Olga Bagryantseva | Try -Athlete
I don’t think it comes as a surprise to many that the childhood influences of all us, high performing athletes included, start at home. When I talked with Olga Bagryantseva, a professional triathlete, the influence of her family on her career as an endurance athlete came up right away. “Once when I was a child, my father took me with him to run. It was a winter, and there was a lot of snow. So that was funny, me, my dad, my older brother and our dog… And I really loved running since” Olga tells me.
Olga obviously hasn’t just kept to running as a hobby or simply for fitness. She trained with some serious vigor and intensity to become a world class endurance athlete. When speaking about her training regimen and how it has evolved, “To be honest, I started serious training for a marathon and a triathlon only in 2017 when I started training with a coach. Before that I was preparing myself for the races by my own. Very often I trained without rest, as a result I was injured very often and sometimes my body was overtired.”
Having a coach to help train and prepare has had more than just the physical benefits of better performance and less injuries. “The biggest obstacle I’ve overcome was my lack of confidence that I would be able to achieve the goal in the sport. When I was preparing for Berlin marathon 2017, it was a lot of work done, my coach said: ‘Physically you’re ready, the rest is in your head. You must believe that you can!’ And I went on working, not with muscles, but with thoughts in my head. A sports psychologist helped me to cope with that task. You know, the right mindset before starting is so very important. As an athlete, you can be ready physically and weak psychologically. In my opinion 50% of success is psychological preparation.”
Start in Endurance Competitions
“I was in Barcelona In 2013 and I first saw the competition that called Ironman there. I spent all day observing the participants, rooted for each of them and fell in love with triathlon. Since then, the idea of taking part in the triathlon lived in my mind. Now triathlon is more than the competition for me, it is a way of life. Everything has changed for me.”
“If we talk about marathon, everything is simple. I am a stayer, I love to run long distances. Sometimes my friends ask me, What do you thinking about during long runs? It is boring to run 25-30 km! I always answer ” I just love the long run, for me, it is a freedom, and the longer I run, the more I feel free.”
Rewards of the Journey
“For today the most rewarding part of my journey is my personal record in the marathon 3:33:06. While this result is not outstanding yet, my best marathon is yet to come. Speaking about serious results, I think a professional coach is necessary for maximizing your potential.”
Personally, anytime I’ve talked to a triathlete or watched a competition I’m always so curious about the difficulty of swimming in the open water with so many competitors crowded together and swimming so close to one another. So, I had to ask about Olga’s previous swimming experience and her training regimen that led her to being competent and capable enough to compete in a number of high level triathlons.
I asked her was she already a strong swimmer before she decided to take on the challenge of competitive triathlons……
“When I started the preparation for the triathlon, the swimming was my weakest point. I was not a strong swimmer, although I could swim in the pool 2-2.5 km (1.2 -1.5 miles)” Olga tells me. To me, that sounds like a very strong swimmer, but I guess it’s not considered substantial in the triathlon world. So the next questions was how did she work up the endurance and swimming aptitude required to compete then? “When I just started my preparation for first triathlon, I had a plan of training. My coach wrote me it for each new week. Sometimes I had 2 trainings per day. For example, I ran on the track on my first training, and then I swam on the second. I spent a lot of time in the swimming pool working hard on swimming techniques. For example, stroke with just one hand or just legs.”“And despite of hard work in the pool I failed my first start. It was early spring and water was so cold. I began panic in the water because I wasn’t able to breath. I lost the power and swam to the shore in the lifeboat. I finished the competition but without a medal, just for myself. It helped me to understand you must be ready for everything.”
As far as dealing the crowds in the water, the limbs flailing onto your limbs, swimmers swimming over and under other swimmers, etc….
“My coach helped me there. He told me how to behave in the water, which people I need to stay away. The most dangerous are those who are swimming breaststroke. You have to be very careful in the water, often people are floating, not look around, disturbing others, breaking their glasses, tearing the swim caps… Choose the right path, try to keep strong swimmers and swim behind them, so it’s easier than swimming with weak swimmers, they will only hinder you to swim. In my opinion, sailing in the crowd the most important thing to know.”
Benefits of Competition
“The feeling that today you did your best. It means you was training on 100%, or even on 150%. Sometimes, when I see the training schedule for a week (which my coach prepared for me)… I’m scared. Sometimes it’s very difficult to do. But every time, I ended my training I get a great satisfaction from the work I’ve done.”
“First, endurance training and competition are the fighting with yourself. The competitions demand for us to be stronger, endure, and more experienced. Every time when we reach a finish line, we feel pride in ourselves and more motivated to move forward to the next challenge.”
Advice to Beginners
“The most important thing in my opinion is to find an activity that you will love with all your heart. Do not follow fashion trends in sports, listen to yourself, what your inner voice tells you. If you don’t like to run, don’t run, if you don’t like dynamic sports, try yoga, pilates, it’s just your choice.”
“You need to balance between nutrition, exercise, and rest. Don’t forget rest.”
“Any target you choose, loose the weight, growing the muscles, run marathon wouldn’t happened in a week. I want to give the advice for people who just starting their way in sport try to be patient. Work hard on yourself, don’t forget about the rest, believe in your power and you will see the result!”
“Just a positive mindset will bring you great results. Henry Ford once said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” So I always take in my mind these words.”
Keeping it Going
The motion is life, so whatever you do, do not stop halfway, always push forward. Even when it is very difficult and sometimes it seems that you are unable to reach your goal, make a deep breath and move on, only hard work will bring the desired result.