Laura Weightman – Why I Run

Rachel Atherton

I love to run and I am very lucky that running is my job. Some people get up in the morning and go to the office, I get up and go for a run. I am a professional 1500m/5000m track athlete and have represented Great Britain at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics Games. Furthermore, I have won medals at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games, and my job takes me all around the world. The beauty of running is in its simplicity, all you need is a pair of trainers and you are free to run for miles. Whether your goal is running once a week, finishing your first park run, completing a marathon or for me winning global medals, there is something for everyone.

Running is more than just a sport, It has introduced me to some of my closest friends, taken me all over the world and taught how to push my body beyond its human limits. For me running is a great way to expand your social circles and meet people you may not normally come across. Most importantly running helps keep you healthy, both physically and mentally. Exercise in general provides a great mental release, which makes you feel better about yourself and puts you in a better position to deal with any stress you may encounter day to day.

One of my favourite training days of the week is a Sunday where I do a long run, usually around 13miles. This involves me meeting the ‘squad’, which a group of girls based in Leeds who all run at different levels and have different coaches, but on a Sunday we all come together for a long run. This is the social training day off the week, we explore different routes, chat away and then finish at a café for lunch!

Living and training in Leeds

I live and train in Leeds which is a great city for running. You can either run right from your doorstep and or take a short drive out of the city to the endless miles of country running. The Leeds Liverpool canal is great for flat faster running and I love running around the local parks. Also, on the edge of North Leeds there is Eccup Reservoir which links into Harewood House and offers some beautiful routes.

Winter is a tough time for all runners, including me. The dark cold wet winter nights can make running tricky and this is where having friends or a local running group to run with helps. I often arrange to meet a training partner which gives me the extra motivation to get out of the door, as I know I can’t let them down. We are lucky in Leeds as there are so many street lit paths which makes running in the dark much safer.

My Training

I do lots of different types of training sessions in a normal training week, from 4mile to 13mile runs, hard track sessions, lifting weights in the gym, grass and road running sessions, drills and much more. One of my favorite running sessions is fartleck, which can be done by all abilities. This is basically a continuous run with a range of varied hard efforts which can be ran on a variety of surfaces including road, grass and trail. This is a great session if you’re on your own as it breaks up the run. However, it can also be done with training partners which helps push you faster, and in winter it’s a good session to keep you warm!

 The sessions would be:

  • 5-15min jog warm up before
  • 5-10min jog cool down after

The hard running would then be:

  • 1 x 4min
  • 2 x 3min
  • 3 x 2min
  • 4 x 90sec
  • 4 x 60sec
  • 4 x 30sec

Each with equal jogging recovery to the hard effort.

Give the session a go! 

Laura is currently away training in South Africa to prepare for the upcoming IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 which are taking place in Doha.

You can catch her race in the Final of 5km on Saturday 6th October at 19:25


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