ATHLETE OF THE MONTH FEBRUARY 2017: LAURA FOUNTAIN

Laura Fountain

Laura Fountain AKA the runner, marathoner, writer, running coach, PT behind Lazy Girl Running . Although you probably know a lot about Laura already, I’ll outline a few basics but then let you read on with the interview. Surprisingly, Laura hasn’t always been a runner and decided to take it up when she was a round 30…as it’s fair to say her journey is an inspiration- she went from hardly clearing 10 minutes on the treadmill to marathon running, triathlon-ing and more. Laura writes about it on her blog and in various running magazines…Oh, and she has also written 2 books which I would thoroughly recommend.

1. We’ll start with the basics: what does a normal week in training include?

I try to run 4 times a week. If I’m training for a race that will include an interval run, a tempo run a long run and an easy run. Plus doing a few miles here and there with the runners I coach. I also try to do strength work at the gym twice a week and I cycle around London on my bike which I see more as transport but there’s some aerobic benefit there. Right now though I don’t have any goal races and am coming back from a small injury so I’m doing four runs totalling about 20 miles and mixing in an interval session on the indoor bike.

2. Coming from a non-running background, do you feel that you have a different outlook on the sport compared to those who have been competing since their teen years?

Absolutely. I think that a lot of traditional training advice for beginners and armatures comes from looking at elite athletes are doing and just scaling it back for non-elites which is the wrong way of approaching beginners.

runner-southern-champs-cross-country-parliament-hill-laura-fountain

Helping someone start running and find a way to enjoy it is as much about taking away the barriers (real or perceived) that are stopping them from doing this. Giving them practical advice, understanding what’s holding them back and reassuring them that they’re not a lost cause is easier for me because I’ve been there and I know how it feels. And I’ve got a great group of women who train with me who I can point at and say ‘they were where you are a few months ago and now look at them’.

3.  I think I speak for everyone when I say that I love reading your blog and social media feeds…but what are your views on the idealised fitness-lifestyles that have been created, mainly via Instagram? 

 I have mixed feelings. On Instagram I have a rule that I only follow people that I’ve met in real life and this helps because I’m able to put the images I see into context of their wider life. Because otherwise it’s easy to fall into a trap of comparing your real life with someone else’s edited highlights.
For myself, I try to share my genuine love of running but to be honest in admitting that not every run is a glamorous speedy sprint into a sunset. Running can be hard.

4. In 2015 you published your second book Tricurious. Would we be allowed a little snippet as to why you decided to take up triathlons? Was it a smooth transition from running (pun not intended…)?

I got into triathlons for two reasons really. First off, I’d had some injury niggles running which made me do some cross training. I was cycling and going to the pool which led me to get swim lessons and the natural next step was to do a tri.

It was a natural progression but a terrifying one. But (and this is reason two) running a marathon showed me I could do things I previously thought I couldn’t. So as impossible as it seemed, I decided I was going to have a go at triathlon.
I wrote Tricurious with my friend and triathlon mentor, Katie King I wanted the book to be partly my story of getting into triathlon and part guide (written by Katie). But it’s more than that, it’s also about two friends supporting each other in their challenges and having a good time along the way. I think to often triathlons and marathons are described as ‘gruelling’ or ‘punishing’ and while they are difficult, they can also be a lot of fun too.

5. Do you have any advice for people who’re just starting up? Does it get easier as you go along or do you just end up loving running more so learn to enjoy the pain?!

Go easy on yourself and start slowly. Don’t rush out there and run as far as you can as fast as you can the first session. My beginners start with just 1 minute of running at a time in Week One and in 10 weeks they can run 5k without stopping.

Find other people to run with – friends and family or a local running group. It really is much easier to run with other people. And yes, it will get easier. It will take a while, but it will be worth it.

runner on beach lazy girl running laura fountain6. What has been the favourite moment of your running career so far?

 If we’re talking my own running, I’d have to say Edinburgh Marathon last year. About 22 miles in I knew I was going to reach my goal of running a Boston Qualifier and if I could hold on I’d also run 3:30. It had been a long time in the making.

But I’m my coaching, every time I get an email on a Monday from a runner who has managed to reach their own goal and each time my beginners make it to 5k and are amazed by what they’ve just done, it makes me very happy.

7. Things are going incredibly well for you at the moment, but what are you looking to achieve in the future? Any challenges on the horizon?

I’m doing a couple of half marathons this spring but I won’t be trying to set any PBs this time round. I’m living vicariously through the runners I coach at the moment and helping them reach their goals. So I guess my challenge this year is coaching focussed rather than running focussed.

runner-in-park-with-sunset-lazy-girl-running-laura-fountain8. Your favourite blog post from LazyGirlRunning!

I think as a typical writer I’m always critical of the things I’ve written. But if I had to pick it would be this one The Road to the Manchester Marathon.

I don’t often write about what’s going on in my personal life and prefer to keep the subject on running, but this was something I had to write.

runner in park brooks trainers lazy girl running laura fountainWe’ll end with a quick one: what 3 words would you use to describe your running-journey over the last few years?

Sweaty. Sweary. Persistent.”

I just want to say a huge thank you to Laura for taking the time to answer these questions.

For next months’ athlete you’ll have to wait till the end of March, however in the mean time please do catch up with Laura on her blog, on Instagram, and on Twitter.
Originally published on TeenRunner
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