Finding the right backup team and partners helps the athlete to focus on the essential. Even though long-distance runner Alisa Vainio has chosen an individual sport, the best results are achieved with the support of a functional backup team. For instance, her coach helps her reach the best possible performances, her doctor guides her in finding the right diet, her family and club support and encourage her, and the cooperation with sponsors enables her to take part in international coaching camps, for instance.
The backup team helps Alisa focus on her core skills and goals. As Alisa has set her own goals, she sees the large group of supporters as a positive and encouraging factor and does not feel that it creates pressure to succeed.
- I'm the one who keeps demanding that I push forwards and avoid getting stuck in the same skill level, says Alisa.
Alisa's coach is Rami Virlander, a long-distance running coach from the Finnish Athletics Federation. The cooperation between Alisa and Rami began nearly three years ago when Alisa was still focusing on ice hockey but had already won gold in steeplechase in the 16-year-old age group, among other things.
- That autumn, Alisa was invited to the Pajulahti project's training camps, and Alisa was in the middle of changing her main sport from ice hockey to running. Personal coaching began later in the winter. I agreed to the request the second time, even though we don't live in the same area, says Rami Virlander.
- The distance has set its own requirements on the coaching relationship: close communication, a great deal of discussion, and a functional team, he continues.
Rami's duties include making Alisa's training programmes. Alisa's father Jyrki Vainio often helps Alisa keep up with her daily programmes.
- Dad cycles next to me while I run and carries some of my clothes. I always leave quite heavily dressed.First goes the hat, then the gloves. Dad is like a portable coat rack, says Alisa, laughing.