Podcast: Episode 17 with Tina Muir


“[Putting pressure on myself] is one thing that I found that I did a lot of and I think most runners tend to feel this huge expectation of having to perform. Whereas now, having a daughter, I can say to myself: “You know what? At the end of the day, if I don’t run well today, she’s not going to care whatsoever. If I run a world record, she doesn’t really care; to her, me crossing the finish line is the same whether I run 2:20 in a marathon or 3:50.” So I think it’s just kind of keeping that reminder that I run because I enjoy it, not because I need to do it to get the reward, or the satisfaction of people complimenting me.”

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It’s a pleasure to welcome Tina Muir to the podcast. Muir, a 2:36 marathoner who represented Great Britain at the world half-marathon championships in 2016, gained notoriety last year after announcing that she was going to put her running career on hold after a 9-year battle with amenorrhea. Her story was picked up by Runner’s World, ESPNW, and even People magazine, and sparked a conversation—and heightened awareness—around the condition, especially amongst female athletes. In the time since her story broke, Muir has launched a business, Running For Real, and given birth to a baby girl named Bailey. The 29-year-old is eyeing a return to competitive running in the near future.

In this episode, we cover a lot of ground, including:

— Getting back into running after giving birth to her daughter in January and what she’s struggled with since becoming a new mom.

— Her decision to “break up” with running last year and the attention it received in the media.

— Why she “felt a bit lost” as it related to her running goals after representing Great Britain at the 2016 Half Marathon World Championships.

— Reflections on her 9-year battle with amenorrhea and why it’s long been a taboo topic amongst female athletes.

— Her advice for women who find themselves in a similar situation.

— How she felt about her identity—and body image—after she made the decision to stop running.

— What she’ll do differently as she gets back into training—and her competitive goals for the future.

— Dealing with pressure—both external and self-induced—as an athlete and how she’s learned to develop a better perspective in that regard.

— The decision to start sharing her training on Strava when she got back into running earlier this year.

— The disconnect that exists between elite runners and many middle and back-of-the-packers, and what can be done to close the gap.

— How her own Running For Real podcast has evolved over the past few years and what she looks for in a potential guest.

— A whole lot more.

This was a great conversation that touched on a wide range of topics from personal to professional and then some. I appreciate Tina’s openness in sharing her experiences with others and I think you’ll enjoy the honest insights she provides on her various triumphs, struggles, and the sport of running in general.

Related links, references, and resources:

— Follow Tina on InstagramTwitter, and Strava.

— Visit her website and check out the Running For Real podcast.

— My conversation with Tina on Episode 14 of her podcast a little over a year ago.

— NOPE: “But within 2 minutes, I was back to limping, and everything in me screamed to stop,” Muir wrote on Strava, in a post I referenced at the very beginning of the podcast. “WARNING WARNING! YOU ARE BEING STUPID. STOP! STOP. And so I did, and limped my way back home, frustrated and wondering what the heck is going on.”

— Time To Say Goodbye: Muir’s post—and video—announcing her “breakup” with running in April of 2017.

— What It’s Like To Represent Your Country at a World Championship: “You only get one first time of running for your country, and I am sure the selection committee never expect a rookie to knock one out of the park,” Muir wrote in her blog after the 2016 world half-marathon championships. “I definitely did not have the race of my life, but as I turned the final corner and saw the finish line, I had a giant smile on my face the whole way down the final straightaway.”

— “As I struggled my way through training this winter, I realized I had a chance to leave on my own terms, with my head held high,” Muir told Amanda Loudin for ESPNW last year. “I was determined to put my health first and not live with regret.”

— After 9 Years Without a Period, I’ve Stopped Running: “Five weeks ago, at the peak of my career, as I prepared to pace the 2:28 group at the London Marathon and race the Gold Coast Marathon in July, I decided it was time,” Muir wrote for Runner’s World. “I’ve decided to go on a potentially permanent running hiatus to focus on my health, and get my cycle back.”

— Tina Muir’s Guide To Battling Running Demons: “Running involves concentration the entire time. Running involves questioning your sanity every single time. Yet we keep doing it,” Muir wrote in a column for The Guardian. “Before we have even caught our breath from one race, we are already signed up for another, desperate for that satisfaction (and a few extra puddings!). The cycle continues, but does running ever get any easier? As an elite runner myself, I am here to tell you, unfortunately not.”

— People covers Muir’s retirement and subsequent pregnancy announcement. “A big part of my identity is tied to myself as a runner, so it’s been a real learning curve, especially as my body is changing shape,” Muir told the publication. “It’s tough at times to go against everything you’ve ever been taught. We’re taught how to lose weight, how to be healthier, and suddenly being told you need to loosen up and gain weight and relax seemed like it was wrong.”

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This episode of the morning shakeout podcast was edited by John Isaac at BaresRecords.com

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