Laura Peifer, 31, snagged a BQ earlier this year when she ran the Houston Marathon—she hopes to run Boston ’14--and this running coach and mom of 3-year-old Lily acknowledges she feels like she’s on a roll running-wise. “I've been having a year of PRs and I think I have a little more in me, so I'd like to keep the streak going if I can!” Laura, husband Jared, and their daughter live in Houston, Texas but are moving to the Big Apple this summer.
Best Recent Run: My best recent run was getting back to the track with my local running group last Thursday night. It was a gorgeous night, and I had speedier partners to chase! Speed work is so much easier for me with a group of friends motivating me. And I find repeats much easier on the track than the treadmill or on a regular running route.
Call Her Coach: I've always loved reading and learning everything I could about running, training, and nutrition, and I was happy to share this information with friends. I had been watching for an RRCA course to come to my city for over a year, and we finally had a course here this past year! I think the largest impact coaching had on my workouts was specificity of my training. I began tailoring my speed workouts to better reflect whether I was training for a marathon or a 5K. And I have a better grasp of the purpose behind every workout, which makes me more motivated to actually do it!
Doling Out (And Following) Advice: I think one of the most important things is to learn not to compare yourself to others (or, at least to do so without criticizing yourself and our own abilities). When we learn to run our own race, we can race against ourselves and find satisfaction in our personal improvement or effort, regardless of how others may do. I'm motivated to continue because running has become a part of who I am and what I do! I don't even think about it as motivation anymore necessarily—it’s just something I love to do … I think everyone can benefit from hearing that you are stronger than you think you are. If you set your mind to something and believe you can do it, chances are you can and will.
Power of the Spin: Everyone has different mileage points at which our bodies start to break down and say, “No!” I've had this experience a few times when making my first attempts at marathon training, and found that spinning is a great way for me to maintain a solid cardiovascular fitness, without the extra days of pounding. It's also great for strengthening quads, which are usually out of balance with hamstrings in runners. I would never say that everyone should spin to improve their running, but it helped me shave time off my races without injury and get my first BQ, so I do think it can work! However, I also agree with the RRCA perspective that in general, the more running mileage, the better. I coach runners on 3-day to 6-day running plans, depending on their preferences, injury history, etc.
Holistic Living, Whole Food Fueling: I definitely think cleaning up our diet can have an impact on our running performance. I've been a flexitarian (mostly vegetarian) for most of the time I've been running (12 years) so it's hard to say what affect it has had on me. I love to eat, and love that long runs give me the opportunity to eat more than usual! I love healthifying my baking and often have extra treats on the weekends, but my body always lets me know if I go overboard and I end up feeling sluggish and gross. That is usually enough motivation to help me stick to a mostly healthy diet—lots of veggies and fruit, whole grains, protein, healthy fats and limited processed foods. Sugar is a tough one... I can't give up dark chocolate. 🙂 Again, everyone is different, and I do think some bodies do best with more animal protein than others, but I've found that mine prefers it in smaller quantities.
On the Running Horizon: I'm running a few 5Ks and shorter races this spring, and then plan to run a fall half-marathon and the Philadelphia Marathon in November. I also did my first sprint triathlon last summer and would like to look into a half ironman or duathlon in the near future.