photo: Will Patrick
In our Q&A series, we like to get to know our #FlyberyWomen. From brand owners and designers, to health and fitness instructors; we love to hear about the hopes, dreams and inspirations behind the labels and the lifestyles.
This week, we caught up with Laura Murray as she takes us on her very own marathon journey. Between her busy day job and hectic life in London, Laura turned a simple charity challenge into a true passion for running. Ensuring us that ‘if she can do it, anyone can’ we hear all about her routine, inspiration and continued success...
If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
I’m determined, dedicated, driven and someone who sometimes finds it hard to sit still!
What does your typical day look like? How do you start your mornings?
A typical day? That will be a marathon training day then, ha! I wake up usually at a time that starts with a 5 or a 6 to train. I much prefer training in the morning because then it’s done and nothing that happens during the day can get in the way.
I tend to train near my office so I can finish in the gym, and then head straight to my desk (I usually eat breakfast at work). I work from 8.30am to 6pm and at the moment am trying really hard to go straight home from work (except where there is an odd evening training session/social event), to make sure I am prepared for the next day, have time to eat and most importantly, get enough sleep.
Sleep is the hardest for me during marathon training. I never feel like I can get enough!
What got you into running?
Charity! A charity 5k was my first run in 2008 during a placement year in London. I was keen to get involved with my colleagues and raise some money for charity. I hadn’t really run much before this, and apart from the charity motivation, I didn’t enjoy it at all. It wasn’t until 2012 that I attempted another race… although, it was a charity 10k so double the distance!
It was only when I moved to Switzerland for 2 years in 2013 though that I really found a passion for running, the outdoors and ultimately the distance. With a beautiful lake on my doorstep it was hard not to run around it. I soon then entered a 10k race, only my 2nd time running that distance. Little did I know at that time, my runs were about to get a whole lot longer, as I then found out I’d got a London Marathon spot!
My marathon story started here.
I trained for the London Marathon from October 2014, and ran my first half marathon in Lucerne Switzerland during training. I’d always wanted to run a marathon. One day. I didn’t know it would happen that quickly!
I completed the London Marathon in April 2015 and then went on to run the Berlin Marathon in September 2015, followed by the Brighton Marathon (my PB) in April 2016. For someone who said they only ever wanted to run one marathon, to running 3 in 12 months… I didn’t do too badly. I guess I caught the running bug...
Chicago will be my 5th marathon next month! If you would have asked me back when training for London if I thought I’d be running my 5th marathon, I would never had believed you. To go from very little running to so many marathons in a short amount of time shows that a sudden passion for running is possible and that anyone can have a marathon story.
How many times a week do you run? How long are your runs?
With my current marathon plan I am running 4 times a week. The type of run varies across each session, as does the time. But, the shortest session would be 30-45 minutes for a speed session, about an hour for recovery or tempo runs and then up to 3 hours for a long run.
Tell us what do you do when you’re not running? Your IG feed looks like you’re running all the time :)
That’s because it is a lot of running, at the moment at least... but my Instagram is my training diary too. My marathon routine does include core strength work at Barry’s though (I do Double Floor for this), Barre at BARREtoned and Hot Yoga at Hot Pod Yoga. If I’m not in any of those places and not running, then I am either eating my way around London (Strut and Cluck is my current favourite), or enjoying a holiday. I did spam my Instagram recently with Vancouver and Santorini!
Ok, we’ve known this already but you mentioned many people are surprised about the fact you’re able to balance work and your training routine. How do you do this?
A lot of dedication and early alarm clocks!! A lot of it becomes routine, but I believe if you’re committed to finding the routine and you are committed to your goal, it can be done. As I mentioned in my typical day, training in the morning helps. There tends to be less distractions at 6am than 6pm and so there is less pressure throughout the day to make sure your evening stays clear.
Wow, so it is possible! Running in a few marathons a year doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have time for anything else!
It is a commitment for sure and any marathon runner will tell you it isn’t easy but… it is 100% possible. I strongly believe that if it’s something you really want to do, then it’s possible! It might be something you have to trust me on, but honestly… If I can do it, you can.
Ok, so could you tell us more about your work? Tell us more about who Laura is when she’s not busy running...
I work in the TV industry as a lawyer, drafting TV and licence agreements. I love my work, and even though the days can be long and it can be extremely busy, it’s interesting content to be working on. So, for most of the day it definitely isn’t running, it’s sitting at a desk.
What are your favourite running brands?
Nike is my favourite! It is a brand I trust in terms of comfort and technology when it comes to running.
Favourite running shoes?
Nike Lunarglide – they just work the best for me and my running style, and provide the support I need. I have completed a number of gait analysis assessments at Profeet (@profeetcustom) in Fulham London, which I’d say is so important to have done when looking at new shoes.
When working out, what clothing do you feel most comfortable in and why?
I love lightweight t-shirts/vests for working out, and something that dries quickly! There is nothing worse than staying in wet sweaty clothes, if you can’t change straight away. For running, I have worn more shorts this year and found lots more freedom… but leggings do come with more pockets, so it depends on how much I am carrying!
How do you prepare for the run?
I make sure I am well hydrated, paying particular attention 1-2 days before, have eaten properly and am warmed up. I have my kit laid the evening before to make the early morning as easy as possible.
Favourite post-run meal?
After a marathon, pizza for sure! The excitement for pizza in Chicago is starting to build!
Favourite running spot?
In London, Regents Canal or the Royal Parks because they’re traffic free! Stopping and starting on runs can be frustrating. I have run a fair few miles in Vancouver too, and the routes are simply stunning. Stanley Park if you’re ever there!
If not running, which sport would you do?
Does Barry’s Bootcamp count?!
Sure, we love Barry’s Bootcamp too! :) so, what’s the plan now?
Next up I have Chicago Marathon on the 8th October. I’ll be hoping for a PB there, but the ultimate goal is to qualify for Boston Marathon. I have a 2018 London Marathon spot secured via Good For Age, so that’s the marathon plan as it stands at the moment… and we will just have to see what happens and where we go from there!
You mentioned you went through quite a serious injury recently…
I had some bone stress in my left ankle, discovered in September 2016. It can come from overuse, and I think adding in one extra run in a week over some time was enough for me, but I came out of the other side… and stronger! I trusted my instincts that something didn’t feel right and had this looked at straight away by my osteopath and sports therapist, Rebecca at Balanced Osteopathy (@balancedosteo – she really is amazing).
Having this assessed straight away was so important. Rest, rest and more rest was on the cards and in the end I had around 9 weeks away from running. I listened to the advice and I become a total geek with my rehab exercises, strength training and spent more time in the swimming pool. By doing this, I saw improvement week on week and trusting the process on this was so important. I am so glad I listened to my body in the first place followed by the advice, because at the end of the day 9 weeks away from running was nothing and the weeks slowly building back up, compared to the 6 months or more it could have been. It was almost a break from running that I needed, because I came back from it stronger than ever and even more fired up to run!
Tell us about something you’re proud of…
Signing up to a marathon in the first place. That is always the biggest step!
The biggest challenge in your life has been…
Last year, I completed a charity projected in Zambia. Leaving behind those families and young children we had spent so much time with was heartbreaking. I wrote several posts on Instagram at the time about how the experience there was honestly the most challenging but most rewarding thing I have ever done.
What is your motto to live by?
Training can be hard, particularly the length and effort required for marathon training. Like I said, it’s a commitment… but the journey and finish is more than worth it. You also learn so much about yourself. So if I need that push to get up, or push to run faster or work harder... it is ‘Laura! Get it done, because you CAN do it and remember you’re the one who signed up for this!’
Who is your inspiration?
My Mum. She’s not a runner, but she’s a fighter. She has beaten breast cancer twice, and I have never met anyone more determined, positive, beautiful or as strong as my Mum. She was the reason I signed up to that charity 5k in the beginning!
Coffee or tea?
I have never tried coffee – I cannot stand the smell (I know, I know) but I do have tea every now and then, usually when I’m cold.
Tell us something we don’t know about you...
I am allergic to apples.
What is your top recommendation for other #FlyberyWomen?
Enjoy your training. Enjoying your workout makes it ten times easier! Also, listen to your body. Rest and recover when your body is asking for it - it will thank you in the long run (no pun intended). Use it as time to catch up on your favourite things that you don't get time for when you're rushing around. Having a bath is one my favourites – a @westlabsalts bath is almost my second home.
Who should we be following on Instagram?
Where do I start? I think this is the hardest question of all! I have made so many amazing friends through Instagram and there really are many inspiring and motivating people, that you can share a similar passion with. Going back to the previous question too, I would definitely encourage people to build their network based on what interests and inspires them.