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If You Are Serious About Running, You Need an Instructor

Sergey Kuznetsov — on the significance of running,
the importance of physical training

Chief Architect of Moscow, Sergey Kuznetsov shares his experience with running and gives useful tips for beginning runners.

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

I've been running for a very long time. I got into athletics when I was 14. I was basically doing it professionally until the age of 23. As a student of the Moscow Architectural Institute, I used to represent it. I can't say I had a very successful career in that field, but I became a Champion of Moscow in 1996. Then I got back into running after a break, around 2010. I started to prepare for marathons, ran my first marathon in 2015, and have been running ever since. It has become a vital part of my life.

How often do you go running?

When I'm training, I have five running sessions per week, plus power exercises and tennis. Running is not the only sport I do, but it is definitely the main one.

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

It depends on how I feel that day, both options have their pros and cons. It's not often that I get to run in a company, so I usually run on my own, although I do like training with other people.

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

Our running infrastructure is currently under development, so I run wherever I can. In most cases it's asphalt, although I do prefer running on bare earth and park alleys. It's great they have a dedicated running track at Luzhniki, it's a very good option.

What are your favourite routes in Moscow?

Again, I tend to run close to where I live, I don't travel to any dedicated locations. I live by the river, so I often run along Andreyevskaya Embankment, in Neskuchny Garden, or Luzhniki.

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

First of all, you need to start slowly. Overtraining is not good for you, especially after a break. It can lead to negative emotions, and overall it's not very helpful.

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

I like to run in the morning, but I sometimes do it in the evening, too, depending on my schedule.

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

Running equipment has to be comfortable, and there are a lot of brands making it these days. When it comes to brands, I like Nike and Tracksmith, although the latter can be a bit more difficult to find in Russia.

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

Your running technique is an incredibly important subject, and I recommend working with an instructor who will make sure you're doing everything correctly. Life hacks do not cover it all. It's a vital part of the running process, and you need to be very attentive and careful with it.

Do you use any exercise apps? If so, which ones?

Yes, I do. Garmin makes running watches that monitor your heart rate, and they have an app as well. It's a very useful tool for monitoring your personal statistics and for online coaching. I would recommend it, it's currently one of the best products on the market.

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What would be your five tips for beginning runners?

  1. You need an instructor. Attempting to run a marathon without one is dangerous and bad for your health.
  2. Your diet is very important, but it often gets overlooked, which is a big mistake.
  3. Do not disregard general physical preparation.
  4. Choose the right equipment, it's another important part of the process.
  5. Recovery is also vital, but people often forget about it. Massage, contrast baths, physiotherapy. Otherwise you are putting yourself at risk of injuries and low spirits.

My main point is, if you are serious about your training, get an instructor, and they will provide you with all the necessary recommendations. It's a complex process that includes speed training, speed endurance exercises, etc.

But if you just want to run for yourself, at your own pace, it's also an option.

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

I think it's not very developed just yet. But it is much more advanced than 10 years ago. There are simple figures that you can track for different countries. For instance, the London Marathon receives 450,000 applications, and Moscow gets around 10–20,000. But I think if we continue to develop this culture as we currently do, we will be able to keep up. So far there is room for growth.

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