I met elite runner Tina Muir through listening to the first running podcast she hosted. As I trained for (my third) Marine Corps Marathon in 2014, I ran way more than nine miles with Tina and her guests. I’ve followed her journey as an elite runner, from training on the rolling hills of Kentucky to representing her first love and home, Great Britain, in the 2016 World Half Marathon Championships. BFD! Tina is humble, goofy, and very real. I’ve been lucky enough to work with her as a freelancer and editor, and now, through the Lane 9 Project.
She answered the 9 questions below for us, and provided the photos. We’re thrilled to feature her as our first Lane 9 Project Elite Runner!
Are you an elite runner, influencer, or active woman? Join us, share your story, or just say hi through our L9P form.
9 Miles With Elite Runner Tina Muir
Why is running your sport of choice?
I love that running is the best representation of the idea that what you put in is what you get out. There are no shortcuts in running, no way around hard work, time, energy and love. The more you put into doing the little things and committing yourself to being the best you can be, the more it will give back to you. Sometimes it might not be in ways you expect, and sometimes it might seem cruel and relentless, but in the end, we are always rewarded for our efforts.
What is the biggest lesson running has taught you?
That nothing worth having comes easy. We always think that we would love if every run was a PR, if every run was great—how wonderful that would be—but in reality, it doesn’t work that way. We can’t always choose when we feel good, and there are a lot of things we can’t control. The more setbacks and challenges that are sent your way, the more you really appreciate when it does go right, and it allows those good days to happen. The same can be applied to our lives. All we can do is our best for that given day, that given moment, and as long as we do the best we can, things will happen the way they should.
We can’t always choose when we feel good, and there are a lot of things we can’t control.
What’s your favorite mile on a long run? Your least?
(Am I allowed to say the .1 mile walk back to the car? Haha just kidding!)
I love the second-to-last mile. That is usually where you are cranking along in a good flow, moving quickly, but have not quite hit that final test where you have to leave it all on the line. I love that feeling of knowing that I have done all the work, and it is nearly finished, but I am doing my best, and ready to give my very best to the final mile.
My least favorite is the first mile! I often feel terrible in the first mile, and wonder how I am even going to make it through, let alone enjoy doing it. Usually I feel stiff, sore, and just blah that first mile, but once my body warms up, I remember why I’m doing it, and that it isn’t so bad after all.
How has running changed the way you eat ?
I still love my sweets, and have dessert every single day. But when I’m training, I pay more attention to my body and the fuel I am giving it to run efficiently.
Running allows you to see your body as a high performance car. If you were going to spend all that time saving up to purchase a nice car, you wouldn’t just put any old junky products on it, you would put the best time and care into it, so it runs well. We should be proud of our body, and show it by putting good food into it. I notice the difference too, I feel better when I give it nutritionally dense food, and it gives me confidence that I am doing the right thing.
Have you ever experienced disordered eating, or had an eating disorder?
I have never been through that myself, although I would argue that almost all runners (or anyone interested in health and fitness) have had some kind of experience with disordered eating. As I mentioned, I have always loved my sweets, and I have always refused to give them up. But in the past, during my off time, I have gone crazy with sweets while cutting out other, more nutritious foods to make sure I did not gain weight too quickly with the influx of calories. Now I realize that it is more important to keep those nutritious foods in there year round, than gain a little weight, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t a little self conscious about it. I do have family members and friends with eating disorders, which has made me particularly aware of it, and determined to keep myself in check whenever I feel myself headed down that path.
You’ve spent a lot of years in this competitive sport! Could you share a little bit about how you’ve avoided an eating disorder?
Even though everyone thinks elite runners have these perfect bodies, we are still self conscious, and we still look at our bodies and sometimes wish they could be better. We still stand in the starting area wishing we could look like another runner. But you have to remind yourself that your body is just a shell, it is not who you are. It is better to take care of this vehicle that is taking you to success, rather than punishing it. I always say “Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You.” That helps to remind me to be true to who I am, not someone else.
You have to remind yourself that your body is just a shell, it is not who you are.
What’s the most important thing you want women to know about the sport of running?
That you are beautiful—yes you! Every single person has their own strengths and weaknesses, and every person has some part of their body they are insecure about. That is what the media has done to us. But you also have your own unique and beautiful strength, that should be celebrated. I like to remind people that the parts of your body you might be self conscious of may actually be the reason you have achieved what you have. If you have big calves, well, those will help you sprint faster. If you have big quads, those are powerful muscles to help you run faster up hills. If you have a bigger butt, you have the glutes to power you to a better stride. Start looking at your body and appreciating what it does for you, rather than what it doesn’t have. :)
And now for some things about you and your work! How did you come up with your new website’s tagline “Running for Real” ?
Running for Real is where I want to build a community of people that feel free to be who they are, to talk about the ups and especially the downs that come with running—to support one another, rather than allow comparison to tear us down. I hope you will join me!
Of course! Where can readers find you, and support you in your running adventures?
Thank you! I am about to launch Running for Real, starting with the Running for Real podcast. I hope people will check it out! The best way to get all the updates about Running for Real is to sign up at my blog tinamuir.com . There are plenty of blog posts there, and I hope they can help you.
Huge thanks to Tina for supporting the Lane 9 Project and joining us here! Check her out at TinaMuir.com 👍
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