I had the chance to ask Slovakian record holder Kaneenika Janakova a few questions about her training and she kindly sent me her thoughts.
When do you begin to think about your 6 day race in terms of starting training for it?
1. As a matter of fact I usually start thinking about my next race during a race. It is because while running for hours and days I need to keep my mind occupied with something progressive. So I start thinking about my next race in terms of improving my performance and training is one of the very important aspects of this.
I start training as such about 3 months before, adding long runs and building up my mileage.
What is your weekly/monthly training mileage?
2. My weekly mileage during the 3 main months of training is between 55 – 90 miles.
In my current training I have been doing two long runs in a week, preferably two days in a row. So for example one day I run 15 miles and the next day 18 – 20 miles. I had done this before my 2nd 700-mile race in 2002 and it had helped me considerably in my endurance. I improved my performance by 22 hours.
The self-transcendence races have a spiritual philosophy underlying them, what ideas have inspired you and what does aspiration mean to you in terms of running the races?
3. The ideas of faith, determination, will-power, gratitude and self-transcendence as such have inspired me most during running the multiday races. Of course they are all very closely connected and they have been of great help to me to move on in a fixed direction, not in terms of surpassing others, but in terms of surpassing my own previous achievements.
There is another aspect of multiday races that inspires me tremendously: oneness. Oneness among runners, oneness among helpers and all those that are in some way involved in the races. It is that great and fulfilling feeling of oneness which makes me enter the races and keeps me going on.
And what does aspiration mean to me? Aspiration is absolutely necessary not only for my races, but also for my everyday life. I believe that without aspiration I would have had never been involved in ultrarunning or running at all. It is like an inner flame or an inevitable force that keeps me moving along the road and ultimately it will bring me to my goal.
What have been the most important aspects of your training that have allowed you to continue to progress?
4. The most important aspect of my training is – surprisingly – running. Just the simple act of putting those running shoes on and getting out of the door every day with a goal in my mind, is extremely satisfying. Being out there just me and the road (sometimes a friend or two joining me for a run), feeling the breeze on my face, listening to the birds chirping in the trees, these are the things that really can make my day and that is why I just feel like going out there again and again. And it is exactly this feeling of joy that helps me make progress not only in my outer running but also in my every day life.
Of course there are the outer aspects of training, like getting the right gear, the perfectly fitting shoes, balanced nutrition and often neglected rest, that help each runner in their progress. These things are certainly very important part of runner’s life.
How busy is the Slovakian ultrarunning calendar?
5. There are only two ultra-distance events being organized in Slovakia: Self-transcendence 6-hour race – organized by Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and 50 km race – organized by Slovak Ultra-distance Runners Association. So for any distance beyond that the runner has to travel abroad. There are some ultra-distance races held in Czech Republic and Germany, which I have taken part in, but for multiday races I have to travel much farther then that.
Are there any other up and coming Slovakian ultrarunners?
6. There are some very talented ultra-distance male runners in Slovakia (three of them : Pranab Vladovic, Ananda-Lahari Zuscin and Pranjal Milovnik have repeatedly competed in the world’s longest certified race 3100 mile race in New York), but the female field of ultra-distance runners is rather limited – just up to 50 – 100 km.