Being a Member Chapter 1: Mateja’s Running Experience

Published on January 14, 2020

As you may know, Friskis is run entirely by volunteers but it is actually our members that represent the heart of our organisation.

Not only do they keep the doors open but it is their enthusiasm and commitment that drives our volunteers to best serve them. We do things together as a group because that is what we are. It is a symbiotic relationship. Every instructor, host and volunteer all began their Friskis career as a member.

For this reason we asked our members to share their Friskis experiences and why they love moving and sweating with us so much.

We are Friskis. These are our members.


Chapter 1: Mateja’s Running Experience

  1. How did you find out about Friskis & Svettis?

I first heard about Friskis & Svettis long ago, just after my arrival to Brussels in early 2008. A colleague from the office invited me to join for a trial session which I liked, and I even took a 5 visits card. I think back then there were only indoor sessions offered, and as I was longing for the outdoor time I finally opted for other solutions. I met wonderful people there yet at some point and within rather short time most of them disbursed literally all over the globe, and I took a running sabbatical.

  1. What actually convinced you to join Friskis?  

Then two years ago, with an amazing summertime and most of my friends out of town, I felt a bit bored running on my own. I thought it would be nice to have some running company and coincidentally came across an announcement for Friskis summertime activities in the 50-naire park, which are free, and decided to try out. There I discovered Friskis also offers running sessions and voila!  🙂

  1. What was your experience with running before joining Friskis?

A nice group of runners, interesting exercising program and wonderful weather was a winning combination. I really liked the fact that it was not a pure running, but it involved the strengthening exercises, learning about different running techniques and much more. Before that, when I run on my own or with other groups it was always just a run. So, these additional elements were interesting, I became a member and already after few months I could see some results. What a motivation! 🙂

  1. What do you like about Friskis running sessions?

I was joining two or three running sessions per week, allowing to combine different styles and techniques. Sometimes the sessions are a bit more challenging and can make you wonder why on earth didn’t you stay comfortably on your sofa, but with the encouragement and motivation from the instructors and fellow runners you eventually start to enjoy this.

  1. How did Friskis running sessions prepare you for the Marathon in Slovenia?

The instructors do take care and are open to adapt, the structured sessions are performed in a way that everyone gets its challenge yet is never left alone, the way of thinking is positive, everyone is welcome, weather is always good, so is the atmosphere in the group. Despite primarily looking for the outdoor activities, a nice running experience helped me to take a decision and start joining some of the indoor sessions later on. Then it all became a habit and give courage to aim higher. 

  1. You ran your first marathon – Congratulations! What can you tell us about your experience and feelings before, during and after the race?

Recently I run my first marathon in my hometown, Ljubljana. It is a pretty flat one and end of October the weather conditions still supposed to be favorable, so it shall be feasible I thought and signed up already in April. To train, I decided to combine two programs I found online, but as a basis I set to follow the Friskis start to run, running quality and barbell sessions. Plus, I added a solo long run on weekends. To top up, Friskis instructors and long-distance runners kindly shared their experiences, advice, motivation and encouragement. These actually proved to be crucial, especially as I was quite struggling on KM 16-20, which took me by total surprise, and I even thought to quit.

All in all, the training progressed well, I felt great and positive throughout the preparation period, motivation was high. In Ljubljana the atmosphere was fantastic, the supporters countless and organisation very good on a beautiful sunny autumn day (22 degrees!). I felt ready and was looking forward to the start line. A bit hot and all fine – until KM 16 when I started to feel tired, annoyed by the noisy crowd along the route, legs were heavy – I was wondering “why am I torturing myself like this and I want to go home” – What a thought! Where did it come from??? I was puzzled! Luckily some Friskis runners’ words start to echo in my head and at split point at KM 20 I took the turn on right to a 42KM challenge. 🙂 The route got much less crowded and calmer and I started to enjoy. I took the advantage of all the refreshment stations, fruits and massages did good, and the last 15 KM I run-walk-run with a runner who did a 90KM trail just a week before. Pfff –  just a short 42 km run for some. 🙂 The finish line was there after 5h of adventure, crossing it I felt happy, proud, relieved. So, it’s done, ticked off the list, I do not want to think or hear of a marathon anymore!  … just to discover that some 48 hours later, sitting at the airport, I already thought I could do it much better and was googling for springtime events!

In short – first marathon: crazy yet rewarding experience, maybe more challenging for the head than for the feet. Glad I did it and grateful to everyone and all who contributed to this achievement.

  1. What would you tell friends or acquaintances about Friskis?

About Friskis? It’s fun time, it does good to body and mind, all year round. Indoor or outdoor activities, various locations and timings, interesting program, nice, motivated and dedicated instructors and participants, it’s not expensive, weather is always good, so is the atmosphere in the group. Come and try out, give yourself a chance! 🙂

You take Mateja up on her invitation and join her at one of our many running sessions. Don’t forget that we offer running sessions 6 days a week.

You want to share your Friskis member experience? Then contact us by sending an email to with “Being a Member” in the subject line.


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