Chatting with Lauren Andrews, you get a real sense of her pride in wellness and fitness. Being consistently on our top 10 list on Strava, its no wonder she has a vast knowledge in our beautiful trail systems in Edmonton!
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Lauren Andrews, 31, originally from Vancouver, Edmontonian for four years. Small business owner in real estate, run coach, athlete.
Welcome to Edmonton! You mentioned you were a @mile2marathon coach. I’ll make sure everyone hits that follow button!
How long have you been running and what are your favourite types of events?
I have been running since childhood; I don’t remember a time when I didn’t run. As a child, it was more exploratory through local forests and unstructured. I dabbled in cross country and track in grade school but didn’t find competitive running until the last couple years. Currently, my favourite events are road distances such as the marathon and 10k.
What is your main motivation when running?
For the feelings I get while running, which are difficult to describe in words but range from ‘Everything will be okay’ to ‘This is what you were born to do’. More than anything else, while I run I often have moments of thinking, ‘Everything in life that has added up to this moment was meant to be, so that I could be in this current moment’. These deep moments are often interrupted by thoughts about coffee, to-do lists, or sore body parts, but I'll take it!
My interrupted thoughts are usually “…Did I lock the door?”. What do you enjoy most about running?
Training for road races, I do a lot of my easy/recovery runs on the gravel trails. I often can be found running off-track speed or tempo at Hawrelak. I love a juicy track workout, even in the midst of marathon training. I used to run more trail before I got into road-specific distances but every so often will get back on single track and avoid a skinned knee!
Thank you for showing me that incredible gravel trail the other day! What do you not like about running?
Injuries; that is, not being able to run is what I don't like about running! As a competitive athlete, sometimes I do feel like I sacrifice saying yes to all the social group runs or random events that don't "fit" a training cycle.
What are your biggest achievements as a runner?
Overcoming serious injury and life-threatening illness and still crawling back to running. Feeling like the odds were stacked against me and fighting through makes the actual training and racing the easy part! Every single workout, I remind myself what a privilege it is, for so many reasons, to be able to push my body in this way. As for my run "CV", my 23 minute marathon PB resulting in a 2:43 marathon in December is an achievement I am proud of because I came back from injury to train and made some significant changes to my training mentality to see this improvement.
Tell us more about your injuries. What sort of injuries have you had and how did you overcome them?
Yes, many times. Serious injuries (ie., a doctor looking at an MRI and telling me I will never run competitively again), to the typical runner ailments. My most recent 'injury' was actually abdominal surgery that had life-threatening complications and resulted in a major loss of strength and hemoglobin. What I have learned is that by the time a run is posted on Strava, which most people see as "starting running again", a considerable amount of time and work has been put in to even get the body to that point. The running is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to coming back from serious setbacks.
Do you have any advice on how to avoid injuries?
Run your easy/recovery runs way slower than you think you should. Eat way more (quality food) than you think you need. Sleep more than you think you need. Do core and strength intelligently and get stronger than you've ever been. If you have a coach, put your trust in them 100% and be honest with how you feel at all times. Even if you do all that, you will likely still encounter injury, but hopefully a week or two off instead of six months. I have learned all these things the hard way!
Other than your running shoes, what is the most important running gear for you?
Hat and sunglasses to protect face and eyes. I love certain brands like Tracksmith and Lululemon and use a Garmin. A note on GPS watches - these can be a slippery slope of being attached to round numbers or hitting certain paces. For my recovery runs, I turn it to heart rate on the display and do NOT look at my splits when they come up, I just keep track of kms by the beeps or knowing the route already.
What is your take on meals before, during and after a race?
Night before: Randomly, pizza (light on the cheese) has been my meal the night before my last two races. And my last two races were a 10k and marathon PB. So clearly, it's because of the pizza. (Not). I carb-load, so the week before a marathon generally involves a lot of pasta.
Breakfast: Bagel with almond/peanut butter and sliced banana, coffee.
During: Gels 15 min before gun and every 6km.
After: I often feel completely carbed-out by this point, so will get something like salmon. I also crave fresh fruit and vegetables after a race, and typically want salty not sweet (due to all the gels).
Do you have a memorable running experience/story to share with us?
So many! One moment I will take to my death was the finish line scene for the OTQ at CIM in December. As a Canadian, I wasn't actually going to the Olympic Trials, but we were hugging each other, crying in each other's arms, all women breaking that 2:45 standard. It felt like we were celebrating something so much greater than running, in those precious moments.
If you could give a single piece of advice to new runners what would it be?
Enjoy the process of gaining fitness. You will remember the feelings, not the paces.
Be sure to follow Lauren on Instagram!