Becoming a pro is not easy

When looking at the fastest runners in the world, you might think it’s easy for them. Well, it’s not. They just go with a greater speed.

In this series of blog posts, you can follow Snezana and take part of her very exciting journey together with team SkyRunner, going from amateur to a professional Skyrunner.

This week you can read more about Snezanas race plans for the year, and how she is training and preparing for thoese races.

Blog by Snezana Djuric and a continuation of the story…

From amateur to professional

First place for me at a local Trail race here in Serbia, SuperKup
First place for me at a local Trail race here in Serbia, SuperKup

Work, order and discipline

This year started off just right. Katinka, Fernando and I made a deal, sign a contract and work together to advance our entire team, and of course, my development process.

I started with one local race in the beginning of March here in my city, which I won :-).

This is what will happen next…

My race plans

This year I have more international races than I had last year.

The next race is the vertical kilometre in Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 14th. This week training sessions are focused specifically on this race. I worked a little more short and strong intervals, also intervals on the hill and try to accustom the body, especially the lower back to a strong climb. strength exercises are also a very important part of everything.

This is a photo of me and my friend Vladimir Potric from last year, Trebinje vertical kilometer race in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This is a photo of me and my friend Vladimir Potric from last year, Trebinje vertical kilometre race in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The next race is in March 28 in Macedonia. The race is 28k and 1800 D +. This race is in a very nice mountainous area, passing the canyon of the river.

After that, there will be a focus on training in April. On April 27, we go to Spain where we have a Skyrunner training camp. This is an open camp where we invite Skyrunners from all over the world to join us!!

This is where we are going to training camp. Valle de Tena, Spain.
This is where we are going to training camp. Valle de Tena, Spain.

This month it will be spring preparations for everything that awaits me after that.

In May, I have one short race on May 9th. It is a race in Serbia, in the beautiful canyon of the Jerma River. After that, on May 17th, we will go to the half ironman race in Montenegro. I will not do the whole race, but will probably do the relay race where I will run 21k. I will use this period in Montenegro for training because there are beautiful mountains there.

Now, June. In June, I have two really important races. The first is on Ultra-trail Stara Planina in Serbia, where the whole Skyrunner team will be. I’ll do the Skyrace Dupljak 34k 2300 D +. The race is very technically demanding, has strong ups and downs.

I will go there together with team SkyRunner as a host and we are also welcoming you to join us on our Race trip to Ultra-trail Stara Planina.

Ultra-trail Stara Planina in Serbia.
Ultra-trail Stara Planina in Serbia.

The second race is very important for me this year, I want to prepare for it as best I can. It is the Lavaredo cortina trail where I will do the 48k 2600 D + race.

And finally, in July, we’re going to Sweden for the Two Weeks Marathon! I’ll do 3 races there. 27k, vertical kilometre and 43k. Hope this will be a very nice visit to Sweden, I’ve never been there before. Katinka will be our host during these two weeks and we will do our best to do our best for all of you J.

I will go there together with team SkyRunner as a host and we are also welcoming you to join us on our Race trip to Swedish Mountain Marathon Weeks.

Swedish mountain marathon week, Kia Fjällmaraton 43k, 2100 D+.
Swedish mountain marathon week, Kia Fjällmaraton 43k, 2100 D+.

August is reserved for the Valle de Tena race in Spain. This will hurt: D! The 43k race with 3600 D +, very technical demanding. It will be tiring and interesting. But we will do it! No giving up: D! I hope to be able to accompany the fantastic runners from Spain, we all know that this sport is their strong point :).

I will go there together with team SkyRunner as a host and we are also welcoming you to join us on our Race trip to Valle de Tena.

Fernando my Skyrunning trainer at Trail Valle de Tena, Spain.
Fernando my Skyrunning trainer at Trail Valle de Tena, Spain.

For the end of this fantastic year, of course the Golden trail series and the Ring of Steal race.  Let’s go as a team to compete, enjoy and socialize. To meet the mountains in Scotland and the people there. Skyrunning is really connecting people:). It will be an honour to participate in one such race!

I will go there together with team SkyRunner as a host and we are also welcoming you to join us on our Race trip to Ring of Steal Skyrace.

Ryan Scott at Ring of Steal Skyrace.
Ryan Scott at Ring of Steal Skyrace.

Maybe I’ll do some more racing in Serbia with a little less intensity, as preparation for all these fantastic races.

So, how do I prepare for all thoese races? Check out my training plan for the year…

My training plan

Our plan now is to get myself better prepared for all these races. We have to work smart and gradually, nothing is achieved overnight. I don’t have an athletic base like many people have. I have coaches besides me, support and professional people who look after me and tell me what to do. A very important year is ahead of me and there are many challenges.

I have workouts every day, sometimes 2, sometimes 3 when strength training is included. It all depends on the training concept. My body is still getting used to this kind of intensity, so I have to take a lot of care and recovery. I believe that with my will, my work and the people around me, everything will be very good.

You have to trust the people you work with, that’s important. Fernando will follow my work throughout these months and give his opinions and suggestions. He has experience with Skyrunners and that means a lot to me.

Surely you all have situations where you are having a hard time, something is not working out and you don’t know what to do. I have gone through those stages, and now I see how much easier it is when you have a trainer who thinks for you and you do what he says.

The change of my training

The whole course of my running and moving was kind of spontaneous. Thus, over time, trainings have changed, more precisely the concepts of training and intensity.

It used to be one run a day and strength training 3 times a week. Now that has changed. Of course, my training is much more intense and frequent.

Now, I run mostly 2 times a day. Except for when I work long distance, then I have only that workout in that day. When I run 2 times it will of course be one low intensity workout and the other will be interval training.

3 times a week I have training with an athletics trainer. The rest of the day is training on other terrains. With more or less uphill, downhill, hill intervals or long distances. I must have one day off, for example one in 10 days.

Training on the athlethics tracks.
Training on the athlethics tracks.

One example week of my training

Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have training with an athletic trainer consisting of warm up 2-3 kilometres, athletic exercises, the main part of the training and a slight short run after. The main part of the training involves intervals at high pulse. These are intervals of 1200 meters, 1000 meters, 800 meters, 600 meters, 400 meters, 200 meters, 100 meters … The repetition depends on the training concept and what the coach says. For example, it would be 1 x 1000, 2x 800, 3×600, 4x 400.5 x 200 meters. After that, there is a slight short run and stretch. During that day if I was doing another run, it would be a light 6-10 kilometre run in the second part of the day. Either that, or I do strength training.

When I do trail running, these are of course different workouts. Long climbs, steep climbs, also steep slopes. Or, for example, short and strong uphill, so I repeat it several times. The intervals on the hill are also very important.

For long distances, it is between 20 and 30 kilometres, depending on the terrain and the need. We have one 4.7-kilometre lap where we usually run in the preparation period and always on Sundays, that is our long-distance day. Of course, we start the first lap slightly, so the intensity increases in each one. We like to say that this circle takes our souls :D.

Some workouts go so easily, and some are so hard that I think I’ll faint.

Trailrunning training close to my home.
Trailrunning training close to my home in Kragujevac.

Working on weaknesses

Each of us have a weak point where we have to put some extra work to make us stronger.

For me, say, the moments when you have a long downhill, you go fast, your feet are stressed … and then it goes straight up the hill. These kinds of transitions are something I have to work on a little more. Likewise, when you have a strong uphill course, you naturally go slower, and then a straight section comes along where it can run fast. That moment until I get to myself is very difficult.

Do you think it’s easy?

All of us, when looking at the world’s fast racing, think it’s easy for them. Well, no, it’s hard for them, they just go at a great speed :).

It’s difficult for everyone at some moments, it’s normal, but it’s a nice feeling when you’re done.

Without pain there are no results, sometimes I think so. The pain goes and goes, it gets hard and it goes, but your results remain, and you remember them, your body remembers them :).

Mountain training, enjoying the beautiful views in Serbia.
Mountain training, enjoying the beautiful views in Serbia.

Get started, train and find a coach for yourself, it’s the best, trust me :).

Let me help you with your training and become one of us! If there is anything you like to ask me please send me an e-mail to Snezana Djuric djsnezaa2@gmail.com.

/Snezana Djuric, Arduua Frontrunner

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