P.E. with Anya Kosova: Running
For the joy of running, The Recreationalist presents P.E.: Physical Enjoyment with Anya Kosova.
Anya Kosova grew up in Russia. After a four-year stint in Bali to explore her passion for surfing, she eventually settled in Santa Monica, California. For Anya, the coastal city had it all — oceans for surfing, plenty of hills to run, and a university where she could start her studies.
Most days, she starts her run from home, ending the ritual with a coffee at Blue Bottle. We sat down with Anya to talk recreation, advice, and the great outdoors.
by Caitlin Rounds
We heard that you surf. How did you learn?
Several of my friends moved to Bali and became surf coaches, they encouraged me to try it. I went to Bali for the first time in 2010, and tried it out. It was super cool. So, since then, I’ve traveled every year for two weeks each summer to surf. Eventually 2 weeks every summer wasn’t enough, so I moved to Bali, and then here [California]. Now I try to surf three or four days per week and I get better and better.
Why did you start running, and what ultimately made you stick with it?
I started running when I was 20, now I’m 35. I didn’t have a watch to track time or distance, and I ran that way for eight years. Without a watch I wasn’t sure how far I was going, I just ran for 40 minutes or in loops. When I got a watch, I realized I was running about two miles. I did my first 10K in Russia, in Moscow, but it wasn’t very popular and it was a small race. From there, I eventually started running marathons every year.
Where’s your favorite place to run?
I prefer running from home. I can run from home to the Santa Monica mountains when I want to run trails or hills. If I want to go on an easy run, I’ll run from home, down to the ocean, and then to get a coffee.
You ran 3,312 miles in 2021 — did you set a goal or just go for it?
It wasn’t a goal but when the pandemic started, I began to run more. With everything being online I had more time. So I started to run 10 miles per day and go for longer runs on weekends. It became okay for me. Now I have a loose goal of 100K per week, but it’s not strict. I try to be easy on myself.
You travel a ton. Where is your favorite place to visit?
I like Croatia. They have really great races and it’s beautiful. I also like Montana, it’s a beautiful state.
Running must-haves, tell us about them.
Usually I bring food with me. Kid’s food is my favorite. It’s enough calories, not too sweet, and works for long runs. I also like Spring.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
I can ski. I started when I was a kid. My husband is really good, almost professional level. I’m not as good as he is, but I’m still trying. Our parents love skiing, we usually go all around the Alps to ski as a family for several weeks every year
Where is your favorite place to spend time outdoors?
Mammoth Lakes. In the wintertime, you can ski. In the summer time, you can swim and run. It’s a great place for running, lots of footpaths for different levels.
Any advice from aspiring runners?
The most important thing is to listen to your body and what it’s saying. Be easy on yourself.
Anya Kosova is a blogger, ultra runner, and creator of @runningpodcasts. Kosova is a huge proponent of the meditative ritual of running and its physical and mental health benefits.
Edited by Rey Joaquin. Featured photos courtesy of Anya Kosova.