VIP QUARANTINE: Czech athlete Kristiina Mäki: I was scared that I wouldn't feel like training after the Olympics got canceled
Kristiina Mäki is a Czech athlete of Finnish origin. She specializes in long distance, her most favorite is usually running 1500 metres. Kristiina and her boyfriend announced the good news at the beginning of the year that she was expecting a baby. During her pregnancy, she managed to have a go at the runway and take photos for Pietro Filipi. The thing helping her the most to survive quarantine is sports! She shared a few tips on how to exercise at home with us.
Česká atletka Kristiina Mäki pro LP-Life.cz
Has it always been just athletics from the beginning or did you do another sport?
I've been doing athletics since about the fourth grade, so I can't even count the after-school gymnastics before. I did gymnastics and modern gymnastics, but in that fourth grade I joined an athletics club and that's how it all started.
I guess your parents led you to this ...
My parents led my brother and I to sports in general. But my classmates led me to that athletics club.
Athletics is a very broad concept. You run. Have you never been tempted by another discipline?
No! I was at this one race when I was in Finland with my grandmother and grandfather. There was an athletics race, a 300-meter run, and I beat the boys. Based on that, they asked me if I wanted to go try a hammer throw and a jump, so I said I didn't want to.
What is your favorite track?
Definitely 1500 meters. It always depends on what a person is doing best at a given moment. So 1500 meters, but I've run longer too.
From Dad's side you have Finnish heritage. You've raced both here and in Finland, have you ever considered moving to Finland, for example?
Of course the idea was there. We lived there until I was three, so I only remember some images. Then I went to grandma's and grandpa's every holiday. Anyway, it's not my dream to move there any time soon. But I do not dismiss the idea that it could work out one day.
Who is your biggest motivation in training? Is it rivals or the feeling beyond the finish line?
I never had a personal role model to admire and want to be like. But during the first quarantine, I found out that I enjoy training even though no specific goal is set at the moment. I was a little afraid that as the Olympics and all the races were canceled, I wouldn't want to train in the spring, but it was just the opposite. I have no problem with motivation, I enjoy it. When I have a goal and I train for some races, it is all the more pressure.
How does your normal day actually work during the season? How much time do you spend training?
It also depends on whether I'm training or at home in Prague. There are two sessions on a normal training day. Together it will take about 4 hours. In the meantime, some recuperation or going to the therapist, so it's a matter of six to eight hours. It's not that you train and have time off. I have to adjust my entire day.
Which form of recuperation is most pleasant for you?
I probably like massages the most. Because the physical contact and the direct force on the muscles are nice. Sports massage is usually very rough. It seems the best to me and I like it the most.
Your partner Filip Sasínek is also a successful athlete ... I guess you met on the track.
In athletics, everyone knows everyone, you are usually aware of everyone. All you have to do is be in races or training camps. When a person goes away for three weeks or a month, that's a lot of time.
Did you train together or solo?
Of course, he has a completely different performance ability than me, but you can go to joint trainings. For example, longer runs, when we agree on a pace, or, in the racing season, whe usually warm up together. In the spring we also combined our training sessions, he took much shorter breaks and ran longer distances, so I was able to join. It turned out that we could run together. If you want, you can combine it like that.
A few months ago, you and your boyfriend announced the good news that you were expecting a baby... was it planned?
It was not completely planned. But I already said somewhere that it was not planned and then it turned into "it was an accident". I definitely wouldn't want that. It was at this time when it turned out that the Olympics would be canceled. Neither of us expected that it would happen so fast. But we've been together for four years and we've always wanted children. You never plan for this, plus, I think we hit a good window when the races aren't.
What was his reaction?
I was very surprised. I didn't know exactly what was going on. He started looking forward to it much earlier than I did, which helped me. As an athlete, a woman never really knows when to go for it. When I thought about it in retrospect, I'm not sure if I could tell myself that the time is now! That I will stop training fully. So it actually worked itself out for me.
But on Instagram, you share photos showing that you are still running... I know it's hard to estimate now, but would you like to return to professional athletics after maternity leave?
The primary plan is that I would like to return. Since I have a few role models like this in the world, who came back without a hitch, I'm also counting on it a bit. Of course, I don't know what will happen after the birth and what the circumstances will be. But I'm determined to come back. I've heard a lot of opinions in athletics that it's just not possible. But one cannot listen to that stuff much. I'd at least like to try.
On your social media we could notice that in the sixth month of pregnancy you went to a fashion show for Pietro Filippi, then some photos. How did you get into modeling? While pregnant, on top of it.
I got into it through my friend Gabriela, whom I have known since kindergarten. When I told them I was pregnant, they said they didn't notice it. They needed models and completely normal people for the new campaign. Later on, at the fashion week, they had a show that was connected with that campaign.
How did you feel in the modeling world?
I'm honestly really glad I do sports. I can't judge it from one day, but I didn't feel completely comfortable about it. I just like the sports environment. The hard work that is then visible.
A lot has changed for everyone since March, including you. Pandemic, lockdowns, regulations. So how do you handle this period?
In the spring it was better as it was warmer and there was more light. That was definitely a better situation. In fact, it didn't affect us that much. We run outside twice a day and the only place we go is the store. So it wasn't so restrictive. I don't miss the closed malls. We do go to restaurants sometimes, but we can manage. Now it's much worse, even the mood among the people is worse. In my opinion, it is important to set up some routine for the whole day so that it runs by quickly. I think that's the key to being mentally stable through this.
When you're not running, what else do you like to do?
Since I studied at the Czech Technical University and finished school last year, I sometimes draw something. I try not to forget it completely. I also help out one company and I have a dog that keeps me quite busy. There is nothing that interesting there.
Would you like to get married?
I didn't want to get married pregnant, so I'm leaving it up to my boyfriend. All I said was that I didn't want to get married with a belly!