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Running life hacks and favourite routes

Maria Lyzhina: Running Is a Multifunctional Activity

A Nike Run Club instructor prefers Moscow parks for her running sessions. In her interview, she shares her secrets of a perfect running practice as well as a number of ideas for professionals and beginning runners.

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What does running mean for you and how did you get started?

For me, running is a multifunctional activity. It gives you an opportunity to exercise, meditate, to stop thinking about your endless tasks at least for a while, and listen to an audio book that you can never find the time for. It's also a chance to have some time to yourself or chat with your friends during a run, making it both useful and enjoyable.

How often do you go running?

I tend to run 3 to 5 times a week, depending on how busy I am.

What's better, running on your own or in a company?

It depends on the person. But if we're talking about increasing your running distance or setting your personal speed record—running in a company can often make it much easier, even for those who prefer to run alone.

What kind of terrain do you prefer, concrete pavements or park alleys?

I prefer parks. In a park, you have access to both paved and unpaved roads, and the quality of air is much better than in other parts of the city. I'm not set on a specific type of surface, I tend to go back and forth between bare earth and asphalt for better adaptability.

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What are your favourite routes in Moscow?

They are mainly park areas: Gorky Park, Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo Park, Fili Park, VDNH. Or the Garden Ring, at night time.

What is the best way to get back to running after a long break?

— have a proper warm-up before the training;

— start with short and comfortable distances;

— increase the intensity of your training slowly, by no more than 15–20% per week;

— run on a regular basis, 2–4 times a week;

— take you recovery time seriously: remember about stretching exercises, myofascial release, massage, and take at least 2 full days of rest.

What is your preferred time for running, mornings or evenings?

When it comes to physical activities, I'm a night owl: I find exercising in the first half of the day harder than in the evening.

What kind of clothes/equipment do you prefer for running?

I prefer Nike's running equipment. In spring and summer, I opt for light, breathable, quick-drying pieces that aren't constricting. In winter and autumn, I need lightweight pieces that can protect me from wind, rain, and snow, retain heat and can dry fast.

Do you have any life hacks/recommendations on running techniques you would like to share?

  1. Do not forget to use your arms when running: if your arms are getting tired, relax and shake them up as you go, and then return them to the original position;
  2. Listen to your body: sometimes the 'perfect' technique may not be ideal for you, but don't let it stop you;
  3. Pay attention to the way you put your feet when walking: if they are not parallel to each other, start working on it while walking, and then practice it when running;
  4. Make sure to include full-body exercises into your training routine: it's much easier and safer to master proper running technique when your muscles are well-developed;
  5. Try to keep your movements natural and not constrained.
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Do you use any exercise apps? If so, which ones?

I do, I use the Nike Run Club.

What would be your five tips for beginning runners?

  1. Select your equipment carefully, especially your running shoes: the choice should always depend on the specific person's anatomy. Incorrect choice of footwear puts you at risk for injury. Also bear in mind that all trainers have a 'recommended mileage' after which the shoes must be replaced.
  2. Don't forget to drink enough water every day and have regular meals.
  3. Don't rush it: give your body a couple of months to slowly get used to the new activity, and then start increasing the intensity.
  4. Monitor your heart rate and do not exhaust your heart with long exercises when your heart rate is high.
  5. Don't forget about proper warm-ups and cool-down exercises before and after each training session, without exceptions.

How well-developed do you think the culture of running is in Moscow?

I think the situation has improved a lot over the past couple of years. We have way more runner-friendly spaces that aren't intended for running specifically but that's where you can change and leave your belongings. As a result, the number of new runners is also growing. I also hope we'll have more public tracks around the city with a special soft surface, to make running not only affordable but also extremely comfortable!

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