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Running alone or in a running club? Stories of personal records (part 2)


To continue our story, we will talk about Ukrainian runners, how they got their passion for running and why they chose training on their own.They will also share practical tips for preparing for races, because they received them with their sweat and blood, literally. These people run ultramarathons, run up to 250 km a month, and celebrate their birthdays on marathons.


Alina Gromova, client service director in the agency for creation and promotion of brands.Agency, running experience 4 years


How did you start running?

Running came into my life in 2014 through my colleague Tolia Tantsiura. He was already engaged in triathlon and would bring the medals he won to office, and we were very proud of him. I was a CMS in swimming in the past and one of those who thought jogging was quite a boring sport. And once Tolia invited me to go jogging with him. It was a recreational jog after the race for him, and for me it was a complicated pair of kilometers, to say the least. He basically showed me running from a completely different perspective, he became my motivator and the person who gave me basic knowledge about running, technique, training.


We immediately decided that my first goal would be participation in Kyiv half marathon-2015, in the relay race of 5 km. From the first half marathon I remember the incredibly festive atmosphere, so nobody was going to stop. In six months I already did 10 km at the Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon, and in another six months we learned that the date of the Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon 2016 falls on my birthday. Tolia then said to me: “Alinochka, you must run!” So my birthday began with my first half-marathon finish. Since then, I have collected 9 finisher’s medals on the course of 21.1 km and this year I hope the Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon would bring the tenth.


What are the benefits of running on your own?

As one triathlete says, “You can train a lot, or you can train effectively.” So someone needs to explain to you the basic knowledge and technique, and it would be better to have a professional coach or experienced athlete. Further, depending on your goals, you can train on your own, but if you need a result, you will reach it faster and with less injuries if you do it with a coach.


4 tips:

– Since I’m an amateur and not a pro, the main thing is to start running with a coach who will lay your running foundation: technique and basic knowledge to avoid injury and training without hard to your health. Besides, there are a lot of running clubs in Kyiv. Basic mistakes are standard: I don’t need a coach; I know how to run; the faster I run, the better; why do I need this pulse monitor and why monitor pulse at all; at the stadium, if I run slowly, I must use the first track, run around me if you need to; breathe only with your nose; buy running shoes of exactly your size; eat well before the training session; I run rarely, but I run a lot). Everyone goes through these before training with a coach.


– set new goals: plan different races, increase distances or improve your time. Running will even affect your efficiency at work. As you know, cardio directly affects the work of the brain.


– it develops leadership qualities, gives you a drive in all areas and relationships. Each distance, whether half marathon or marathon, becomes a personal challenge and a wild test. And this goal can be achieved through hard work and support, which is extremely important. Having a team and family that believe in you is priceless.


– running should be systematic. When jogging becomes part of a lifestyle, training also gets a totally different meaning in addition to yielding sports results. It is a magical moment when jogging becomes your leisure. You can distract from everything in the world and concentrate on the main thing for yourself. You can make important decisions, overcome stress of everyday life, switch to something else – running can help all of this. If you want to get a surge of energy, enjoy moments of life, get hormones of happiness, new acquaintances and good physical fitness, then go in for running workouts.



Eduard Bondarenko, chef, running experience 3 years


How did you start running?

I practically did not practice sports until the age of 30, and I thought of running as a completely uninteresting and boring thing to do. But in September 2015 I got into one motivational seminar, and my life changed radically. In short, on October 1, early in the morning, I went for a run and thought how long it would take me to reach my goal. The goal was to run a marathon and overcome the Ironman distance. That’s how everything started. Almost all of my friends believed that this was a hobby for a maximum of several months. But the family really believed in me and supported me at all stages of preparation for the competition. Three years ago, I thought that runners who overcome the marathon distances are super people. And now I am an ultra-marathon runner.


What are the benefits of running on your own?

I mostly train on my own. It does not matter whether the training takes 30 minutes or 3 hours. This is a great opportunity to think. In such circumstances it is easier to listen to your body and prepare for competitions in which you are likely to be running a very long distance on your own.


3 tips:

– create a training plan. For example, you set a goal to run a marathon, therefore, break it into stages. Start preparing for a half marathon, and then go on to a marathon. And get to your goal step by step.      

– be sure to go through medical examination. Health is above all.       

– believe in yourself. I am sure that this is the key to success. After all, sometimes preparing for a long distance is more difficult psychologically than physically.


Veronika Mushtai, a marketologist, running experience 3.5 years


How did you start running?

Everything is very simple. I wanted to do sports, and the only time I had to train was before 8 in the morning .I thought that running was a perfect solution, I didn’t need to go anywhere, I just ran out to the street – and the training session began. I read all the materials by “NogiBogi”, I consulted the “Run Lab” about the running shoes and pulse meter, passed medical examination and began training. I gradually increased the distance, and my pace improved. A few months later I ran my first Nova Poshta Kyiv Half Marathon. Everything went fine, and I decided to prepare for the marathon. During the preparation stage I read several books about ultramarathons and realized that 42 km 195 m is fine, but I wanted to run longer distances. I ran a marathon, and then my first summer ultramarathon of 50 km. In February this year I did my first trail of 54 km, and I did a night ultramarathon of 78 km this summer.

Long distances are my thing, and of course I dream of running “The Jungle Ultra”, “Marathon des Sables”, “Hardrock 100”, “Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc”, “HURT100”, but now they are in outer space for me.


What are the benefits of running on your own?

In three and a half years, I ran about five and a half thousand kilometers. I train all year long in any weather. Now I try to run at least 200-250 km in a month. In 99% of cases I run by myself. First of all, I am very comfortable, and secondly, it is very important to be prepared not only physically but also emotionally. After all, at a competition you can be running for a very long time all by yourself, and you have to be prepared for that.


3 tips:

– get medical examination. Not only the blood test, urine test and cardiologist, but a general medical examination. Only you are responsible for your health.

– train regularly, gradually increasing the distance. It is not the best idea to skip training, and then run a killer for yourself a distance and fall out of the training schedule again.

– read interesting books about running, for example, you can start with “Born to run” by Christopher McDougall, “Eat Right, Run Fast” by Scott Jurek, “The Guide to Ultramarathon” by Hel Kerner and Adam Chase.


And remember, all this should make you happy. If it does not, then it makes no sense.

The stories of our athletes are the stories of ordinary people who have found the strength, the desire and will to change their lives and motivate others .Each of them is already a winner, although they are sure that the most important finishes are still ahead!

Friends see you at the 9th Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon.