Last spring I got to know a group of girls running half-marathons and full marathons in different cities and countries! It was awesome and unreal at the same time – travelling + sport! I am keen on both! Plus, I have always enjoyed running, but only along the seaside in the morning during my vacation, but being busy with work in my home town I could find neither time nor strength to do it. Moreover, I didn’t enjoy it that much, because I was always in a rush, late, and someone would constantly demand something of me. After listening to these girls’ stories I decided to join them to try it out! To run a half-marathon! As usual, my first time happened to be rather troublesome.

I joined the group training for Vienna half-marathon in April 2016. There is a 7-week special program of preparing for running, as we call it “straight from couch to half-marathon!”. The training includes working under a coach’s supervision and learning a proper running technique. At first, everything was great, I was fond of training. It was so different from a regular gym. Yes, my legs hurt a lot from unusual exercise, even some old leg traumas reminded of themselves. In addition, as I realize now, I made a mistake trying to combine gym training in full and running. Just imagine I had 4 power and 4 running trainings per week! I really didn’t have enough time to recover. My body got under overstress because of training too much, my mood was low, I didn’t have enough strength to perform even simple exercises, to top it all, there was a mess in my personal life… and that’s it… I got into a deep depression, so I quit everything! (I remember your article about a difficult year, and last year was challenging for many people). I stopped going to the gym and running… and I didn’t make any half marathon. Trying to avoid stress I started eating a lot of sweets, so my 20 kilos were back momentarily!!! Soon I was shocked! It took me another 1,5 months to overcome this shock. Being in such depressed condition, I went on vacation to the seaside to recover and heal my inner SELF. For the first time in 10 years I didn’t run even 1 km on holiday! I didn’t do anything at all, perhaps, that was exactly what I needed, it was a complete reboot. At the end of my vacation I realize that I need to collect myself and get back to doing sport, as there is no other way out for me, I can live without it!

I thought that I should start with cardio exercise, but all of a sudden, I saw an ad for a new group to train for half-marathon at Lake Garda in Italy! This is one of my most favorite places on Earth so I understood that was the perfect spot to start!!! I started training when I got back, this time I chose only running! No gym! I just had to achieve the goal I had set for myself – 21 km! In the last 2 years these 7 weeks of training + 1 week at the lake became one of my brightest memories in life! Of course, I was not able to accomplish all the tasks, but I did achieve my main goal! I have received my first medal for 21 km! My result was 2:40 (to justify myself I can say that I didn’t manage to lose 20 extra kilos, I lost only 3 kilos, because 7 weeks is not enough for such a drastic change). My first goal was to run up to the finish, but obviously I wanted to accomplish it in 2:30, however, I was still very happy! Emotions overfilled me!!! In fact, I managed to run this distance with a dumbbell (regular weight + my extra weight).

Coming back home after this half marathon, I tried to return to the gym and reduce the number of running trainings per week, but once I stepped into the gym I felt a strong desire to run away, it just didn’t work for me anymore… My membership got wasted, because I decided not to force myself. I longed to feel free, be out in streets and move, that is why I started to run more! Our coach developed a new program with an excellent general physical preparation and special running exercises to keep muscles toned. For now, we do without going to the gym, but in future I think it will be necessary to work out there. At the moment I am not psychologically ready to go back to the gym. At present we take part in running competitions in the nearby cities just some short distances like 7,10 km to get “a medal”. Just looking at these medals makes me feel proud of myself, motivate me to keep moving forward, dream and set new goals! By the way, I run at any weather conditions (I am from Siberia), last weekend it was -30 C, but we went on running.

There is a new goal ahead: A marathon in Moscow! Autumn 2017. There are a lot of tasks to solve, as to run 42 km I do need to lose my extra weight, develop a healthy diet to support long cardio loads. Hence, my spring and summer are going to be challenging, but interesting. I hope I will be able to accomplish what I have on my mind, and I will feel prouder of myself.

Running always helps me to structure my own thoughts and improve my mood! It is even more important to have like-minded people, who know what it feels like, and that their support is crucial! That is why our unit frequently organizes “competitions” with handmade medals (at New year, for example, we got Christmas balls), delicious snacks at the Finish line, warm tea, music and cheering team, and after that we go out to have brunch all together. It gives extra energy and motivation.

By the way, one of my friends ran a marathon in New York last year. It was incredible!!! Apparently, it is not that easy to qualify for this marathon, and she made a wish during one of the promise runs (we organize them every year on 1st of January, instead of the number stripes stuck to clothes we write up promises that you have to realize during that year), being aware that she could hardly win a slot for this New York marathon and run through the Central Park, but she just got this slot as a present! Her dream came true! That’s why running helps fulfil any dreams, you should dream and believe.

What advice could you give a person who wants to start running?

The best thing is to find a coach or/and a group of like-minded people to have support and understanding. Listen to recommendations. Don’t rush into it! Start slowly and increase loads step by step! Listen to your body. You are sure to fall in love with it!

What do you like about running?

This feeling of pride after each run, and it doesn’t matter whether the distance was 5 km or 21 km. Moreover, it is an opportunity to stay alone with yourself, get away from all the fuss and other problems. Or on the contrary, when I feel too lonely, I run with a friend, and it brings me back to life. I love running because it can be different, and it can be adapted to any mood you have at the moment!

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