Physiologist and running coach Colin Thomas shares his experience of working with the New Zealand marathoner in Kenya as he trains for the Commonwealth Games
Athlete insight – Laura MuirMarch 24, 2016
After a stellar 2015 season in which she moved to second on the UK all-time 1500m rankings, Laura Muir tells Eilish McColgan of her plans to shine on the world stage in 2016
My pre-race routine is relatively simple. I go for a short walk the day before but on the day of my race I always have a lie-in. It’s all about rest and recovery at that point; the hard work is already done. I rest up all day and relax before heading to the track.
I met my coach, Andy Young, in 2011. He was coaching the Glasgow University Athletics Club and I had just joined the group soon after becoming a student. From then on, it just worked brilliantly. I train with the uni squad twice a week for my two track sessions.
Fast is what I love best on the track. Any sessions that involves speed work, especially quick 200m repetitions, are my favourite. I absolutely dread sessions that involve a recovery jog – they’re just the worst.
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was definitely a huge disappointment for me. I don’t really have any regrets surrounding my race because I felt like I did the best I could given what happened on the day. The race was very messy and I was unfortunate to get caught up in it all.
Winning the Oslo Diamond League race was definitely a career highlight. I led the entire race from gun to finish and was extremely pleased to take the win and gain my first ever Diamond League points. I would also add in my fifth place at the World Championships last year to my proudest achievements. It was my second World Championships, but after a disappointment in 2013, I was pleased to have turned it around against such a world-class field.
Oslo is now pretty highly ranked as my favourite stadium. The crowd is really close to the track and so the atmosphere is brilliant. It definitely spurred me on. The Bird’s Nest in Beijing was also a pretty spectacular stadium. It was amazing both inside and out.
I’m currently studying veterinary medicine at Glasgow University. It’s definitely the field of work I want to go into after my athletics career is over. I hope to be a small-animal vet.
My plan was always to open up indoors during January. Although I am not taking on a full indoor season this year, Andy and I decided to schedule a couple of indoor events in Scotland.
Our training group is very mixed. It works really well. We have sprinters, jumpers, 400m runners and then our distance group – so there are always loads of people to warm up with. Within the distance group, there are mainly 800m and 1500m athletes, both men and women. A few of them actually run similar times to me over the distances so that’s a great help. And we have fun socially.
I was delighted to win Scottish athlete of the year in 2015. There was terrific competition for the title, with so many good performances from Scottish athletes over the season. I was thrilled for Andy to win the top coaching award, too. He works really hard at his coaching and it’s always nice for him to receive a bit of recognition too.
Cross country is always a vital part of my training program. I’ve always loved it and enjoy being out there competing again the girls I’ve raced against since I was little in the youth age groups. Every year, the number of competitors is rising for these sorts of events, which is brilliant to see. Getting a progression from junior to senior level is vital for the health of the sport. It’s getting people out competing which I think is really important.
I think I can break the British record. I hope I have another 10 years or so left in the sport and so I think I’ve got a good chance of going a little bit faster. My PB was set in a really mixed-paced race, so given an even pace I reckon I could go even faster.
I’ve actually never met Dame Kelly Holmes but she’s a huge inspiration to me. She was probably my earliest memory of an Olympic Games. I remember watching her win the double gold and thinking – wow! It’s amazing to be following in her footsteps and to be in second place on the all-time lists behind her.
TYPICAL WEEK’S TRAINING FOR LAURA MUIR
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Grass speed session or hills
Sunday – Long run
Monday – Track session
Tuesday – AM: Steady run. PM: Run and circuits
Wednesday – Track session
Thursday – AM: Steady run. PM: Run
» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes