Laura Orgué holds the women’s course record at the Ring of Steall Skyrace and she’s returned to Scotland to run the race again on Saturday. In the following interview, Laura talks about what the course is like, how she’s transitioned her focus from vertical kilometer races to longer skyraces, and how she balances racing, training, and recovery over a long season with many races.
Laura Orgué Pre-2018 Ring of Steall Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Laura Orgué before the 2018 Ring of Steall race. How are you, Laura?
Laura Orgué: I’m fine, thanks.
iRunFar: You’ve run here before. You’re the course record holder?
Orgué: Yes, I was here last year racing the VK and the Ring of Steall. I know both races, and I hope that helps.
iRunFar: Will you do both of them this year?
Orgué: Yes, as both of them are world championships and I’m here, I will try.
iRunFar: The Ring of Steall course—I was out a little bit today on the far side, and it seemed a little technical out there, not crazy, but not fast.
Orgué: No, it’s not fast at all. It’s less than 30k and we spend four hours or a little bit more. It’s a slow race. It means it’s technical and you have to take care on the downhills. Also, the uphills aren’t super fast.
iRunFar: Is that why you like this course?
Orgué: I think so. I don’t like the super runnable and easy terrain races. That one, I like that, and also because we are in the end of the season, maybe we don’t have the same power as in the beginning, so if the races are slower, maybe it’s better for our shape. You don’t need to be in super shape like the beginning of the season because the race is slower.
iRunFar: You have to take more care and it’s not just push, push, push.
Orgué: Yeah, I think so. Exactly.
iRunFar: What’s the hardest and most challenging part of this course for you?
Orgué: Maybe… it’s a long race and also it’s a lot of uphill. I think that maybe that’s the difficulty—to keep the energy to the last hour of the race, to have legs to do a good downhill in the last part. It’s long and you’ve been racing for three hours and you need to be fresh so you don’t crash in the last downhill.
iRunFar: You’re doing the VK and the Ring of Steall. Do you prefer the shorter races or do you prefer the four hour?
Orgue: This year, I think I more prefer the Skyraces and not the VKs, so in fact this year I’ve only done two VKs. I like those kind of races, because it’s the kind of races where I began. It’s like I feel comfortable in short races, but, now, I feel more like a runner than before. We will see. Maybe I feel more ready for the Ring of Steall.
iRunFar: That’s changed over time and over the years?
Orgué: Normally, it was the VKs. This year I have been training longer, and that’s why I changed a little bit.
iRunFar: You’ve had success. You’ve won some races. And you’ve been second at Zegama and Pikes Peak.
Orgué: Maybe I’ve not been the best, but I was quite regular during all the season, so I’m happy.
iRunFar: Very consistent. You’ve had highs and you’ve always been in strong positions.
Orgué: I’m disturbing the others all the time all. I’m always there. Maybe I’m not the first, but I’m there. “She’s coming!”
iRunFar: As you mentioned, it’s a long season and we’re in the middle of September. Is that a challenge?
Orgué: Yeah, it’s one of the points you have to plan in advance—to make some high points and resting and train again, because it’s not possible to do all the training in the winter, because then in September you need to train again. I think I planned the season looking to take care of that—doing two weeks off for racing and two weeks for training and resting and then ran.
iRunFar: What did you do since Pikes Peak?
Orgué: I had one week of resting or not properly training, then 10 days of hard training, the three or four days of tapering, so we’ll see. The work is done.
iRunFar: Is that a routine you’re comfortable with after… you’ve been doing the trail running for a few years, but with your ski background? Is that similar?
Orgué: I think it’s similar. Also, if you’re used to doing that kind of routine, you feel comfortable. I think sometimes it’s more important to feel confident with what you doing than properly doing what you’re doing.
iRunFar: The theory might not be perfect, but you can do it and you’re comfortable and you know it works.
Orgué: It works and you feel that, Okay, I will follow the same, because it works more or less.
iRunFar: Speaking of confidence, what makes you confident on the downhills on a course like this, or are you not?
Orgué: Normally, I’m not confident on the downhills. When I’m doing the downhill, I’m not thinking if I’m not confident or not. I’m looking to the stones or the grass and thinking only where is better to put the feet and go. It’s to be really concentrated and that’s all.
iRunFar: Maybe you have more confidence on the climbing? Is that your strength?
Orgué: Yes, that’s easier.
iRunFar: On a course like this where it’s going to be very wet, very wet rocks and a lot of rocks, what shoes will you wear on a course like that?
Orgué: I’m not one to change the shoes, so I have my favorite ones, and I’m using that. It’s a Salomon Soft Ground sole. I think also those are the one for these trails. I’m also using Soft Ground when it’s super easy trail, but here is the place for those.
iRunFar: That shoe works for you all the time, but here is the best.
Orgué: Yes, exactly.
iRunFar: Great. Best of luck out there both tomorrow and Saturday.
Orgué: Thank you.