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Aigul Safiullina

1) Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your running journey - how and when did you start running?

My name is Aigul and I was born and raised close to the Ural Mountains. My love for storytelling took me to the German and Slovenian Alps and later to the Andes where I spent a few years reporting on environment & education for Argentine media outlets. I picked up running only when I turned 30 in Hong Kong. It was quite spontaneous: I joined the very first edition of Ladies Race by LBC and then went on a 3-day retreat to Chiang Mai that was organized by Gone Running. I was initially looking for a yoga retreat in Thailand but something went wrong with the Facebook algorithms and I booked that trip without checking the details. It cost me 2.5 toenails and some massive blisters as I had no idea about the proper shoes - but I never stopped since then.

WhatsApp Image 2019-10-16 at 4.27.39 PM.

2) How and why did you decide to become a certified breathwork coach?

It happened at the finish line of Moontrekker! We were running as a pair with Claire Mordret - a very strong runner and a close friend of mine. I was absolutely out of mental shape - it was a terrible week for me both at work and in my relationship of that time. I wanted to quit after 5km already. Claire did her best to motivate me but nothing helped... until she asked me to breathe using a specific pattern. I just focused on that one single task + kept running. We didn't care about the numbers and rankings when we crossed the finish line. So we were in absolute shock to know that we became female pair champions - it was my first podium finish in Hong Kong. I took many decisions that night and becoming a certified breathwork coach was one of them.

3) What are the benefits of breathwork for runners?

There are millions of them! One and most important is that proper breathing makes us more efficient, energy-savvy on longer distances and helps to achieve peak performance. Training our breathing muscles is as important as training other muscles - it reduces inflammation, the perceived performance fatigue and anxiety. Breathwork can also make our recovery time more productive as our heart rate goes down quicker.

4) What are you hoping for women to take away from your session?

Breathwork is the most accesible tool that we have. Being a woman is always harder when it comes to sports - we have to consider our cycle as we are more prone to dysfunctional breathing than men. I'd like every

woman to feel more confident about themselves and get equipped with the powerful breathing techniques that they can apply in their daily life.

 

5) Apart from your own presentation which other sessions are you most excited about?

I'm excited about all of them, to be honest. I think they've been overlooked and considered as not relevant for many years as running is often more catered to men. I am particularly excited about the 4 Trails panel - it looks as something out of this universe to me. And would definitely love to learn more about women's health and how to be more mindful about our body.

6) If you could give one piece of advice to women who enjoy running what would it be?

Enjoy is the keyword! I don't like the slogans that call to crash it/ smash it or kill it. I think running - and especially trail running - should be about enjoying & learning to live in harmony with ourselves and the planet. And another piece of advice that I've been telling myself quite often - know your worth! It's so easy to get caught by comparisons and numbers on Strava. Don't look at anyone and just keep going (or running or crawling).

Asia Trail Girls