The British 1500m record-holder and European champion offers advice on how to train through autumn and winter
Following what she deems as “probably my most successful year on the track”, European and Diamond League 1500m champion Laura Muir – who has also qualified as a vet in 2018 – is getting ready for another winter of hard training.
Reflecting on her year, which also included her first global medals at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, the 25-year-old admits: “I’m very, very proud of myself. I said to myself this year was all about getting my degree and that was the main focus, but it just so happened that the running went very well, too!
“It was great to not just tick the veterinary box but to do well in the running as well, both indoors and outdoors.”
She adds: “This year was really important for me, not just in terms of completing my degree but when it comes to making a good stance and getting some medals on the board – not just a European medal but on world level as well.”
Now Muir’s targets for 2019 include the European Indoor Championships on home soil in Glasgow and the IAAF World Championships in Doha but the Scottish star needs to make sure her body is in peak condition to allow her to get there.
“I’m very, very focused this winter on being in the best shape I can be for the European Indoor Championships,” she says of the event which takes place at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena at the beginning of March. “Not only is it a home crowd but it’s my home track as well. I train there week in, week out. It will mean a lot to me.
“Every athlete is very competitive but I think when you’re on home turf, you don’t want anybody to take that home glory from you.
“Rest assured, I’m going to do the best I can to be in the best shape I can be before that competition. It means an awful lot to me and I’ll have lots of friends and family in the audience. I want to give the best performance I can and hopefully that’s a win there.”
Here Muir offers her top tips on training and looking after yourself.
» I think the first thing would be footwear. Get a good pair of trainers that are supportive for you. A lot of the shops do look at your feet and see if you’re a pronator or flat-footed so they can recommend what level support you need. I think that’s really important – start from the feet up!
» If it is winter and really cold then wear the right clothing. You don’t want your muscles being really cold before you start running.
» Warm up. It’s important to do stretches, some squats and lunges, and a few dynamic things as well, before you start running. Before some sessions my warm-up is about 45 minutes. It’s quite a long one for doing fast stuff. It’s about five or 10 minutes for doing runs.
» When you set off running, gradually increase your pace. Don’t start off, smash it and pull something! Gradually work into it and allow your body to warm up and get used to it and the conditions. Be careful when it’s a bit icy.
Protect your body
I get treatment three times a week from a combination of a masseuse and physios. I think it’s really important – when you’re pushing your body so hard and your muscles are working really hard.
When they do that, they fatigue, they get tight, so it’s really important to keep everything loose, keep everything working as it should be and make sure that your mechanics are working properly and you’re moving fluidly.
If you don’t look after yourself then that’s when issues can happen – you can get tears, you can get joint issues. It is important to look after that side of things.
You learn how to push your body that little bit more every single time, until it breaks and then you’re like ‘right okay, that was too far!’
It is a big learning curve, knowing how hard you can push yourself but then maintaining at that and not stepping over the line.
» Laura Muir was speaking with AW at the inaugural Simplyhealth Canine Run, part of the Simplyhealth Great South Run weekend. Find out more about Simplyhealth at simplyhealth.co.uk