I am so excited to share with you today’s Friday Feature Interview: Running Inspiration is elite runner, Tina Muir!!
Tina and I connected because of this crazy blogging world and since I was already a big fan of hers, I am so excited she was willing and able to participate in this series and provide some Running Inspiration for me and hopefully for all of you!
Tell me a little about yourself.
Hello! I am an elite runner from Great Britain, who lives in Kentucky (yes, I know that is random), with my husband (and coach) Steve. I am 28, and have been in the US for almost half my life, which is crazy for me to think about now!
I am the Community Manager for RunnersConnect, which I am hoping you have all heard of and trust as your go to source for the science behind running. I am sure many of you are wondering, what the heck is a community manager? Well, I help to grow the RunnersConnect brand, and look after all of our social media channels. It is also how I got to know this lovely lady. Oh, and I host the Run to the Top Podcast, which I hope you will check out!
How long have you been running?
I started running around age 14, and got serious for a few years, before falling off the rails between 17-19, and then getting back on track my first year of college (in the US). Since then, I would say I have taken it rather seriously.
What made you decide to start running?
I am not sure to be honest. I actually didn’t like running at first, but I think it was one of those situations where you start to enjoy what you are good at. But slowly I started to realize that i loved running for other reasons than just being good at it.
What is your favorite thing about running?
I wish I could say it was the freedom it brings, the ability to challenge yourself, or the community it has introduced me to. Although all of those are important, and I love each of them (along with many other things), my favorite thing about running is the finish line of a PR race. Knowing you have crossed that line knowing that you left everything out there, in all the training you did, the hours you dedicated, the setbacks you faced. I love the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing it was all worthwhile.
How many races have you done?
Agh! Absolutely no idea, Waaaaaaayyy too many to count. I would guess I am in the 1000s by now.
What is your favorite race and why?
My first London marathon. I had reaaallly struggled in my first two marathons, and vowed that I was going to enjoy my first London marathon, no matter what. It had always been a dream of mine to race the London marathon, one I had thought about since I saw Paula Radcliffe break the world record in the marathon. I took in the famous monuments, waved to friends and family, and just soaked in the experience. I felt great, and just got stronger as the race went. It could not have been a bigger contrast to my first two marathons, and just reminded me of why I run.
What is your most memorable race/running experience?
Earlier this year, I represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the World Half Marathon Championships. Running for Great Britain had been my ultimate dream from the first time I started running, and to be able to accomplish that goal after 12 years, it was an incredible feeling, and I just loved it.
What is your favorite race distance?
I hope that if you ask me this in a year, I will say the marathon, but as those two first marathons are still very fresh in my mind, right now, I will have to say the half marathon as it is just the perfect distance. You get to soak in and enjoy the first 6ish miles, and then it is go time, but you do not have to hold that pain for over an hour like you would in a marathon. And for me, I also do not need to take in fuel for a half marathon, so that is nice as I am not very good at taking down fuel during a race without choking!
Do you have any running goals?
Ohhh I have a lot. Two of the biggest ones I accomplished this year, which was incredible. Actually, technically one of them I accomplished twice! I ran for GB&NI in the European Championships as well as the World Half Marathon, which was my ultimate goal, and I broke 2:40 in the marathon, which was always a goal.
But as a runner, most of us do not stop once we get those ultimate goals, we want more and more.
So next goals are sub 2:35 in the marathon, which I hope to achieve this year, and my ultimate lifetime goals for the other races are:
Under 2:30 in the marathon
Under 72:00 in the half marathon
Under 33:00 in the 10k
Under 16:00 in the 5k
We will see what happens with those 🙂
Are you currently training for any races?
When this comes out, I will be well into marathon training for the California International marathon in December (hoping to get that next 2:35 goal). I am also planning on doing a few local races along the way, in addition to the Indy Monumental Half Marathon, where I would hope to run a PR.
How has running made an impact on your life?
Too many ways to count. Running brings so much joy and beauty to our lives. Even though most think that running is uncomfortable and painful, so why would you put yourself through it, runners already know what it brings. Without running, I would not be writing this post, I would not be living in the US, I would never have met my husband Steve. My running ability allowed me to pursue a career in running, which led to the greatest achievements and moments of my life. I cannot even imagine how different my life would be without it.
What kind of nutrition strategies do you use to facilitate performance and/or recovery?
Oh I could go on about this for hooouuurrsss!
I have actually made a lot of changes to my diet in the past year, and I have noticed an incredible difference in how I look and how I feel, especially when it comes to recovery. I eat a lot of fish thanks to a wonderful company, Sizzlefish, who make it nice and easy. I also try to have some kind of meat or eggs every day.
The number one thing I would say is that increasing my protein and fat intake has helped with recovery, and allowed my body to bounce back a lot quicker and feel better during. I noticed that I don’t get that foggy/fuzzy feeling towards the end of a long run, and I don’t feel so RAVENOUS all the time, which is nice. I talked about exactly what I eat in a blog post of mine recently, if anyone is interested.
I think it is very important to refuel within 40 minutes of finishing exercise, and making sure it is high in protein is the best way to do this. I have a recovery bowl that I absolutely looooveee for post run. It sounds weird, I know, but trust me, its SO good! Try it!
Enduropacks has been with me since the start of my professional running career, and each of the four products help in their own way. If I had to pick one though, it would be the L-Glutamine tablets I take before bed to assist with recovery while you sleep. I also take BodyHealth Perfect Amino tablets every day, they are great for helping to build muscle, and also help with performance. I take them before my hard workouts, or towards the end of a long run.
What do you want other people to know about you/your running/running in general?
Oh there are so many things I could say, but I think what is most important is that you should NEVER put yourself down, or compare yourself to me or any other runners. Every single runner in the world, I don’t care how good they are or how fast they are, has bad days, has struggles, and goes through times where they just don’t want to run…..and yes, hate it.
People often think that life is easy for an elite, that we float along feeling great. Once you get to a certain level, it is smooth sailing, but it is just not true, at ALLLLLL. I would say over half my runs each and every week, I feel like crap, and I spend a lot of time counting down until I am finished. As I am sure you know, running is a grind, and it is those days where you get it done, even when you are not feeling great, that make all the difference.
Oh, and SLOOOWWWW DOWNNNNNN!!!! My marathon pace is 6:00 per mile, but my recovery days are 8:00-9:00 per mile, seriously. On your recovery days, you NEED to be going so slowly that it almost feels pointless, that way, your body can reap the benefits of the hard workouts, and actually recover.
What is your favorite race medal/memorabilia?
Last year, when I won the Army 10 mile, I was given a display case with an American flag that was flown over the Pentagon during the 9/11 ceremony. It was folded up (in the triangle), and displayed beautifully with a plaque on the bottom. It looks so cool, and something I will definitely cherish for life.
Anything else you want to add?
Just to tell people out there to believe in themselves. Do not ever think that you do not look like a runner, you are not fast enough to be a runner, or that you are not good enough. Believe in YOU and your journey. YOU are strong and beautiful and yes, a RUNNER. If you are out there doing it, you are committing to this journey, and going after your own goals, you are a runner and you should be proud of that. Your family and friends will love you for who you are, no matter what you run. So get rid of those expectations, and believe in who YOU are.
As I like to say, Be Brave. Be Strong. Be YOU!
OH, and I would LOOOOVVVE if you could check out my Run to the Top Podcast for Runners Connect, I really hope you like it. I would recommend starting with this one with Dick Beardsley.
Connect with Tina: