Meet the runner - Laura Brenton
Laura is a runner I only see at the start and end of races. She’s usually somewhere in the distance as soon as the gun goes off! I first met Laura at a few years ago at some 6 stage relays in Kent. We were competing for the same team and due to illness, I’d ended up in the A team, feeling out of place and worrying about being slow. I remember a few things about Laura that day – she was totally focused on her own race and performance and that the race was her first back after a long time out with injury. It was obvious, given that she’d turned up in pretty great form, that she’d been just as focused on rehabilitation as her running. That in itself is inspiring. She’s pretty humble about her achievements and her class as an athlete. More than anything, hard work and persistence are key to her success. She told me a bit about her running.
Laura Brenton teaches physical education at The Gregg School, runs for Southampton AC and regularly represents Hampshire. This year she represented England for the first time at the Armagh 3k race. She is also a big Saints and cycling fan.
I got into running at school and joined Southampton City and transferred to Team Solent when I was 16. When I moved clubs, Southern Athletics gave me a 6 month ban from competition only for the clubs to merge a few years later! I was only ever a reserve for English Schools track, but my best was 15th in the XC.
My England race at The Armagh 3k was just before lockdown. I got a 1 second pb, England won the team event and I was so proud having my family come to watch. I was also a reserve for England for a half marathon, but it was cancelled due to the lockdown. Thankfully I got the kit before everything was cancelled!
I run 60 mile weeks and do daily rehabilitation.
Monday - 2 easy runs (I run-commute to work and back home).
Tuesday - Threshold triangles on Southampton Common
Wed - Two commute runs 35 mins
Thurs – Two commute runs 35 mins
Fri - rest day
Saturday - Intervals (1k-1 mile reps)
Sunday - Long run (15 miles)
I have a routine with the theraband I do every morning to activate my glutes for the day and hamstring curls to prevent tendonopathy returning. I also have a kettlebell routine which involves lots of squats and lunges that I do three times a week.
My favourite session involves the hills at Lordswood in Southampton. It never gets easier! I love my Sunday long run with Jim Bennett on our 4 Bridges route around Southampton.
I have had a calf injury during lockdown which has been so frustrating because I can't get any hands-on treatment. Kyle Hackett (Hackett Massage Therapy) has video called me to give me advice. However, I am really enjoying spin sessions and am using this time to allow my body to recover and be fresh for winter.
Smashing my 5km PB and qualifying for British Championships was a major breakthrough performance. I had a major back injury 2 years before and required surgery and intensive physio (8 months of no running). The consultant said I may not be able to run again let alone race. I started to cry with happiness at the British Championships because the comeback journey had been so hard and more than just training for a race.
I regret racing Parliament Hill when I was ill. Never to race or train when poorly - it never ends well! Last year I tore my hamstring tendon when training when I was unwell so now if I have a cold I take time off.
I love my England kit! I also couldn't live without my theraband and massage gun.
I loved reading Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear. It's the XC season with Adam Goucher and Colorado university team. It is absolutely bonkers following their training and journey. The book highlights a major problem with over training and eating disorders. The coach has since said his philosophy back then was wrong.
I spend so much time injured, but this is mainly due to my back. I have scoliosis and some fused discs in my spine (this is why I run with such a twist). This causes me to get lots of other niggles where my body is overcompensating. I have always come back stronger after every set back so never give up!
I eat everything these days (thanks to my boyfriend Matt Revier) and refuse to count calories or weigh myself. I used to be really fussy and only eat healthy foods, but I ran poorly and got lots of bone injuries. Now I enjoy eating what I want and knowing that my body needs the fuel! I also take Vitamin C and D.
My running philosophy is to enjoy every step of the journey. The runners high will always erase the dark times so embrace the good times!
You can find Laura on Instagram @laurajb20.