1. Can you tell us a little bit about what go you into running?
After winning the district cross country championships, in both 5th and 6th grades, my PE teacher sent me to my hometown's Track and Field after school program; where I basically began my running career. It was not running specific in the first few years. We worked mainly on general athleticism, but when I started winning national titles at my respectiveage categories, I started falling in love with it and that's why I am a runner today.
2. Were you good at any other sports?
When I was young I did all kinds of sports; gymnastics, tennis, martial arts, running etc. I liked doing sports and I think I was pretty athletic in general.
3. You're from Israel and you represented Israel in the 2016 Olympics, can you tell us what that experience was like?
Being part of the Israeli Olympic team to Rio 2016 (which was the largest delegation of athletes in Israel’s history) was an experience of a life time. While entering the Maracana stadium at the opening ceremony with the rest of the team and the Israeli flag flying high, I was filled with pride for my country. I felt like I was a representative of the Jewish and the Israeli people in front of the eyes of the rest of the world. Especially I felt that we, as a team, got to commemorate the Israeli Olympic delegation of 1972, Munich Olympic Games, where 11 Israeli athletes lost their lives in a terrorist attack, and showing everybody that even 44 years later, we are still here. On race day, I felt proud to be running with the Israeli flag on my chest. In every step of my race, I felt like I was carrying with me the love and the pride of all the people that I came in contact with throughout my journey.
4. Is there a good running culture in Israel? Are there any key differences between here and there?
In Israel, the sports system is very different. Most popular sports are soccer and basketball and most of the attention goes there.The sports system is not even remotely similar to what we have in the states as far as abundance of athletic programs in schools (middle school, high school or even college), the funding, or the awareness. If you get involved in sports, you and your family are pretty much responsible for everything that goes to it. However, I must say that recently, the awareness is definitely growing, and we are making strides and improving in that aspect; it is going to take time and means though.
5. Tell us a little bit about your training philosophy, especially in relation to staying healthy and injury free.
I always liked to have a pretty close guidance when it comes to my training. I like to do what I am told since I always believed in my coaches. That helps me to know if I'm supposed to push more or back off, and I believe that helped me stay relatively injury free throughout the years. In addition I believe that getting an adequate amount of sleep and eating well are both an integral part of staying healthy.
6. What role does physical therapy play in your training?
Training on the elite level definitely takes a big toll on your body. PT helps me in preventing injuries, taking care of alignment issues, weaknesses, and tight muscles, in order to stay healthy and consistent in my training and perform on the highest level.
7. What's your favorite recovery food?
My favorite recovery food is an egg sandwich with cheese and avocado. It is filling, delicious and have all the nutrients you need to get right after a hard workout.
8. How important are the small things, like stretching, weight-lifting? Is there a point where these things could distract from the simplicity of the sport?
My answer to this question would tie into the answer to the next question. In general, I learned and I also believe that everybody (athletes or not) should do strength couple of times a week. Now, I must admit that I have been slacking on that, because I would usually be so tired from just running itself. So I'd would say that it might take away from the simplicity of the sport. However, lately I realized, that it is an inevitable part of being an athlete, especially on a high level. We work so hard, and we constantly "break our bodies"so our weaknesses are manifested and would likely cause us an injury sooner or later if we don't pay attention to them.
9. Is running a simple sport?
Running on a professional level is not a simple sport at all. It is very mental, tough sport and it is not glamorous whatsoever. Reaping the rewards usually takes time, so you have to be patient and see the process through.Also, there is not a lot of money involved in it which makes it harder to stick with it for a long time.
10. How many workouts a week are you doing?
I run 11-12 times a week (2 hard workouts, 2 long runs).
11. If you could be successful at any other sport, what would it be and why?
Sailing or gymnastics. Gymnastics because I think I have the right characteristics of a good gymnast and I admire them for their strength and resiliency. Sailing because I love the water!
12. What's the hardest decision you've ever made?
I think the hardest decision I have made was to move to Boulder alone after graduating from college.
13. Steeplechase or 400m hurdles?