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With love and positive energy he inspires people everyday

Seventeen years ago, something happened, and he came to a turning point in life. He decided that enough is enough and he promised himself that he would never ever neglect his family again.

Thomas is a 39-year-old Swedish “active lifestyle guy” that loves spending time in the nature together with his family, preferably in combination with his favourite sport Ultra-trail/Skyrunning.

In his previous life, before being the calm and responsible person that he is today, he slipped into the wrong path in life.

The childhood wasn’t easy, and he was brought up in a messy home with alcohol abuse problems in the family. In school he was kind of shy and he was one of those unobtrusive kids in class. He tried to stay as little as possible in school and instead he devoted himself into trouble. The behaviour escalated during his teenage years, and eventually he was deprived of liberty and ended up in prison.

This was probably the turning point in life that he needed in order to make a change. He promised himself that he would never ever neglect his family again, and he started to train. This was also the time where he discovered that he had talent.

After a lot of hard work on himself, training, and also some doubts. He is now where he wants to be in life.

He’s a loving husband and a father of three kids, he is practicing the sport that he loves, and he works as an HR manager at demolition and transport group with over 250 employees.

It’s also important for Thomas to inspire and to create value for others. For that purpose, he and his wife took the initiative and founded “Vardagsstark” that you can read more about further down in the article.

For sure it hasn’t always been easy, and Thomas has put a lot of work in this to get him where he is today. Happy!

This is Thomas story…

 Arrival at Cortina d'Ampezzo for Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120k 2019
Arrival at Cortina d’Ampezzo for Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120k 2019

Who is Thomas and what is most important for you in life?

I like to see myself as an inspiring, very energetic person who always wants other people well, and who always has a new project going on.

Basically, I am a calm and confident person that usually think before I speak. I have no problem standing in the centre and speak if I have something to say, but I might as well take a few steps back if it is that other people in a context have a greater need to make their voice heard.

The most important for me is my everyday life. I love working and I love spending time with my family. My great interest is the “outdoor lifestyle” spending time in nature, whether it is walking, hiking or just sitting on a rock and thinking. For me, it is important to live life every day. I do not want life to be a transport route for the holiday or until you have made enough money to buy the house you dreamed of.

I have never valued gadgets and status particularly high, on the contrary. The relationship and love of the people closest to me means everything.

I dare to say with my hand on my heart that I am happy. Of course, I have not always been confident in myself and it has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point where I am today.

 Nice conversation and rest together with a friend during a long-run, Abisko, Sweden.
Nice conversation and rest together with a friend during a long-run, Abisko, Sweden.
 The whole family gathered at the top of Mulen during a mountain hike at Nipfjället, Sweden.
The whole family gathered at the top of Mulen during a mountain hike at Nipfjället, Sweden.

Your passion for Skyrunning/Trail-running? Where is it coming from?

In 2016, my wife and two friends would participate in the “Fjällräven Classic”. A hiking event that lasts for five days and involves moving 110 kilometres on foot between Nikkaloukta and Abisko in the most northern part of Sweden.

Their plan was to reach the distance as quickly as possible and only stay overnight in tents for a few hours during the night. They made it to the finish line after 36 hours and when my wife came home, she told me that there were also people running the distance.

A thought came to life and I decided to meet up with the challenge next year. I had experience in gym training, football and martial arts, but I had barely run 10 kilometres earlier. So, running was something totally new to me.

In 2017 I started my adventure between Nikkaloukta and Abisko with 16 kilos of packing on my back. I made it in 21 hours, and in the same time as I crossed the finish line, I decided to do it again, but lighter and faster next time.

It was an amazing experience and I fell in love with nature and the mountains. I fantasized about what it would be like to run in really high mountains in the Alps and started looking for cool races.

After my first race in Italy, I was hooked. I loved taking on this long distance on foot through magically beautiful surroundings. The feeling of how small you really are surrounded by the majestic mountains appealed to me.

I am convinced that it is useful for all people to be in an element where they themselves do not decide. I think many people would gain perspective on their own problems and find better tools to deal with them if they discovered the greatness of movement in nature.

 On ourway up to Sweden's highest mountain station during a training camp in the Swedish mountains.
On ourway up to Sweden’s highest mountain station during a training camp in the Swedish mountains.

Can you describe your significant personal strengths that took you all the way to this level of running?

I am positive and solution oriented by nature. I’ve always had the attitude that everything is possible. A positive attitude in combination with stubbornness and hard work creates favourable conditions for success. However, you must never forget that it should be fun. Without pleasure, the road becomes much more difficult.

I do not feel that I am at a high level in running and would rather call myself an elite amateur. I run tough races and perform according to my own conditions. To be honest, I am a better runner at shorter distances.

I often place myself at the top when I line up in smaller trail runs around 10 to 21 km. I love to run really hard and fast and to go all out. The problem is that I like adventure races where I get to stay active for over 20 hours. But my love for running fast also means that I often run out of energy at the first 30-40 kilometres. After that, I always end up weak and have to work my way back.

I think it would benefit me as an Ultra-trail runner to run a little slower and more stable. But fast feet in difficult terrain is fantastic fun so I may continue with my tactics. It usually takes me to the finish line at the end of the day anyway.

 Morning coffee before an early run in my home forests.
Morning coffee before an early run in my home forests.

What do you do for a living? Is Skyrunning/Trail-running something you would like to work with in the future?

I work as an HR manager in a transport group with over 250 employees. My role is to be an expert-supports to all the managers and leaders in the organization regarding work environment and personnel issues.

A fun job that I enjoy, where I get to be a part of the organization’s development. In addition to my regular work, my wife and I run the non-profit initiative “Vardagsstark” and I also organize my own hill-races and sometimes work as a race leader.

I have no plans to be a professional runner and I will never fight for top positions. I am confident that I will continue to develop as a runner, but I do not want the training to go beyond my family.

I know how much work it is behind every successful runners’ performance. Most of them run between 120-200 km a week and I also have friends who run more than that. I have neither the time nor the will that is required to invest in that time and hard work.

Have you always had this type of lifestyle or have you done any change direction in life that you like to mention?

No, this is not the type of background where I am coming from.

I come from a messy childhood with alcohol abuse problems in the family. In school I was kind of shy and I was one of those unobtrusive kids in class. I tried stay as little as possible in school and instead I devoted myself into trouble.

I have always had a lot of energy and drive, but I used it for a destructive purpose instead of doing something good with it. The behaviour escalated and during my teenage years I mostly devoted myself into trouble.

The turning point came when I was 22 years old. When my first son was born, I was deprived of liberty, which resulted in me ending up in prison. That’s when I made the decision to change my life and I promised myself to never neglect my family again.

During the period I served my sentence, I began to train with sheer boredom. I didn’t only discover how wonderful and energizing it was, I also discovered that I had talent.

Which is the most challenging and demanding situations that you been through to get you where you are today as a person?

Definitely the period in life when I was deprived of liberty and wasn’t able to take care of my son.

Do you usually push yourself outside your comfort zone? How does it feel at the time? Can you see that the rewards coming out of this, and is it worth this little extra effort?

Pushing myself to do uncomfortable things have in my opinion no purpose of its own. However, my attitude to life and challenges make me very often end up in such situations.

I have experienced my greatest development in life when I was exposed to mental challenges rather than physical ones. I am for example a very shy and withdrawn person, but over time I have learned to speak to large groups of people by exposing myself to these kinds of situations. In my work it is required of me and in my spare time I have the ability to always end up in situations where I am exposed to such challenges.

As far as running concerned, I am convinced that 90% of the success is to be mentally prepared. Of course, you have to be physically prepared too in order to cope with tough races, but I have learned that it’s your head that ultimately makes you perform.

How does your race plans and goals look like for 2020?

My racing season starts early in the fall, so I’ve just got off to a good start after this summer’s adventure. The focus right now is to get in shape and next year is an unwritten leaf.

Autumn in Sweden usually offers lots of fun trail runs in shorter distances which I think is incredibly fun. I just returned from a two-week stay in the Swedish mountain world where I combined some work with training. I got to experience the shift between autumn and winter in the mountains. It was absolutely fantastic.

When I arrived, nature was covered in incredible colours and last weekend we got a good deal of snow in the mountains. It really felt like winter was coming. This week, I have prepared myself for the first real challenge this autumn, which is going to take place this weekend.

The idea is for me to run 90 km and 3000 altitude meters in the southern forests. My form is not the best at the moment so we will see how it goes. But I will focus on having a great experience and socializing with nice people. So, I don’t think the challenge will be a problem for me to cope with.

My upcoming adventure is planned in November and then I have a couple of months to recover till the next challenge in February. But what I look forward to the most 2020, is a challenging race that I will do together with a friend. The Björkliden Arctic Mountain Marathon (BAMM), which is an orientation race on the mountain that is performed in pairs for two days. It’s a competition I really long for!

How does a normal week with training and all that look like for you right now?

My training consists mostly of transport to and from work as well as some long runs or hill-work in the weekend. I wake up every morning at 3:30 and start with 45 minutes of yoga, mobility and strength before breakfast.

A few days a week I run to work and home, and somtimes I take the bike. Usually I do around 60-70 km of running a week and 120 km of cycling, which I think is a great amount of exercise.

But the most important part of the exercise consists of “the everyday exercise” in the way that I walk wherever I go, never take lifts or escalators, hike, climb and play with the family. I see running as a hobby and a way to experience and relax. I like that attitude and have no dreams that running should become a bigger part of my life than that.

Which are your best training tips to other Skyrunners/Trail-runners all over the world?

My philosophy is that a strong and healthy body can handle most things. I try to be in as good shape as possible all year round, whether I have races planned or not.

My workouts consist as much of everyday easy exercise as of hard workouts. Above all, I have noticed that runners often have a tendency to “forget” strength training and mobility training. Of course, I understand that many people find it more fun to go out and run in the mountains or in the woods than to go to the gym, but my experience says that this leads to injuries and flaws that become an obstacle in running.

Of course, I am aware that there are exceptions. I also know runners who do not exercise strength but still stay injury-free and perform well. But in general, strength training and above all mobility training is something most runners benefit from.

Which are your favourite races that you would recommend to other Skyrunners/Trail-runners all over the world?

The most fun and enjoyable race I have run is the Dolomiti Extreme Trail, which is a 103-kilometre-long race in the Italian Alps with over 7000 D+. I’ve run it twice and plan to run it again. The race has an incredibly nice atmosphere and starts and finishes in the small mountain village of Forno di Zoldo. The race offers a variety of distances and the entire village residents are involved. A family-friendly and cozy arrangement I highly recommend.

Climbing up towards Rif. Coldai, Dolomiti Extreme Trail 2018.
Climbing up towards Rif. Coldai, Dolomiti Extreme Trail 2018.

Can you tell us a little about Vardagsstark? What do you do? Purpose? Vision and goals etc…

Vardagsstark” (Everyday Strong) is a non-profit initiative that I run together with my wife. It started as an Instagram account where we wanted to inspire people to performance-free exercise, preferably in nature and with the family.

We feel that people in general have a hard time to manage their lives with everything that come with it. Work, school, children, cooking, activities and above all training. People usually put too much weight on the word training. The word is associated with achievement and performance.

When you fail to get that thoughtful workout into your everyday life or when the workout does not turn out in the way you wanted, you get disappointed. We do not want training to be associated with anything anxious. We want it to be a way to feel good and also a way to socialize.

In our Instagram account, we suggest on how to lower the “performance bar” and how you can easily get some exercise into your everyday life. How you can involve your children, other family members, friends or colleagues.

“Vardagsstark” has grown and in addition to social media we give lectures in our philosophy and we also organize various activities that everyone is welcome to participate in. Best of all is that participation is completely free. We like more people to discover this wonderful lifestyle and highlight that training in the nature is free and also very easy.

 The whole family is very excited to run Kolmården Trail Run, Sweden.
The whole family is very excited to run Kolmården Trail Run, Sweden.

Are you involved in any other types of running-projects that you like to talk about?

As I told you before, I always have a new project going on and a new thought is constantly spinning in my head. I organize, among other things. race meetings along with like-minded, different races and other fun activities.

Right now, we are working on preparations for “Tre Toppar”, a small hill race here in Stockholm where around 200 runners will attend.

I am also planning a 50-mile race of 6500 D+, which will be launched in April next year.

Do you have any dreams and goals for the future that you like to share?

An incredible number of dreams and goals exist, but they change from day to day depending on which ideas come to my mind. But, basically my goal is for me and my family is to stay healthy and enjoy.

Running in sparkling fresh snow a fantastic autumn day during a running camp in Abisko.
Running in sparkling fresh snow a fantastic autumn day during a running camp in Abisko.

How does your game plan look like for that?

Whoever listens to the heart, body and mind will not fail. It is when you start chasing the goals of others that you get lost.

What is your inner drive?

Joy and curiosity. I will continue as long as I think it is fun. I have a constant curiosity about where both my mental and my physical limits might go. I haven’t found it yet so I will keep looking.

What is your advice to other people that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains as good/much as you?

A good start is to do hiking. In order to enjoy mountain running it’s important to know how everything works, and before going out in a really tough environment you have to practice and gain respect for nature.

The best experience you will get when you feel that you are working in symbiosis with nature. Everyone has a small forest with a little mountain in their vicinity. Start small-scale and make no big deal of it. But above all, my best tip is to Stop dreaming. Just do it!

Finishing in DXT23 (Dolomiti trail-run) with my wife Louise.
Finishing in DXT23 (Dolomiti trail-run) with my wife Louise.

Thank you!

Thank you very much Thomas, for taking your time sharing your fantastic story! You are a real fighter, a true role model and very brave!

Wishing you all the best luck in the future with your Trail & Skyrunning and everything that you like to do.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka Nyberg

Facts

Name: Thomas Nindjja Gottlind

Nationality: Swedish

Age: 39

Family: Wife and three kids (kids every other week, wife every week haha)

Country/town: Stockholm, Sweden

Your team or sponsor now: I run for Team Vardagsstark (Everydaystrength)

Occupation: Human Resources Director

Education: HR, Leadership, project management

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tretopparna/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Instagram: @vardagsstark @tretoppartretimmar

Webpage / Blog: http://www.vardagsstark.se

 

The mountains give me bravery to stand for my truths

Skyrunning is a sport where you are confronted with many difficult obstacles. You master them, you love them, and you become stronger.

To explain the meaning of that, obstacles are not places where you end your journey. Obstacles are places where you find your inner strength and where you realize that many impossible things are doable.

I had the opportunity to meet Marija, “mother nature’s special agent trained in deadly skyrunning skills”, a very interesting person and passionated Skyrunner. 🙂

Behind the everydayness of modern life, she found freedom and essence of happiness in the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle. She was also drawn to the extreme challenge, loved the obstacles and loved the game of Skyrunning.

Today Marija is one of the top Skyrunners in Serbia and she runs for team Tribe Trails. In August this year she took a first place in Čvrsnica trail and she was winner of the month in the Skyrunner Challenge 2019 (hosted by a Skyrunner Adventurers, a new Facebook group for Skyrunner lovers).

In the near future she is dreaming of a full time “Skyrunner lifestyle”, and she is heading for top 10 in the world.

This is Marijas story…

Marija Djordjevic, Cvrsnica trail – Hajduks’ doors.
Marija Djordjevic, Cvrsnica trail – Hajduks’ doors.

Congrats Marija for being the winner of the race Čvrsnica trail, 32km, 1 500 D+! Can you tell us a little about the race and your experiences from that?

The bus drove us to the start. It was a sunny morning, a promising predictor of a good day ahead. The race was held in Bosnian’s wild west, known for rocky technical terrain with a lot of wild raspberries and shrubs. It started with an up-hill till famous natural rocky frame Hajduks’ door, named after Hajduks – freedom fighters. You had to stop for a moment and look at this nature’s masterpiece crafted meticulously for thousands of years. After it, we went crazy downhill, then up-hill. All that time I was enjoying the view at long ridge that leads to nearby peak. As I am absolutely fascinated with ridges, this was my source of additional strength for continuous movement, that had lasted for 4 hours 37 minutes.

And when I crossed the finish line, I felt like a cowgirl riding back into her hometown after a successful standoff with her inner doubts.

Who is Marija and your story behind?

Marija is the mother nature’s special agent trained in deadly skyrunning skills. 😊 Behind everydayness of modern life, I found freedom and essence of happiness in outdoor lifestyle. Moving helps me clear my mind and I feel connected to something that is more real than our notion of normality.

Can you describe yourself with two sentences?

Collector of ridges and rocky downhills. Ambassador of smiles and brewer of beetroot magical potions.

What is most important for you in life?

Clear air, sunshine and freedom of mind and body.

Marija Djordjevic, Sinjajevina SkyRace – It was hot like in a desert.
Sinjajevina SkyRace – It was hot like in a desert.

Your passion for Skyrunning? Where is that coming from?

Skyrunning is a sport where you are confronted with many difficult obstacles. That confrontation is very important to me. Obstacles are not places where you end your journey. Obstacles are places where you find your inner strength and where you realize that many impossible things are doable.

Can you describe your significant personal strengths that took you all the way to this level of running?

Commitment was always something elusive to me. I used to start things, but never seen them through the end. I wanted to change that. I wanted to enter into something without exit strategy. That something is skyrunning to me.

Is Skyrunning a hobby or is it something you do for a living?

Being a Skyrunner to me is the same thing as being Batman is to Bruce Wein. 😊 It’ss not my job, but it is definitely not a hobby, it is the calling. It is something what I would like to do as my profession in the future.

I work 8 hours a day, sedentary job, in a team that implements and customizes software solution that banks use in their credit risk calculations. I have master’s degree in Economics, but always have had a passion for movement and more active ways of engagement.

Can you tell us a little about Oblakove Pertle?

I’m co-founder of the blog Oblakove pertle. We think that our running shoes are some kind of a portal to unknown that we need. They are not just a piece of sport equipment, but also a tool for our inner growth. Oblakove pertle is a blog through which we explore how this simple item can bring incredible changes in someone’s life.

Oblakove pertle stands for the name of an Indian child that laces up the clouds, instead of running shoes to keep them closer to his heart when he searches for mysteries in endless horizon in the sky.

Co-founders of Oblakove Pertle (Dimitris, 3rd co-founder, is running up mountains in Greece).
Co-founders of Oblakove Pertle (Dimitris, 3rd co-founder, is running up mountains in Greece).

Have you always had this type of lifestyle (Skyrunning etc…) or have you done any change direction in life that you like to mention?

Most of us are raised in some kind of comfort zone. With time you realize that all joys and hardships in that zone are not enough to tell you who you are, and that you need to go further into the unknown in search for the answers. If you are lucky, growth and change are never-ending processes.

Which is the most challenging and demanding situations that you been through to get you where you are today as a person?

I always thought that there was something wrong with the notion of normality. The most demanding thing for me was and, in a certain way, still is, confrontation with other people’s notion of what proper way of life is. Mountain gives me bravery to stand for my truths.

How does your race plans and goals look like for 2019?

This year is a test year where I am exploring skyrunning races all over the world, so I can see where I stand and what can I do improve. I have one additional race planned for October in Bagá in Spain and I am really looking forward to it.  The next year is important to me, as I will try to give my best and fulfil my passion – to become better Skyrunner and to motivate people to spend more time in nature.

Chamonix – Being at the top gives me wings to fly like a bird.
Chamonix – Being at the top gives me wings to fly like a bird.

How does a normal week with training and all that look like for you right now? 

Usually I have 5 days of running with 1 to 2 strength training a week.

I would like to get back to sports climbing and dancing (as I love music, and it often gives me energy). I was practicing hip-hop a couple of months in 2018 and Latino dances as a child. But it is difficult to do all of that before/after 8 to 9 hours of working in the office.

Which are your best training tips to other Skyrunners all over the world?

Knowledge is power. Know your body well, run on a mountain, do strength training and never avoid stretching. Each person is unique, and you need to discover what fuels you and how your body will react to different kind of stresses.

Which are your favourite races that you would recommend to other Skyrunners all over the world?

ZacUp skyrace in Italy with never-ending UPs where at the top you can only see clouds and peaks and where you feel like running on clouds.

Ultra kleka in Serbia, at Stara mountain, with a lot of distances to choose for your level of training. The mountain horizon is like a back of huge dinosaur. The nature is very old, and trails are profoundly unique.

Čvrsnica ultra trail is a race in Bosnia’s wild west where you can challenge yourself at different levels and, of course, enjoy in raspberries.

For all extreme runners Skyrace Comapedrosa is a must, due to its technical rocky downhill.

Do you have any dreams and goals for the future that you like to share?

😊 Sun rises and touches my hear, time to wake up. I am putting on my running shoes and heading out, up in the mountain for a couple of hours, to inhale morning freshness. On my way back, I pick up some tropical fruits for a breakfast. After a good meal, made mostly from ingredients from my garden, I create video vlogs and write about my running experiences at Oblakove pertle website. Evenings would like to spend walking barefoot by the beach and looking at the stars.

Marija Djordjevic, China – Exploring new paths.
China – Exploring new paths.

How does your game plan look like for that?

To be more active in creating vlogs on our page Oblakove pertle and to start writing and filming in English and, later on, Spanish.

Learning Spanish more deeply and understanding their culture, as we are planning to live there.

Improving my skyrunning skills, so I can be among top 10 women in the world (I am currently among top 40). I know I can be much faster and stronger.

If you really desire something, you need to work on it constantly, and you will achieve it and realize you dream. Follow us and I will share my path with you.

What is your inner drive?

My motivation is not to escape from reality, but to find a better one. To create meaningful world. To add sense to everyday life.

What is your advice to other people that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains as good as you?

Get a pair of trail running shoes, find your mountain and go hiking, at first. If you want to be closer to professional level, it is important that you hire a coach, so you can avoid injuries. And, you MUST strengthen your body, as well as your mind, as this comes in a package, and if one part is missing, your form will crash, sooner or later.

Marija Djordjevic, Zac UP SkyRace – Smile even if it’s hard.
Zac UP SkyRace – Smile even if it’s hard.

Facts

Name: Marija Djordjevic

Nationality: Serbia

Age: 31

Family: My dad and myself

Country/town: Belgrade, Serbia

Your team or sponsor now: Tribe Trails / Oblakove pertle

Occupation: Financial Risk Consultant / Skyrunner

Education: Master of Economics

Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/marija.djordjevic.21

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OblakovePertle/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/majche_oblakove_pertle/

Webpage / Blog: www.oblakovepertle.org

Thank you!

Thank you, Marija, for taking your time sharing your fantastic story! Wishing you all the best luck in the future with your Skyrunning and everything that you want to do.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka Nyberg

My Mountain Marathon Training Online Program – Week 17 – Last post in series

I did it! This was fantastic! I can do anything I want! Bydalens Fjällmaraton 50k, 2900 D+, one of the hardest and most amazing mountain marathons in Sweden.

This is the last blogpost in a series of blogposts where I have been documented my journey and my training preparations for Bydalens Fjällmarathon 50k, 2900 D+.

This training program was created specifically for me by my trainer Fernando Armisén, that is located in the mountains of Spain. We’ve been working together online for seventeen weeks now and it has been working out very well.

Fernando has been planning all my trainings, making sure that I would do my very best in my planned races, reaching my goals. We’ve been communicating in e-mails and social media, using my training watch and Traininpeaks as tools.

If you like to see the whole training program from week 1 start here.

My Mountain Marathon Training Online Program – Week 1

A dream comes true

One year ago, I wasn’t even close to be able to run a race like this, this well. So, what happened? Why did I manage to do something that I two years ago, saw as almost impossible?

I started to train specifically for this race in the beginning of January this year. At first, I wasn’t moving forward in the pace that I wanted too, and in the middle of April I decided to take help from Fernando and try his type of training method.

Since I started with Fernando’s method, I’ve been moving forward each month and I set new records all the time in my training watch. I’ve also done very well in all my races this year compared to last year.

I did my first Skyrace at Madeira in June, which was fantastic. I did Kia Fjällmarathon 43k, 2100 D+ in Sweden one hour better than last year. Finally, I reach my main goal of the year just to make it through Bydalens Fjällmarathon 50k, 2900 D+ in Sweden. To my biggest surprise I did more than well. I did it in 8:54 (compared to winner Jennifer Asp 6:06), which I’m very happy with. The race was a pleasure all the way through and I got no injuries or pain.

Training methodology

I was talking to lots of runners in the race how they train, and I’ve also seen this type of discussions in the race group. Many runners compare number of kilometres that they have done, which is not interesting for me at all. Why? Because my training program is made for me individually and includes a great variety of training with focus on my weaknesses.

One week of training has normally looked like this.

  • 1 session functional training in the gym (mobility, strength, flex), 1 hour
  • 1 session running pace changes (with very high pulse) + stretch, 1 hour
  • 1 session basic gym training to build strength, 1 hour
  • 1 easy run + stretch, 1 hour
  • 1 long run (Trail or hillwork) + stretch, 2 hours,
  • Sometimes an extra cross training session for example mountain bike (1-2 hours)

During the weeks in the mountains I have off course been training more mountain running and more hours, but my average week has been about 6-8 hours effective training, which is not that much considering the race distances that I do.

My conclusion is that I get better effect of my training in fewer hours than many other runners get in more hours doing more running, focusing of number of kilometres. What I can see, they also get more injuries and problems (hurting knees etc).

This last race my recovery time was also shorter. So, I’m getting there 🙂

When I entered the finish line in Bydalen I was so happy and the first thing that came to my mind was. I just love this sport! I want more! This is not my limit!

Check out the video from the race!

My dreams for the future

Reaching a goal is not the end of a journey. It’s the beginning of a new journey!

I’m dreaming of a Skyrunner lifestyle, I like to experience more challenging races and I want to run faster.

When I get there myself, I also like to help others.

I believe that anyone can do it and I like more people to discover the beauty of Skyrunning. I like to inspire people all over the world to reach their dreams and run faster.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka

Facts

Name: Katinka Nyberg

Nationality: Swedish

Age: 45

Family: My husband Fredrik and my twins Tom & Matilda 8 years

Country/town: Stockholm, Sweden

Your team or sponsor now: SkyRunner

Occupation: Founder SkyRunner

Background: Entrepreneur in IT

Education: Backelor of science, IT

Facebook page personal: https://www.facebook.com/katinkakvist

Facebook page: hhttps://www.facebook.com/skyrunner.nu

Facebook group: SkyRunner Adventurers https://www.facebook.com/groups/320548848596214/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skyrunner.nu/

Webpage / Blog: https://skyrunner.nu/

Buff – Bydalens Fjällmaraton 2019 race experience

Buff Bydalens Fjällmaraton 50k, 2900 D+ is so far the hardest, the most spectatular and the most outstanding mountain marathon I have ever run.

The race wasn’t by definition named as a Sky race. But I would. The outstanding mountainous sceneries, the steep climbs and the technical descents were really something.

Check out my race experience in video format…

Races summary

With such dramatic and spectacular scenery, Bydalsfjällen is a remarkable event. The race was also very small and familiarly and all the runners were socialising having a really good time during the race.

The race was amazing all the way through and definitely a race that I would recommend to Skyrunners all over the world.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka

 

My Mountain Marathon Training Online Program – Week 16

Only a couple of days left to Bydalens Fjällmaraton 50k, 2900 D+, the 24 of August 2019. My greatest sports challenge in life so far.

I just love challenges and I like to believe that anything that I want to do is possible. Bydalens Fjällmaraton 50k, 2900 D+ is a race that I’ve been dreaming about doing for many years now, and now it’s the time.

When I started training specifically for this race eight months ago, I wasn’t even close, but now I am. I’ve been training a lot and this time I’m well prepared. I’ve been following the program online that my personal trainer Fernando from Spain made for me, and it has been working out very well.

This last week before the race I’ve just been doing some easy training and pace changes, just to get some speed. I’ve also been doing some mountaineering checking out parts of the routes of the race.

Check out the video!

If you like to see the whole training program from week 1 start here.

My Mountain Marathon Training Online Program – Week 1

This is week 16 of my online training with Fernando…

Training week 16

14 August – 20 August…

Wednesday

Walking

Total time: 60 minutes

Thursday

Easy run

Easy run 25-30 minutes: Choose a pace you can keep easy.

Short progressions: running 50-60 meters beginning slow and ending fast and light

Total time: 40 minutes

Stretch

Total time: 20 minutes

Friday

Pace changes

  1. Warm up
    10 min @ 5 RPE

  2. Active
    1 min @ 8 RPE

  3. Recovery
    1 min @ 6 RPE

  4. Active
    2 min @ 8 RPE

  5. Recovery
    2 min @ 6 RPE

  6. Active
    3 min @ 8 RPE

  7. Recovery
    3 min @ 6 RPE

  8. Active
    1 min @ 8 RPE

  9. Recovery
    1 min @ 6 RPE

  10. Active
    2 min @ 8 RPE

  11. Recovery
    2 min @ 6 RPE

  12. Active
    3 min @ 8 RPE

  13. Cool Down
    5 min @ 5 RPE

Total time: 40  minutes

Stretch

Total time: 20 minutes

Saturday

Rest day

Sunday

Rest day

Monday

Pace changes

  1. Warm up

    10 min @ 5 RPE
    Easy Warm up and ending with running technical exercises like skipping, lateral running and multijumps

  2. Repeat 3 times

    1. Hard
      45 sec @ 8 RPE

    2. Easy
      1:15 @ 5 RPE

  3. Recovery

    3 min @ 5 RPE

  4. Repeat 3 times

    1. Hard

      45 sec @ 8 RPE

    2. Easy

      1:15 @ 5 RPE

  5. Cool down

    5 min @ 5 RPE

Tuesday

Walking

Total time: 60 minutes

Summary of the week

A boring week with too little training waiting for the race 🙂

Check out week 17!

https://skyrunner.nu/2019/08/31/my-mountain-marathon-training-online-program-week-17-last-post-in-series/

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka

Facts

Name: Katinka Nyberg

Nationality: Swedish

Age: 45

Family: My husband Fredrik and my twins Tom & Matilda 8 years

Country/town: Stockholm, Sweden

Your team or sponsor now: SkyRunner

Occupation: Founder SkyRunner

Background: Entrepreneur in IT

Education: Backelor of science, IT

Facebook page personal: https://www.facebook.com/katinkakvist

Facebook page: hhttps://www.facebook.com/skyrunner.nu

Facebook group: SkyRunner Adventurers https://www.facebook.com/groups/320548848596214/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skyrunner.nu/

Webpage / Blog: https://skyrunner.nu/

Mountain marathon week in Åre, Sweden 2019

Mountain marathon week in Åre has grown into a real running festival with lots of races and activities for both runners, friends and family. The event took place in Åre, Sweden, July 27 – August 3, 2019. 

Åre is a small little cute town located in the north of Sweden, famous for its beautiful nature and varied mountain environment.

It’s almost become a family tradition spending our summer vacation in the mountains of Åre, Sweden, as I like to attend the mountain marathon race “Kia Fjällmaraton, 43 km, 2100D+” in the end of the week.

Here are some of activities that me and my family did together during the week.

View from Åreskutan to Åre lake, Sweden.
View from Åreskutan 1420 m, to Åre lake, Sweden.

Mountaineering at Åreskutan

My daughter Matilda says she wants to become a Skyrunner. So, she loves to come around with me in the mountains doing some easy mountaineering. We also use to bring a lunch pack eating it while enjoying the fantastic scenery together.

Matilda takes a rest in the middle of mountaineering at Åreskutan.
Matilda takes a rest in the middle of mountaineering at Åreskutan.

Running above the clouds

Combining our family vacation with training is for us perfect! Åre offers a great variety of running trails and you can find lots of running routes above tree level.

Katinka Nyberg, training at Åreskutan, Sweden
Katinka Nyberg, training at Åreskutan, Sweden

Hiking in the beautiful nature

Great hiking in Åre for you and your family! We experienced some of the hikes and there is something for everyone. Ullodalen offers very easy hikes and beautiful rivers.

Hiking in Ullodalen, Åre, Sweden
Hiking in Ullodalen, Åre, Sweden

“Ullån” had a temperature around 19 degrees and we spend a whole day here sunbathing. The kids just loved the river and the waterfalls, and it kept them busy for hours.

Sunbathing and playing in Ullån, Åre Sweden
Sunbathing and playing in Ullån, Åre Sweden

Lundhags minimaraton – Kids race

Lundhags minimaraton is a fun race for kids of about 1500 meters located in Edsåsdalen next to Åre.

My kids Tom and Matilda run the race for the third year in a row now and they just love being a part of the mountain marathon week, racing in the same way as their mother do.

Lundhags mini-marathon Edsåsdalen, Åre, Sweden
Lundhags mini-marathon Edsåsdalen, Åre, Sweden
My twins Tom and Matilda Nyberg, Lundhags mini-marathon
My twins Tom and Matilda Nyberg, Lundhags mini-marathon

Välliste runt – Mountain race for families, 13 km, 500 D+

Välliste runt it’s a great mountain race to start with if you are beginner or a “younger family member”. Unfortunately there was about 30 degrees warm this day and it was very hard for Tom and Matilda (my twins) that are only eight years old. A lot harder than they expected actually.

Tom and Matilda Välliste runt first food and drink stop after 5 km.
Tom and Matilda Välliste runt first food and drink stop after 5 km.

After many hours struggling with the heat, the kids being very tired, we finally made it to the Välliste top 9 km, 500D+, as the last, but also the two youngest participants.

Matilda almost made it to the top of Välliste 500 D+.
Matilda almost made it to the top of Välliste 500 D+.

To Mathilda’s biggest disappointment we didn’t make it in time. We were taken of the track and we had to go down in a 4-wheel vehicle the last 4 km downhill to the finish line.

Horseback riding in Ottsjö

Rest days before and after races is perfect for some outdoor family activities!

We experienced horseback riding with Iceland horses in Ottsjö. In a tough and rough mountain environment the horses took us safely both up and down the mountains, and the kids just loved it.

Horseback riding in Ottsjö, view from Hållfjället towards Ottfjället.
Horseback riding in Ottsjö, view from Hållfjället towards Ottfjället.
Horseback riding in Ottsjö, Matilda and Tom downhill from Hållfjället in full speed.
Horseback riding in Ottsjö, Matilda and Tom downhill from Hållfjället in full speed.

Peak Performence Vertical K race

Peak Performance Vertical K is 5 Km, and 1 000 meters in vertical climb from Åre square to “Åreskutan” top. Part of it is so steep, that you have to climb with ropes.

This was my first time doing the race and it was great! I did it in time 1:15 which is quite good, I think.

Finish line Vertical K, On the top of Åreskutan, Sweden
Finish line Vertical K, On the top of Åreskutan, Sweden

Swimming in Åre lake

The weather was quite good this summer, so we did a lot of swimming in Åre lake, just outside our apartment at Holliday Club.

Fredrik, Tom and Matilda enjoying Åre lake.
Fredrik, Tom and Matilda enjoying Åre lake.

Mountainbike in Åre Björnen

Åre Björnen have made some new mountain bike tracks that is a little bit easier than doing the downhill biking from Åreskutan.

Tom doing some mountain biking in Åre Björnen.
Tom doing some mountain biking in Åre Björnen.

Indoor activities

In the evening or if it is bad weather there are also some nice things to do in Åre. At Holliday Club they have an inhouse Swimming pool area, restaurants, Kids lab, bowling and pool. Kids lab is by the way a great place for the kids to hang out while I’m doing my daily training 🙂

Here we are at O’learys playing some pool.

Matilda and Tom at O'learys playing pool.
Matilda and Tom at O’learys playing pool.

“Kia fjällmaraton 43 Km, Åre”

Finally, the best part of the week, “Kia fjällmaraton Åre”. A mountain marathon race of 43 km, 2100 vertical meters.

The conditions this year were quite good, and the trail wasn’t that muddy as the year 2017, if anyone remembers that. 🙂

This time I was also so much more prepared than the year before, and I knew what it was all about. I started to train more seriously in January this year, and I also took some help from a trainer in Spain from the middle of April. If you like you can follow my training program here https://skyrunner.nu/2019/05/07/my-mountain-marathon-training-online-program-week-1/.

Kia Fjällmaraton,, Hållfjället.
Kia Fjällmaraton,, Hållfjället.
Katinka Nyberg "Kia Fjällmaraton" finishline in Trillevallen.
Katinka Nyberg “Kia Fjällmaraton” finishline in Trillevallen.

The race was great, and it went quite well. I almost accomplished my goal and finished the race at 6:48 (which was an hour better than the year before).

Now it’s just to recharge till the next race, “Bydalens Fjällmarathon” 50km, 2900 D+, the 24 of August, which will be my greatest challenge ever.

Summary of the week

It was a great week and I will definitely recommend other Skyrunners and their families to come here and enjoy the beautiful Swedish mountains.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka Nyberg

 

My Mountain Marathon Training Online Program – Week 15

This week has been mostly about rest and recovery from “Kia Fjällmaraton”. Just taking it easy doing some peaceful mountaineering in Åre, Sweden.

I’ve just had three fantastic weeks in Åre training, racing and mountaineering together with my family enjoying the beautiful mountain environment.

Even though I’ve always had some problems with my recovery time from hard races, I wanted to enjoy this last week as much as possible. So, I decided to do some nice mountaineering.

Last year it took me one month to recover from “Kia Fjällmaraton”, and I really hope that I have shortened my recovery-time since then (as I’m better prepared and trained this year).

My next challenge is “Buff – Bydalens Fjällmaraton” 50km, 2900 D+ in the 24 of August, and I really need to be 100% recovered till then.

So, a recovery time of one month as last year is not really an option. 🙂

Katinka Nyberg - Mountaineering, Östra leden Åre, Sweden.
Katinka Nyberg – Mountaineering, Östra leden Åre, Sweden.
Östra leden Åre Sweden
Östra leden Åre Sweden

If you like to see the whole training program from week 1 start here.

My Mountain Marathon Training Online Program – Week 1

This is week 15 of my online training with Fernando…

Training week 15

7 Aug – 13 August…

Wednesday

Rest day

I still feel tired from the race this Saturday (4 days ago) and my body is not recovered yet. The resting pulse zone is also a little bit too high. About 56 instead of 49.

Thursday

Mountaineering/Trailrunning – Uphill 1000 D+

Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Friday

Mountaineering/Trailrunning – Downhill 1000 D+

Total time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Saturday

Rest day

Rest day and travel back home to Stockholm.

Sunday

Rest day

Monday

Rest day

Tuesday

Functional training with PT

Focus on shoulder mobility/strength, scapula mobility/strength as these are problem areas of mine. Also working on the combination body/legs/feet doing squats up on toes.

By the way. My PT Ulrika says that my feet have been a lot stronger after 3 weeks of mountain training.

Check out some of the exercises shown by my local personal trainer Ulrika Andersson. Focus on feet mobility/strength and shoulders/arms mobility.

Summary of the week

A great week that was mostly about rest and recovery. Only one-hour effective training plus some nice mountaineering.

I’m not 100 % recovered yet from “Kia Fjällmaraton” but I hope that I will recover just in time tilI my next and also greatest challenge so far, “Buff – Bydalens Fjällmaraton” 50km, 2900 D+ in the 24 of August.

Check out week 16!

https://skyrunner.nu/2019/08/23/my-mountain-marathon-training-online-program-week-16/

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka

Facts

Name: Katinka Nyberg

Nationality: Swedish

Age: 45

Family: My husband Fredrik and my twins Tom & Matilda 8 years

Country/town: Stockholm, Sweden

Your team or sponsor now: SkyRunner

Occupation: Founder SkyRunner

Background: Entrepreneur in IT

Education: Backelor of science, IT

Facebook page personal: https://www.facebook.com/katinkakvist

Facebook page: hhttps://www.facebook.com/skyrunner.nu

Facebook group: SkyRunner Adventurers https://www.facebook.com/groups/320548848596214/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skyrunner.nu/

Webpage / Blog: https://skyrunner.nu/

To become a true Skyrunner you need to find your inner motivation

You need to accept Skyrunning as a lifestyle. You love the mountains; you never give up and for you all the hard training is part of the game.

Rok is only 25-year-old and already one of the top Skyrunners in the world. He loves everything about Skyrunning and he is a true role model for the “new generation of Skyrunners”.

He started his Skyrunning career in 2016 and today he is one of the most promising Skyrunners in the world. This year he accomplished a 3rd place in Skyrace des Matheysins, a 3rd place Skyrace Comapedrosa, a 1st place in the Internaltional Skyrace Carnia and finally the winner of the month in the Skýrunner Challenge 2019 (hosted by a Skyrunner Adventurers, a new Facebook group for Skyrunner lovers).

Rok has always gone his own way and earlier in life Rok dreamt about being a professional cyclist. But something happened.

Year 2013 Rok was involved in a serious cycling accident, he lost his consciousness and woke up in Ljubljana hospital.

After the accident, he put his bike aside, put on his running shoes and changed sport. Maybe this was his destiny that lead led him first into mountain running and now, Skyrunning.

This is Rok’s story…

Rok Bratina third place on the Skyrunner World series in Andorra.
Rok Bratina third place on the Skyrunner World series in Andorra.

Who is Rok and your story behind?

I’m a 25-year old mountain lover from Slovenia that grew up in small town in the western part of the country, very close to Italian border.

During my primary school years, I was never the one who stood out from the crowd. Neither for my mostly average school grades nor for my talent in sports. I tried athletics and football during that time, but I wasn’t particularly good at it.

However, I always loved to watch different sports on television, like skiing, ski jumping, football and cycling. It was Le Tour de France that influenced my future the most.

During my high school years, I started to train bicycling more seriously and as my hometown was surrounded by the mountains I mostly trained uphill and downhill.

The more hours I spent, the more confident I got.

My dream become to once be a part of Le Tour de France. As a climber I didn’t think about the yellow jersey for the best cyclist overall. Not at all. Instead I preferred to wear polka dot jersey, designed for the best climber.

However. My dreams collapsed in 2013, when I suffered a very serious bicycle accident on a race. After that I found my new way of life, running in the mountains.

However, polka dot jersey is still in my mind and heart and this is still my inspiration to become the best climber possible. If not on a bike, I will do it with a pair of shoes on my feet.

Can you describe yourself with two sentences?

I define myself as a Skyrunner. Running fast and light in the mountains is what perfectly describes my personality, my identity.

What is most important for you in life?

The most important in my life is motivation and endurance. From the moment you find your way it is important to follow it. Being motivated on a daily basis is a must if you want to go further.

From motivation then comes hard work attitude by which you can achieve amazing, unbelievable things. Here comes endurance, an important part of the game. With endurance I mean, that you are capable to endure different difficult situations that might appear while you are moving forward.

Your passion for Skyrunning? Where is that coming from?

Before I heard about Skyrunning as a special discipline, I already practiced the sport more or less.

In 2013, for example, I managed to take 6th place in the European junior championship in Borovets, Bulgaria, just minutes after the podium. Already being a part of Salomon Running Slovenia, having good international results, still under 20, with good social media presence were the keys to one day getting a call from Salomon Running’s International team.

In 2015, I was invited to Salomon’s Junior Academy for the top 16 young athletes from all over the world. The academy was located in picturesque Limone sul Garda where I actually first heard about Skyrunning and its type of lifestyle. I immediately fell in love with the sport and after a week of training and workshops with names like Emelie Forsberg, Kasie Enman, Anna Frost and Jonathan Wyatt, I found my own way.

For me, Skyrunning means running freely in the mountains without rules. It’s more than an extreme sport, and for me it’s a lifestyle.

Rok Bratina Skyrace des Matheysins
Rok Bratina Skyrace des Matheysins

Can you describe your significant personal strengths that took you all the way to this level of Skyrunning?

I have a very good self-confidence, I always put myself first and I think it’s important to always treat yourself in the very best possible way.

I prefer to go my own way. I do not listen to advices from others and I don’t care too much of what people might think or say. Sure, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I hit the wall several times, but I also see that as part of the journey and game.

No one believed in me when I chose Skyrunning, which in my country is still not recognized as a sport. But that doesn’t mean I will give up. No, I will continue on my own and I will continue to fight and dream big.

When I speak from my heart, all I have achieved so far is the result of my own work.

I have no personal trainer. No, because only me can follow my dreams. That doesn’t mean that I don’t trust people. Obviously not. I just want to say that this is my personal opinion.

I am the only one who is aware of my own personality and inner motivation. The only one who knows the answer to a question, “why am I doing all this?”

Is Skyrunning a hobby or is it something you do for a living?

It is not my hobby, nor my job. Skyrunning is my lifestyle and everything is spinning around this sport.

However, I have a dream that one day it will also become something that I will get paid for.

Currently I am just finishing my master’s thesis from management, I already graduated from history, so this winter will be a super interesting period of time. Even the season will be finished.

When the season is over, I will probably go searching for a regular job. As I live just in the presence, I don’t really care about that now, because I am totally focused on my trainings, races and my master thesis.

However, it is in my mind and I am ready to take the next step.

Have you always had this type of lifestyle or have you done any change direction in life that you like to mention?

Generally speaking, the people who I was surrounded by during my childhood (friends, schoolmates, family, acquaintances) have always described me as a big dreamer, whose imaginations don’t belong in real life.

I was told that rather than dreaming I should keep both of my feet on the ground and do things in the same way as “ordinary people” do.

Being different in those times was very difficult. No one really understood my desire to do something big in life.

My introduction to sports were in primary school. Here I tried some athletics and football. However, training with others following the instructions from the coach was not really what I wanted to do. I did never really fit into the crowd and I was there just because my friends and schoolmates were.

If I look it back now, I would say that I was still in the search of my own way, unaware of how the near future would be like.

In high school I tried road cycling. With every single training I did, I was getting more confident. For the first time in my life I was doing it on my own.

I trained alone, spending hours and hours on local roads around my hometown. As Tolmin is surrounded with the mountains, I trained more or less just uphill. I was getting stronger and lighter, and In my first races I did I prove that I was a born climber.

After that I did some good results in uphill races, I got in contact with cycling team Sloga 1902 from Idrija. I was impressed and took everything so serious like I would already know that I will participate on Le Tour de France. I can’t really forget to mention this race, because it is still great inspiration for me.

But then it happened.

It was my first race in the season, with a brand-new bike. I was in a fantastic shape. I followed the leading group of 15 cyclists, but in one moment I fell over the bike and hit the ground. My helmet was broken, as well as my wrist. Moreover, I lost my consciousness and woke up in Ljubljana hospital.

The accident happened in spring, 2013. After that injury I put on my shoes and changed the sport. Maybe it was my destiny that lead me first through mountain running scene and now in Skyrunning. Not maybe, I really believe something is above me, taking care of my life while driving it through numerous obstacles that may appear.

But I am sure without all these experiences I would never have found my way, my passion for Skyrunning. Everything happens for a reason!

Which is the most challenging and demanding situations that you been through to get you where you are today as a person?

Here I have to mention again my bike accident in 2013 that completely changed my life. Until that moment I was easy going young boy with big dreams. After the fall, I felt like I was born again. I came home from hospital motivated as never before. I already had in my mind that the destiny gave me another chance to finally find my way.

From shy boy who was always afraid of expressing his personal opinions, always hidden in the crowd and flexible to the interest of other people, I transformed into a lion, who is doing it by his own, who knows what is the best for his own interests and will do everything to achieve them. Who doesn’t care of what other people might think. Why should he, if he is the only one who is following his chosen way.

Do you usually push yourself outside your comfort zone? How does it feel at the time? Can you see that the rewards coming out of this is worth this little extra effort?

Yeah, quite a lot. I mean, it’s just when you push yourself in the red zone you realize that you are alive and it feels like that moment seems to last forever.

It’s just like one of those moments after a workout, when I always feel better. I’m more confident and any kind of problem seems to be solvable.

How does your race plans and goals look like for 2019?

I am totally focused on the Skyrunning World Series and I don’t care about any other races or competitions. I even don’t find motivation to participate in other events. Speaking about goals, hm, actually I don’t have goals. I always go step by step, day by day and do it the best possible way.

If you have goals, once you achieve them the story is over, and you have to look for a new challenge. However, I have a way that I follow. It is all about being better than yesterday. To become the best version of myself is what pushes me forward, what really motivates me.

Of course, I love competitions. So, like I wrote above, fighting for the top positions in the Skyrunner World Series is what’s in my plan for this season. 

How does a normal week with training and all that look like for you right now? 

I am a 24/7 athlete. I train every day without rest. Of course, I don’t run every single day, then I would start to get bored. As a previous cyclist I like doing combination with my bike. I think it is perfect for me and I love changing sport in that way.

I normally get up at 4 a.m., eat breakfast, check e-mails, writing master thesis, and then spend 3-4 hours in the mountains. After I come back home, I prepare lunch, rest 1 h, do some social media stuff and then I have to go on work.

From 12 pm I have to be at the tourist information centre, where I work this summer. Then I get back home at around 9 p.m. and immediately fall asleep.

Let's go to work! Training and working is the two things that I love the most in life!
Let’s go to work! Training and working is the two things that I love the most in life!

Which are your best training tips to other Skyrunners all over the world?

I strongly recommend everyone to do what you feel it’s the best way for you. What suits me might not suit you, so you should be careful when trying to copy other athletes.

My tip for you is just to enjoy the mountains, accept their love, feel free and run without worries. If you will do like that, you will forget how many hours you already did, how many kilometres are behind and how many vertical meters you managed to do.

Everything is about the moment. Try not to look on your watch and imagine yourself like you are a true part of the nature. An animal who is running like humans did in the past, quiet and free.

Which are your favourite races that you would recommend to other Skyrunners all over the world?

I like races that include steep uphills, technical downhills and are long enough so that you can still push yourself all the way to the finish line. I also love to participate in the races that are located in spectacular environment, not to mention the fans that make all stuff like a party in the mountains.

Thinking about all what I mentioned above, Limone Skyrunning Extreme and Zegama are the first two races that come to my mind. Also, because I have already experienced both of them. Limone has special place in my heart just because it was my first experience with Skyrunning. When we talk about Zegama then we cannot forget to mention all those crazy fans who are pushing screaming on you while climbing from Sancti Spiritu on the top of Aizzkori.

Of course, I would like to feel how it is running Olympus Marathon. As the historian Greek mythology always fascinated me, I get goose bumps just by thinking about climbing on Mt. Olympus, the palace of Gods.

For all lovers of long Skyraces, I would consider Transvulcania or maybe just book a flight ticket to the Madeira island, where Madeira Skyrace is taking place. I haven’t tried it yet, but I was on Madeira on a holiday three years ago and I fell in love with its landscape.

Do you have any dreams and goals for the future that you like to share?

As I wrote, no goals for me. I just want to follow my way, doing my best every day, working on my endurance and trying to become the best version of myself. If that means I will become the best Skyrunner in the world? Okay, I accept that.

How does your game plan look like for that?

Well, it is not really a plan. It is hard to make plans for something that can change in a moment. For example, it is impossible to predict weather for the next month, how we can predict our future? We can’t. Everything comes from present. Even if I know my way, I don’t know what is waiting for me. What is around the next corner?

Being patient and capable to adjust to different situations are the keys to success.

What is your inner drive?

I want to be the best possible version of myself!

What I achieved yesterday is just history. I try to live in the present and my focus is always to do better and faster next time. Never being satisfied is my inner drive which I wake up with every morning.

When you are satisfied you accept your boundaries and frankly, it is the same as giving up.

I don’t want to be a person that gives up. For me, there are no limits. I mean, the universe is infinite, while the boundaries are limited only in our minds.

What is your advice to other people that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains as good as you?

First you have to find your inner motivation. You should ask yourself why you want to be as good as me? Isn’t that approach wrong? Why you don’t want to be better than me?  I think you always have to be in your mind the best. Just with this approach you can exceed all your inner barriers.

Never stop believing is my personal advice to anyone of you. Don’t ever think about quitting. Because once you quit, you have to start all over from the beginning. Here it comes lifestyle.

If you accept Skyrunning as a lifestyle, you should never think about of giving up. Why? Because you love mountains and you don’t see hard training like a mandatory thing. Instead, you see it like a game, where you are playing the main role. 

Sometimes, during my long trainings, while I have a time for thinking about different things, I pretend myself to be a hero of my own story.
Sometimes, during my long trainings, while I have a time for thinking about different things, I take a picture and I pretend myself to be a hero of my own story.

Do you have anything else in your life that you like to share or talk about in the blog?

Well, I would just like to exploit this space inviting everyone to follow my social media accounts (see below). I will try to do my best to present my lifestyle, publishing news, writing race reports and of course uploading some pics and videos.

P.S. You can remember me as a polka dot Skyrunner. This kit from Tour de France that is given to the best climber has always had a special meaning to me.

If I had to choose a place where my body would be buried, then I would choose exactly this one by the lake, behind which the great crown rises from the background.
if I had to choose a place where my body would be buried, then I would choose exactly this one by the lake, behind which the great crown rises from the background.

Facts

Name: Rok Bratina

Nationality:  Slovenian

Age: 25

Family:  Single

Country/town: Tolmin / Slovenia

Your team or sponsor now: Scott Running

Occupation: Master student

Education: Graduate hisotorian

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rokibratina/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rokiskyrunner/

Webpage / Blog: https://bratinarok.blogspot.com/

Thank you!

Thank you, Rok, for taking your time sharing your amazing story! Very inspiring!

Wishing you all the best luck in the future with your Skyrunning and everything that you want to do in life.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka Nyberg

 

Everything is possible, the impossible just takes a little more time

She was born with a significantly reduced lung capacity and against all odds she is now one of the top Ultra/Skyrunners in Serbia.

Snezana is a 29-year-old very energetic young woman that lives and train in a small mountain village in Serbia called Kragujevac.

Life hasn’t forsure always been easy as she was born with a very bad diagnosis of asthma. The doctors advised her not to exert too much physical activity and she was told to take it easy.

Instead, she did the opposite and started to train.

Today Snezana is one of the top Ultra/Skyrunners in Serbia and the frontrunner of the Asics team. In 2018 she was the winner of Trekking League of Serbia and the winner of three Skyrunning races. This year she’s already won two Skyraces, participated in the RedBull 400 race, a third place in Half Ironman race in Montenegro, a first place in Ultra Trail Staraplanina and finally the winner of the month in the Skýrunner Challenge 2019 (hosted by a Skyrunner Adventurers, a new Facebook group for Skyrunner lovers).

This is Snezana’s story…

Congrats Snezana for being the winner of the race Ultra Trail Staraplanina, 57km, 2450 D+! Can you tell us a little about the race and your experiences from that?

This race was my first ultra and I prepared it together with my personal trainer Marko. The mountains in which the race was hold, I think are one of the most beautiful in Serbia.

The weather was a bit cooler, which is not so bad for me personally. The only thing that bothered was the fog. All in all, this was a very nice experience for me. Nice mountains, a whole new experience, I managed to run the entire race and win.

Who is Snezana and your story behind?

In the first place I am a dancer and I’m a part of our national dance, which is my greatest love. I’ve been dancing since I was seven years old and at the same time, I also started running in order to solve breathing problems. Soon I loved it.

When I was three years old, I started to experience serious breathing problems. The diagnosis were asthma and my breathing capacity was significantly reduced. The situation was so bad that I had to be picked up by the ambulance almost every night.

The doctors gave me lots of medications and I was told not to do anything physically strenuous.

When I was seven years old, I came to see a physiotherapist, who unlike the doctors advised me to start training and practicing sports as part of the treatment.

He told me that my lung alveoli were damaged and that it needed to develop, and that I needed to start training my lung.

So, I started dancing at first and then running later. Running went slowly, only later when I grew up and started to deal with it more seriously, everything started to change.

I love the mountains, so it was logical for me to start with mountain running. The mountains inspire me, motivates me and give me special energy. Ever since I was a child when my grandmother took me for a walk in the mountains to cure my lungs I started to love and respect the mountain.

Can you describe yourself with two sentences?

The dancing made me disciplined and positive. Dance and running made me healthy.

I’m an energetic girl, I have people around me that I love and I’m happy!

What is most important for you in life?

In the first place it’s always family and the people that I love. And of course, to be positive.

Your passion for Skyrunning? Where is that coming from?

I started to participate in mountain racing three years ago. In the beginning, they were some slightly easier races, shorter distance and with a little climb. As time passed, I trained more and naturally I started for more serious races. My luck is that I have people around me who love the same thing, so that we can train and enjoy together.

I fell in love with the mountains and the challenges, and Skyrunning races are always a challenge so…I must do that!

Can you describe your significant personal strengths that took you all the way to this level of running?

I think the dancing plays an important part and there for my joints and ligaments are strong.

For several years now I am paying a lot of attention to the stabilization of muscles and a strong core. The power of will is also very important and of course, my coach is very strong, so I have to listen.

Is Skyrunning a hobby or is it something you do for a living?

I work as a physiotherapist. Skyrunning is more like my hobby, but it would be interesting to do something about it. Medicine and sports are connected.

Which is the most challenging and demanding situations that you been through to get you where you are today as a person?

The most demanding and hard situation for me in life is as I told you earlier when my doctors told me that I should not do anything hard. Another person very smart told me the opposite. That I needed to start developing my lungs.

I started to do that and here is where I am now. Of course, it was difficult in the beginning. There were cravings and my lungs did not have enough capacity.

But I did not want to give up!

Instead, all this strengthened me as a person.

In any case, if someone had told me when I was a kid that I would run this many kilometre I would not believe him. But thanks to the man who treated me and now my coach, I made it.

Everything is possible, the impossible just takes a little more time…

Do you usually push yourself outside your comfort zone? How does it feel at the time? Can you see that the rewards coming out of this is worth this little extra effort?

Leaving the zone of comfort also strengthens you as a person. Feel when you do something for what you thought you cannot…well that be incredible.

How does your race plans and goals look like for 2019?

I had 13 races already, half the season is over. Now the second half is not easy, but all of these are new challenges. My new love is a biking, so I will also devote time to do that. We will see.

How does a normal week with training and all that look like for you right now? What do you train? How much do you train? Where do you train? Other things you do?

My day begins at 7:00 am and lasts … lasts … until I finish all my obligations.
I have running trainings, power trainings, dance training and now I’m also riding a bicycle.

I have to go to work too, so the organization is important to me!

Because of my breathing problems my training program has always been designed specifically for me. My trainer had a similar problem, so he knew exactly what to do with me. Running 5 or 6 times a week, strength training 3 or 4 times a week, dancing 3 times a week. The bike was recently inserted into the program, so we’ll see.

Off course the pulse zone method is also an important part of my training. I use a Suunto that has a heart rate bar and measures the pulse at each workout. We do everything in training. Running at low pulse, at high pulse, short stretches, long distances, highs.

My lungs respond to a sudden change in time so in those moments we work with less intensity. The altitude of the city where I live is 173 meters and I go to races where the altitude is much higher, so I have to get used to that.

Which are your best training tips to other Skyrunners all over the world?

I cannot decide. I think they all have something characteristic. I would like to learn from the best.  

Which are your favourite races that you would recommend to other Skyrunners all over the world?

Lavaredo ultra trail, Ultra trail du Mont Blanc, Cappadocia ultra trail, every trail in the world J! Trail races in Serbia of course!

Are you involved in any other types of running-projects that you like to talk about (ambassador / entrepreneur etc)?

I am ambassador of the Asics team in Serbia, Asics frontrunner project.

Do you have any dreams and goals for the future that you like to share?

I would like to go to some of the world’s races to feel the atmosphere and see the mountains of other countries and to hear the experiences of world participants.

How does your game plan look like for that?

I hope that I will collect enough points for some of the races and I will train for more miraculous.

What is your inner drive?

A healthy body, healthy mind and positive vibes are important to me.

What is your advice to other people that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains as good as you?

I advise you to get started. Go out into nature, climb to the top, and first of all consider yourself and nature, train for the beginning as much as you like.

Ask for advices from people who are skilled, wear shoes and go!

People! Do what you love and keep smiling!

Do you have anything else in your life that you like to share or talk about in the blog?

I like to share with all my gratitude to my trainer Marko for everything he has done for me.

Thank you 🙂

Facts

Name: Snezana Djuric

Nationality: Republic of Serbia

 Age:  29

Family: Parents, brother, sister and grandmother

Country/town:  Serbia, Kragujevac

Your team or sponsor now: I am in Asics frontrunner team and
Club of extreme sports Kragujevac

Occupation: Physiotherapist

Education: Medical college

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/snezana.djuric.397

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/djsnezaa/

Thank you!

Thank you, Snezana, for taking your time sharing your fantastic story! Wishing you all the best luck in the future with your Skyrunning and everything that you want to do.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka Nyberg

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