Laura Norris Left Academia to Help Runners Reach Their Goals (Best Of)


Laura Norris is a friend and fellow running coach, and I’m excited to be spending some time chatting with her today.

Laura Norris from This Runner's Recipes

Laura Norris from This Runner’s Recipes

In addition to being into running and hiking (and just being active and outdoors), Laura also has a passion for healthy eating and really understands the impact that quality nutrition has on our running.

Getting Started as a Runner

Laura wasn’t a runner growing up.

But in college, she got started running and pretty much hasn’t looked back. When she was in grad school, and while wrestling with the idea of pursing a Ph.D, running became an important stress release for Laura as well as an opportunity for her to unplug from studying and simply clear her mind.

Throughout those early days of Laura’s running, she didn’t really race.

But in the final days of her master’s program, she ended up running a 10k and realized she didn’t feel good until about 5 miles in–at which point the race was almost over!

A few months later, she ran her first half marathon and has continued to race longer distances (a couple of additional 13.1s, and one 26.2).

A Change in Career Paths

Laura has always had some entrepreneurial leanings, but her career path was leading toward getting her Ph.D and teaching at the university level.

But that didn’t happen.

She applied to a couple of top notch Ph.D programs in the midwest, but when she didn’t get in she turned to running and the online space to chart her own path.

Laura studied History and Philosophy in college, and even though she isn’t “using” those areas of studies in her life at the moment, she still finds a lot of ways to incorporate her studies while working with runners as a coach.

Aristotle Quote Laura Norris Interview

As an example, Aristotle was a proponent of the middle ground.

Too little of something can be a bad thing, but so can too much.

And in running, Laura has found that each athlete that she works with has a happy medium in terms of running load and training intensities, and finding that middle ground is a challenge that she enjoys as a coach.

Laura Norris: Running Coach

When Laura started to seriously consider the idea of entrepreneurship, she received a lot of support from her family.

And that is not something that happens for every entrepreneur.

She wasn’t surrounded by entrepreneurs when she was growing up, and as many entrepreneurs (including yours truly) have learned entrepreneurship isn’t easy.

But the lessons learned through running helped to keep her on track, and is you push forward and don’t give up, success will come.

One of the new offerings that Laura is working on as a coach is an online marathon training camp.

This Runner’s Recipes

When she started blogging, one of the things she wanted to focus on was the food component of training and exercise.

Over time, recipes and food are no longer as much of a focus, but that passion is still there.

Laura follows a “vegetarian before 6” style of eating, that still allows her to continue to eat meat.

After making the switch to eating a more sustainable and less meat-centric diet, she wrote a post on her blog about some of the tips and tricks that she has used to help her switch to a diet with less meat.

One of the biggest tips I took away from my chat with Laura was to play with different spices to add different flavors to dishes.

Laura has found that she feels better and her running has improved since she started eating less meat.

And since our chat, I’ve been trying to adopt her no meat before dinner strategy. I’m not sure I’ve seen any dramatic changes yet, but I’m planning to keep going with it and see how I feel after eating less meat for more than just a couple of weeks.

Common Running Rules of Thumb

I had to ask Laura about some of the common rules of thumb that many runners follow when it comes to food/fueling.

When it comes to the pre-race pasta meal, Laura isn’t a big fan. (And neither am I.)

She is a proponent of carb loading, but prefers spreading those carbs out over the course of a few days and eating real food in the days before the race so you don’t feel “heavy” on race morning.

Laura is also a fan of doing training runs depleted so that on race day the fuel has even more of an impact.

But ultimately, it comes down to doing what you need to do to help you prepare for your race. And the only way to figure out what works best for you is to experiment during training runs and then stick with what works.


If you haven’t connected with Laura yet, please head over to This Runner’s Recipes and take a look around. There is a wealth of information there, and I’ve definitely been using Laura’s resources and recipes to help me optimize my nutrition habits as well.

You can also connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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