The base and background of a running coach

Running coach Laura Sullivan. Allan Roeher

Laura Sullivan, owner of and coach at Run Kulture, shares how and why you should chase that runner’s high

There are two types of people in the world: those who absolutely love running, and those who despise it. For this issue, I interviewed Laura Sullivan who absolutely loves and adores running. So much so, in fact, that she chose to make a community and a job out of it. Before we get to know about her running program, we’ll go over her running history and why she loves it so much.
It all started when Sullivan was asked by a friend to do a half marathon together. Instantly she was ready for the challenge. Sullivan went hard with the training, learned this new skill of running, and started to fall in love with it. When it came to marathon day her friend was unable to run the race with her. However, amazingly the running community was still there by her side. Sullivan said it was something she had never experienced before, but that it was one of the greatest feelings. She finished the race and hugged and cheered with everyone that she had seen involved with the race. She ended the race with sore cheeks from smiling and signed up for her next race that day! One of the main experiences that got her to sign up for a race was a “running high” where she could feel proud of herself and others that were finishing the race. 

Now that you know Sullivan’s running story, let’s get into the main reason she created the program she did – to learn about other people’s stories. Her program is known as Run Kulture. 

What is your favourite part about running?

My favourite part about running is the connection it brings within myself. The part where I can challenge myself to come to new limits, and then achieving it […] Running as well brings a connection between people, lifestyle, community, the sweat connection, and being able to bond with others. 

Do you have any personal suggestions on how and why people should get into running?

Start somewhere, don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with running around Wascana lake one time. Small, little goals to help reach the big goals […] Making it fun for each person whether they get a fun playlist, sexy top. 

What are some emotions you feel while running that you think benefit you, and would benefit others if running were more of a social norm?

Definitely I feel gratitude that I am able to run, no injuries […] Feel happiness, excitement, emotional, thankful, blessed, and being able to have positivity around it. Yes, you will have bad and good runs, but that is like any day.

Now, everyone is different, but can you describe to us how you would help coach someone into reaching an end goal of a half marathon? 

Typically, when I work with clients it’s one-on-one start point. So, we focus on fitness level and goals. We will start with a big goal, half marathon, then small goals […] A lot of the time typically we’ll have a goal time, and we will work on controlling their pace in a specific time frame. 

The way I work with Run Kulture, and we work in three different zones. Power running is more hills and tempo runs, working with short intervals and speeds. Strength, holding your pace for longer; this helps with endurance and pushing your pace faster for a longer period of time. Endurance, longest distance of the week for one time. This where you do not worry about speed […] this is a really good form of running for learning where if you need to add nutrients, water, or nutrition. This is where you have to be mindful that everybody is different and keep in mind the end goal, and going step by step. 

This is my philosophy of running and getting someone to running a half marathon, and working one-on-one is a big point of that to help someone individually. 

What is your favorite thing about coaching running?

My personal favourite thing is seeing people have a reaction and response to what they have accomplished during running. It is great to see one’s pride and confidence about running, […] being able to share my knowledge of running. It is awesome to see people come out of their shell, and enjoying learning and living life. 

Do you have any suggestions to help people learn how to run faster and longer?

Working on your strength and power runs, getting involved in speed drills, incorporating interval training, and getting involved in strength training. Work on being, overall, a well-rounded athlete, having the muscular endurance or cardiovascular endurance to help focus on running faster. The longer portion of running is more based on nutritional information and educating yourself about how to run.

Can you give an example of a speed drill?

You can start with a warmup of 10 minutes, 2 kilometers, then work on a track workout or Tabata. Track workout can involve 3-4 sets of 400 meters; run 400 meters with a slow down for 1 minute, run 400 meters slow down for 1 minute, and repeat […] Compared to Tabata where you sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, [for a total of] 4 minutes. 

Can you explain what the key goal is for your Run Kulture community?

My big vision of Run Kulture community would be to grow in a way that involves another coach. It would look to have people come looking for [someone to] coach their next race. 

Then with the community events I am running, I had four past events in June to help create a connection, as well partnering in with Lulu Lemon, or Track and Trail, and involved draws and giveaways. Creating a fun positive group to get and be active together […] Community events are more to bring people together and challenge yourself and get out active.

My big end goal would be a travel group […] where we can enjoy the holiday together, race together, and still have an individual story and run! 

Do you have any advice for anyone who is scared to start running, or scared to join Run Kulture, to help motivate them into joining it?

Honestly just come out and get there! Come with your baby, puppy, spouse, anyone basically. Once you come to a gathering, if you run or walk up Douglas Hill – kudus to you! At this moment you showed up, you joined the experience and you bonded with people! These feelings and connections are what will bring you back.

And that’s all for this interview with Sullivan! She told us her amazing story and why she has such passion for running, and she was so happy to share it. Plus, she gave you some tips on how to get better, or even start at running. Sullivan would love to hear your running story and see you become a part of the Run Kulture community.


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