Motivation comes from many sources: friends, elite athletes and local run clubs. I have been motivated and inspired to run by many people in my life. One of these motivational runners is Mirka Markkula. Mirka is originally from Finland but is now living in Hannover, Germany. I first met her on social media through a mutual friend, Robin Arzon, and the Bridge Runners Crew. I have been motivated by her dedication to the sport and she was gracious enough to answer some questions and provide some motivation from her on my blog!
Years Running: She ran track as a teenage before she took up distance running
How did you get into running? Can you share your running history?
I have been dealing with depression for most of my life and a year ago I felt depressed, unhappy, a little overweight and unhealthy. After injuring myself when running track as a teenager, I wasn’t super into the idea of running, but I had been motivated and inspired by different running crews, like the Bridgerunners and The Run Dem Crew, so I gave it another try. I didn’t love it straight away, but pretty quickly I felt the difference in my body and mostly in my mind. At the same time I saw this documentary called “Hungry For Change,” and it really made a difference in how I thought about my own well-being. So it was a whole change in my life and running really has changed my life!
How do you train? Are you a part of a running group? Do you prefer running with a group or alone?
I run alone, would love to run in a crew, but where I live I run alone. On my trip to London last fall I did meet with some amazing people from Run Dem Crew and ran with them, which I loved. The company of other like-minded people is pretty amazing!
What is your favorite memory from running?
Definitely this one special run from last June, when I was having a personal well-being project for the month of June. Before that I had run some long runs, with that I mean a max of 10K, and I had planned to run a little longer that day. I had some low moments before my run but pulled myself together and left. It was a beautiful summer evening, I ran in a place where I’ve never run before but just went on, and enjoyed it. At the half way point of my run the sun started going down and it was so beautiful! Once I got back home I looked at my running app and saw that I have run 15.4Km, I didn’t believe it, I couldn’t understand that I did that! For me that run was the moment when I knew that I could, and I didn’t have moments like that ever before. I was so proud of myself!
What race(s) is your favorite? Why?
I’ve only ran one race in my short running life, Helsinki Midnight Run 10K. It was really nice but because I ran it alone, I felt that I was missing the feeling of being able to share the joy with someone. This March I’m running the Berlin Half and that I will share with many people that are important to me and I think that will be my favorite race for that reason and also because it’s a “finish” of hard work and pushing myself and also learning so much. It’s my first of many :).
What advice do you have for new runners?
Take it easy, don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time to see the difference in your body, but you will see it. Remember to stretch! Also do other sports to support running, if you only run you might get injured, I know it from experience…
One thing that I always try to remember is that even when it feels really bad and I might feel like a loser during a bad workout, after I’m always proud and happy that I did it, so sometimes it’s more about being able to push yourself through those hard times and try to remind yourself about those good workouts. Don’t take exercise too seriously! 🙂 If you feel like dancing in the middle of your run, do it!! And last but not least, listen to your body! Remember that 5 minutes is a workout, and you will feel better with doing that than nothing.
How do you use your blog/social media to influence your running?
I use social media as an inspiration and motivation. There are many people that I, in a way, look up to in running and fitness. It feels really good to have support that way, especially when you mostly run alone. Social media can be a blessing, I’ve found a few really good friends through it. And also through my blog I’ve found some really good tips on my training.
How do you fit running in with your daily schedule, work, etc…?
When I was studying I usually ran after my school, when I was working in a restaurant kitchen I either ran before my work or somedays home from work late at night. I have been unemployed now for some time, so I have been running whenever. But I feel that I enjoy running most either late afternoon or later in the evening.
Do you have any favorite running gear our readers should know about (shoes, tights, etc)?
I am really brand loyal to Nike. I’ve found that they are good quality and take my use well.
My favorite running shoes are Nike Wildhorse, it’s a trail running shoe but I love it pretty much on any terrain. My favorite tights are Nike Swift tights, I call them Bionic Woman tights because I believe that they make me stronger ;). I love my Nike Sportwatch, it’s simple enough for me to use and does everything I would want my running watch to do and I use it as an everyday watch too.
Other things that I always have with me are my yogamat, this tiny hard massage ball and a foam roller. They are my go-to things and especially the foam roller has made a difference in my recovery.
Do you run for a cause? How does this influence how you approach training?
Now that I am starting my first year of races I have started thinking of how I could run for something that is important to me. At the moment I’m searching for a charity that would be for Depression and I would really like to run my first marathon for them. For me, it’s important to try to help others with the same problems and also help bring more conversations about depression, so it’s not so much of a taboo. It’s a new thing for me but without running I wouldn’t feel better with my depression, so I hope that I can help someone with what I have gone through or am going through now.
Best Running Advice from Mirka:
Running, or whatever sport you do, is supposed to be fun and make you feel good. Even when you are pushing, smile and things feel easier. And even when your friends don’t understand your new found love for fitness, keep it close to your heart, if it makes you happy it’s a keeper! 🙂