*This post is written by Natalia Sedykh, winner of the ‘Marathon des Sables’ and running coach at Iloverunning in the UAE.
I was standing at the starting line of ‘des Sables’ in Sahara. If I told myself then that 250 km in a desert was too much and there was no way for me to finish it, I would have never handled the distance. The key to success, both in life and sport, is following a dream and being disciplined.
It’s not about talent
It was 2003 when I saw a stadium for the first time. I wanted to do ballroom dancing and dreamed about tennis. But I found myself in the most democratic sport. All you need to start running is a pair of sneakers and a street.
I wasn’t the most successful sportswoman. I wasn’t fast or tough. And I definitely was not born to run. One thing I was really good at was exercising regularly and following recommendations from my coach. My colleagues and coaches have always pointed out my persistence and regularity. Somehow, it was a success. I was noticed by a coach from Moscow and we started training for the Russian Championship.
Being in professional sport is like being in an assembly line. If you break, no one will take care of you. They’ll find someone else.
It was 2011. I had never run a marathon before. I was preparing for my first competition in Moscow. I had a big desire but little knowledge so I got injured. My body simply wasn’t ready for the task. My dream and my obsession with success were so powerful, that in the end I was left with nothing. Everything I had in life was about sport. So much sacrifice, money and time were wasted. And at that point I had no idea what I should do next.
I felt like a train wreck. I was able to restore my shape and financial health only after two years. It was then when my new acquaintance suggested me to take part in the ‘des Sables’ marathon. Just think about it for a second. 250 km in the Sahara. It’s the distance of six regular marathons in severe conditions. After the injury I didn’t take the idea seriously, but agreed to participate anyway. I came second among women. I’m still not sure how i did it. I believe it was my naivety, faith and dreams about doing it right. A year after that I came first.
Get up and run
Dreaming is good, living without borders is even better. But it’s still not enough. You need to start acting and stop procrastinating. It took me two years to get back in shape. If a vague thought about doing sports has ever crossed your mind – grab it and make it come true.
Your dream about a slimmer shape and an IronMan title has to start with regular practice. People are consumed with the idea only for a week. Then they start looking for excuses like seeing their grandma or going to a birthday party. I can’t stress the importance of regular exercise enough. We might do something wrong at first, but we do it regularly. Believe me, I know it can be difficult to adjust to a new lifestyle and add some exercises to your day.
Running fast does not make you a pro
A thoughtful approach is you next step. Find a good school or a coach, who will inspire you and give your practice a meaning. This is really important. Your body lives by its own laws – it needs to sleep, eat or reproduce. When you force yourself to eat differently or exercise regularly, your body can get harmed. Your goal here is to find harmony between mental and physical.
‘I’m not a professional runner’ – I hear that all the time. We do not have that many professional runners in the country and the ones we do compete for the national team. Trust me, running fast does not make you a pro. The school where I coach is aimed at running enthusiasts. I see people with different motivation levels. Competitions and medals are just a potent tool we use to organize training process. It pushes people to complete tasks they never thought possible, plan their practices and rests.
Sportsmen and sportswomen are completely nuts. We believe that sportswear has something magical to it, something we trust and have faith in. Sneakers are our true friends. They are always their for you, during the toughest practices and sweetest victories. They are my wings.
When I started running, I had only one pair of sports shoes. And those were the wrong size. I was so jealous of our Russian team members. They were all signed with Nike. I remember thinking that if I did better I would get the latest sneakers. But all I could do at that time was spend my last money and order sportswear from the team members.
We used to wait for someone to leave for a competition. We would prepare a list of things we wanted like shorts or t-shirts.
I used to live in Perm where sportswear was quite affordable. But a pair of good running shoes you could only get in Moscow or abroad. We used to ask our teammates to bring us sneakers when they left for championships. During national or international races you could buy gear from sales representatives. It’s easy now. We have a vast selection of sports shoes on the market. And almost every of them has their own running line.
I thought there was nothing better than my first ASICS running shoes. Then I switched to Nike and I believed that only Nike could help me get results. At some point I got adidas Boost technology running shoes. That was the pair I wore down. I selected my top 4 adidas sports shoes for different types of practices.
Adidas top 4 running shoes from Natalia Sedykh
I always tell my students: ‘You cannot choose your shoes without trying them on first’. As you cannot cross the finish line without making the first step. These 4 running shoes you can always try at adidas Runlab.
Active training in the city goes hand in hand with hard surfaces – asphalt, tiles or concrete. Especially here, in Dubai, where I live, work and train. That’s why Ultra Boost are now my everyday training shoes. Boost technology provides secure heel counter support and stability. That is exactly what you need for optimal movement of the Achilles.
Energy Boost 3 is also a great choice for everyday training. Flexible and adaptive techfit upper delivers precise and personalized support and provides responsive contact with light and springy boost cushioning.
For high speed interval training on softer stadium surfacing I choose light Adizero Adios. Apart from classic boost cushioning this model is equipped with enhanced EVA upper. It reduces the risk of twisting your ankle at speed-ups and side movements.
Adizero Boston 6 is a perfect choice for interval training or competitions. This is an ideal fit for runners who need to develop their speed skills. Here you have boost midsole, textile upper with engineered mesh and torsion system for midfoot integrity.