in your running!
Thank you so much for answering our questions, Laura!
The Lonely Goat Running Club community will be cheering you on in 2021 and beyond!
Keep your eyes peeled for the next edition of ‘In the Pen‘, coming soon…