Sub 3 Hour Marathon: Get Used to Being Uncomfortable with Lauren Curley

First Marathon Attempt 2:57:58

After only running consistently for a couple of years, newly minted Doctor in Cognitive Science, Lauren Curley ran her first ever full marathon in a brisk 2:57:58. Lauren started running to relieve stress during her doctorate program in college and her running career took off from there competing in ultra racing, trail racing, and obstacle racing. In addition to a great first marathon time, Lauren has placed first female in 2 50k’s and in the SoCal Warrior Dash. Not bad for a new-ish runner in her late 20’s.

Lauren Curley with Team Nuun

However, it hasn’t all been rainbows and sunshine. Her first attempt at Boston did not go as planned and Lauren shares with us what happened leading up to and during the race, as well as how she flipped her attitude to still come away with a positive experience. She is planning on returning to Boston with her sights set on a sub-2:55:00 finish, weather permitting.

Currently, Lauren is running with Team Nuun, so we learn about her hydration and fueling strategies, especially in the long distance races. Lauren also discusses with us her training techniques and methodology. 

With such a great start to her career, Lauren Curley is one to keep an eye on in endurance events. And if you’d like to stay up to date with her training, we have a link to her YouTube channel in the notes below.


Questions Lauren is asked:

2:26 First Four:

  1. How old are you?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. Where do you live now?
  4. What is your favorite race distance or workout activity? 

3:28 How has your training been going the past couple weeks?

4:30 What is your running background?

6:40 How did you prepare for your 2:57:58 Marathon debut?

9:10 Did you have a coach or were you self-coaching?

10:24 How long was your training cycle?

10:58 What kind of workouts were you doing?

11:25 How many miles / week were you running?

11:34 How many weeks were you running your top mileage?

11:46 What was your longest run?

11:59 Were all of your workouts and training runs pace-based?

12:58 How much do you think that helped with training?

13:48 What shoes did you use?

14:51 How were your feet at the end of the marathon?

15:20 What did you do on race day for pre-race and in-race?

17:07 Were you using aid stations or fueling during the race?

19:09 What happened when you ran the Boston Marathon?

21:35 What happened after the half-way mark?

23:34 What were you thinking and feeling during the second half?

25:11 As a Cognitive Scientist, was it interesting to reflect on your thoughts?

26:22 What about winning a Warrior Dash?

29:32 What effect do you think passing or catching ‘non-runners’ in obstacle races have on them?

30:07 What about winning your 50k’s” Were they road or trail races?

32:29 What part do you think the brain plays in being competitive, strategizing, and completing endurance races?

34:55 Have you read Endure by Alex Hutchinson? What are your thoughts on training your brain to fatigue like we train muscles?

38:42 How do you use Nuun for hydration and what is your favorite?

40:06 How do you hydrate during ultra runs?

41:24 How do you handle food on long runs?

42:22 Do you have any experience with Superstarches like UCANN?

43:00 What are your thoughts about, and experiences with, altitude training?

45:15 Do you have any big races coming up?

46:23 Any final thoughts?

50:43 Final Kick Round:

  1. What is your favorite local training run or outing (location, starting point, parking, distance, terrain and safety issues)?
  2. Favorite book(s), video or resource? 
  3. Who or what would you like to have featured on the Run To The Top podcast?


Quotes by Lauren:

“I didn’t really know how to train for a marathon. I’d heard a lot of different theories. I know a lot of coaches in the area and I’ve watched a lot of training videos online and read about a lot of training methods online and it seemed like there were a lot of different ways to get to the same place and the trick was figuring out which method worked best for you.”

“As I was there in the second half of the race feeling terrible, but kind of determined to finish, I spent some time talking to the runners around me and there were quite a few people there that their goal race was actually their qualifying race where they trained hard, ran a good time and they were going to Boston to enjoy it and to experience it. So I reframed the second half of my race in that light.”

“You never know what’s going through somebody else’s head.”

“A lot of times when you feel tired and fatigued and you feel like you can’t go any further, studies have shown that your muscles still have the capacity, it’s your brain preemptively saying, ‘Hey, you should stop now before you do any damage or before you push too hard.’.”

“Altitude training can be useful, especially if you’re going to train for a race in particular conditions like something at high altitude; it’s beneficial to train in that kind of environment if you can. I often can’t and I try to really just compensate for that by intensity of workout so that when you get up to altitude, before your body really has a chance to adapt, you rely on the fitness you already have and power through.”


Take a Listen on Your Next Run


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Mentioned in this podcast: 

Run To The Top Winners Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page


Carbona Homepage

Lauren’s Nuun Athlete Page

Lauren’s YouTube Channel

Nuun Hydration

Zion Half Marathon

Warrior Dash

Generation UCan

Book: Endure by Alex Hutchinson

Trail Running trails in Mission Trails Regional Park

The Running Wild Channel on YouTube

Cindy Lynch, Masters Runner

Follow Lauren on:




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