Ahead of getting stuck in on the mud this winter, Laura Muir reflects on a successful season and looks ahead to Glasgow 2014
Having made a seamless transition to senior level, Laura Muir has continued to impress and is now looking forward to getting stuck in on the mud again this winter as she targets further track success in 2014.
The 20-year-old Scot began her first year out of the junior age group with a bang, winning the UK indoor 1500m title which secured her selection for the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg. As the year progressed, she went on to bag 1500m bronze at the European Under-23 Championships in Tampere in July before running a personal best on her way to making the 800m semi-finals at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August.
Numerous personal bests have been set across the board, including that 2:00.80 in Moscow, and with a big year ahead including the Commonwealth Games on home soil, the Dundee Hawkhill athlete is looking forward to what cross country has to offer this winter in the hope of gaining the best possible start.
“I’ve always done cross county,” explained Muir, who is targeting races in Scotland, the first being the National Cross Country Relays at Cumbernauld on Saturday, as well as the European Cross Country trials in Liverpool on November 23. “It puts me in good stead for the summer season. It’s nice to do and get some endurance in with it.
“I really enjoy it, it’s not too much pressure,” she continued, before laughing as she adds: “There’s always quite a lot of muddy cross countrys in Scotland!”
Something else which will certainly prove beneficial come next summer is her inclusion on UK Athletics’ funding lists.
A week ago Muir was named alongside the likes of fellow Scots Lynsey Sharp and Chris O’Hare on ‘Podium Potential’ World Class Performance Programme funding, which is for athletes developing towards Tokyo 2020, and as well as the financial support and all that comes with being part of the programme, the Glasgow University veterinary student is also grateful for the recognition.
“It means a lot to have that recognition and to have your name alongside the people that you always watched when you were younger,” Muir told AW while leading a training session for Shettleston Harriers organised to promote this winter’s British Athletics International.
“It’s quite surreal really,” she added. “It’s really nice to know that your efforts are being noticed and that they are giving me support to help me perform even better in the future.
“It makes such a big difference, especially with being at university as well. Just to have that safety net and not to have to worry about money for the next year.”
Although Muir has secured funding having been considered a possible Olympic medallist for seven years’ time in Japan, right now her focus is on Glasgow 2014 for which she has already secured her spot on the Scottish team.
“You’ve just got to take things year by year really, so at the moment it’s all about Glasgow 2014 and trying to make sure that everything goes smoothly for that,” she said.
“It takes a bit of pressure off in that I don’t have to try and get the qualification time,” she added of her selection, “we can plan the season a bit better towards peaking at Glasgow.
“But then yes there is that pressure that you are on the team, you’re expected to do well. I’ll still only be 21 next year so it will be another amazing experience.”
Having booked her spot for only the 1500m so far, the Andy Young-coached athlete is hoping to double up and run the 800m too, though she admits that was not always the plan.
“We thought at the start of the season that 1500m and 5000m might be the way to go,” said Muir, who holds personal bests of 4:07.76 and 15:53.68 respectively for those distances. ”But this year, because I’ve progressed so much over 800m, I think if I was to double up it would be 1500m and 800m.”
When it comes to racing tactics, Muir knows the experience gained in 2013 is invaluable and is eyeing her first sub-2 minute 800m clocking.
“Last year was my first year doing senior races and I did feel a bit intimidated by the competition,” she admits. “But I think now that I’ve competed against these athletes at a high level and beaten quite a lot of them as well, it’s given me a lot more confidence.
“If I get the right race sub-2 is definitely on the cards and I think certainly a PB in the 1500m as well.
“My racing tactics have certainly improved a lot, it’s all coming together now I think.”
» Registration is now open for tickets to the 2014 British Athletics Series, with Laura Muir having confirmed she is to compete at the Glasgow British Athletics International Match on January 25. See www.britishathletics.org.uk.