Coaches Corner

Running with Leonid Rayski: “It makes me feel free”

19 Aug 2022

Read an inspiring story about our running coach Leonid Rayski and believe that you are capable of anything. You can build a sports coaching career anywhere, even if the world around you is falling apart.

Sport can give you more than a fit body. It can provide release, purpose and freedom. Sport opens a new world of possibilities and experiences unachievable to many people. The only thing that keeps you in place is your wish to try. Sport can distract you from other problems in your life or help you keep moving forward no matter the circumstances.

This is especially true for Leonid Rayski, an experienced coach and athlete from Ukraine. Due to the war in Ukraine, he was forced to leave his country and move abroad. But his determination and passion for sport never changed, and he is as determined as ever to help people become better every day.

A sport of freedom

Leonid or Leo got into sports in early childhood. He started with basketball and then was introduced to running. At first, he ran short distances and soon was ready to participate in many competitions across Europe. When asked why he chose running, he said: "It gives me a feeling of freedom." Now he has won 2 championships in Ukraine (800 m, 4x800 relay) and came 2nd in Tel Aviv Marathon 2018.

Running with Leonid Rayski

Coaching experience

Leo has been a coach for 8 years. At first, he says, it was more like a hobby than a job. He helped his friends and co-students train as he trained and built his training sessions more on intuition and repetition rather than on knowledge. But experience and change are parts of growth, so after university and thorough personal studies, he gained the necessary expertise to start coaching professionally.    

"It is important to me that my work brings benefit and joy to people. I like helping others become better and see their progress".


Building a coaching business

In Ukraine Leonid is known as a founder and coach for the LeTeam Running Club and director of the mini football league, which is based in his city and is one of the largest amateur leagues in Europe. Leo plans to continue developing his sporting business in Ukraine and bring it to another level. He is dreaming about a network of running and fitness clubs across Ukraine and beyond its borders. A bold dream and an ambitious one. "It is not going to be easy," he admits, "but since when has it ever stopped us?" 

Leonid believes that to build a strong community you need a good team. And we at Sport Session couldn't agree more. That's why we care about every coach who joins our sporting club. You are our team, and our success depends on every single member of our group.

Running with Leonid Rayski

What about training sessions?

As a coach, Leo believes that there are no universal training methods. This is one of the reasons he stopped doing group training. Every body and every person is different, so applying the same method to everyone is not only unprofessional, it is simply impossible. Unfortunately, this practice is used in many fitness clubs and centres: "Do these 5 exercises – and you will be good". The novice trainers use the "intuition and repetition" practice too. But training for the sake of training will not give you results.

Moreover, it can even be dangerous so Leo prefers individual sessions. He always follows his first rule of a personal trainer: "Do no harm". Because people come to a coach to become fitter, healthier and more durable. And the last thing they want is to get injured while being forced to train in a way that doesn't fit them.

Why do people choose running?

People have different reasons to try running. For some, running is just another way to do fitness. Understandable since fitness exercises are an essential part of running training. Leo includes them in every training program he creates. For others, it is a way to reduce stress after work. Many people want to try running small distances for charity or local competitions. And then there is a group of people who train for triathlons, half marathons and real marathons. Leonid works with all kinds of clients. But regardless of what brought them to him, he does his best to ensure they fulfil their dreams.

Running with Leonid Rayski

What does it mean to be a professional?

When it comes to training, Leo cites the quote: "Be a professional. Not an amateur who waits for inspiration." How does one understand it?

If you want to achieve something in sport, you cannot try at half strength. Otherwise, you will get "half results." Doing sport demands great determination and persistent work despite bad mood and other distractions. This is what distinguishes a professional from an amateur.

But do not get this wrong; it shouldn't be a nasty and tiresome job. It still has to bring you joy. Find joy in your goal, the anticipation of its fulfilment, in every bit of progress you make, and eventually in your final achievements. This is the most rewarding feeling for a sportsman. But you will not feel it if you wait for a proper mood or a vague inspiration to do things.

Ultimately, all your future success and possible achievements depend on whether you start doing something now or you save it for later. So if you are still in doubt, follow Leonid's advice.

"Having thought – decide, and having decided – do not think."

Book your first session with Leonid here. Find even more running coaches at Sport Session.

Name your sporting or fitness goal - we'll help you smash it. Personal Training, Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, Boxing and SO MUCH MORE. With an irresistible 30% OFF your first session!


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