1. What do you like best in running and what is your pet peeve?

In running I like this sense of freedom you get when you start moving and feel that all your everyday life problems are left behind and everything is possible. What I don’t like, hmm… sometimes, the first few kilometers can be very tough, the body just won’t tune in to the rhythm of running. This is the worst situation: the mind really wants to continue running, but the rest of the body might not agree with that.

2. What would ideal running/racing conditions look like to you?


3. What running dream do you have? If you had everything you needed, what would be the wildest, most impossible dream?

My biggest dream is to run the New York marathon.

4. Tell about the toughest training you had. What was the outcome? And what was the most valuable takeaway?

The hardest training sessions are those in winter, when I work on boosting my strength and do short sprints. At one point I always get this feeling that I will never ever be able to run the next sprint. My inner voice shouts “Stop!”, but I just go on and conquer the next hill. The result of my struggles and efforts is very visible during the next running season: my legs run smoothly, as if they are a well-oiled mechanism :) No injuries, no pain. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned when during those sprint sessions is this: don’t start your runs too fast, because after a couple of sprints you’ll just be too exhausted and worn out. If you start at your average speed, you’ll manage to complete all the uphill sprints.

5. What body part would you name that would be the most important when it comes to running? What body part you're most thankful to?

For a long time now the abs have been the most valuable body part. They help me stabilize my posture and are a big asset when it comes to proper running. But I can’t yet say I’m fully thankful to them, as I still need to work on my abs more :)

6. Did you do sports when you were a child? Was running among the activities you were fond of? If not, why did you eventually decide to start running and when did that happen?

I used to do swimming when I was a kid, and was quite good at it. I did running exercises as part of physical training classes at school, but I never attended separate running classes. Later I became a policewoman, and my job required good running skills, because you never know who you’ll have to chase after :) Therefore, I started to attend running sessions at the Police school. I got very much into it thanks to a colleague who was preparing for a marathon at that time. He inspired me to run farther than 3 km :)

7. What do you feel when you're at the start line and when you've just crossed the finish line? What is essential for you to have when you're about to run a race and what do you usually do after you've run it?

Before the start I usually feel a bit nervous. I catch myself thinking that I don’t know what I’m doing standing here, that other runners will be faster than me, and so on. However, such stress is also a motivation. Along with those unhelpful thoughts there are other, positive ones: I’m in a good shape now, it will be a fun race, I’m here because I want to do this and have a great time, and maybe even outrun some other participants in the end. I also find it vitally important to have a few moments alone before the start. I need this time to clear my mind and choose a running strategy for the upcoming race. As for the finish line, there the endorphins start to kick in and I cross the line with a wide smile on my face.

8. Was there something that changed in your views on running since you started?

Now I know that running isn’t as cheap as I thought in the beginning. If you want to exercise regularly, participate in races, improve your skills, you have to take care of your body: eat well, take supplements, buy a few pairs of good shoes (for hard surface, for trail running, for the races…).

9. What goal that you set to achieve in the beginning of your running journey now seems to be something that's too ambitious or maybe even impossible to do?

Ultramarathons in the mountains. For the moment, I can’t imagine how people manage to run further than 42 km on flat surface, let alone trail running.

10. What goal do you have now?

Now my goal is to combine running with swimming: do swimrun. Ideally, it would be great to first jump in water fully dressed and wearing special running/swimming shoes, swim a few meters, get out and start running, and after a couple of kilometers return to swimming :)

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@2020 Anna Shilonosova