A Day in the Life of...Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht
Last season Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht rebounded from the disappointment of not competing at the 2018 Pyeongchang OWG to capture the women’s mass start Silver medal at the IBU World Championships. “For me, that Silver medal was the same as Gold because it took so much energy and power to come back…Now I am looking at just one year at a time.”
Juggling Act; Family and Training
With that one-year-at-a-time approach, the 34-year-old Russian is back preparing for the new season, using her usual multi-dimensional approach, splitting her training between her parent's home in St. Petersburg, Russia, Schladming, Austria and Russian Team Camps. Every day is a juggling act whether she is in Russia with her parents or in Austria with her husband, because Yurlova-Percht is also the mother of now almost 3-year-old Kira.
Kira travels with her mother most of the time while her husband Josef is back in Austria working with the Austrian Men’s Alpine team. “It is hard on my husband sometimes; he misses her a lot, but he is very busy.”
Up Early: Exercising, Breakfast, Kindergarten
A typical day starts early for the Russian veteran at home or on the road. “Every day is different; Kira usually decides when I get up, but usually it is around 6:30. Sometimes, she promises me that ‘I will sleep really long,’ every time she wakes up at 5 or 5:30.”
“The first thing I do is some morning exercises for the muscles, some core training. After that my mother or I cook breakfast. We have breakfast together. I always have porridge, bread with butter and some coffee. After that, Kira goes to kindergarten and I go to training.”
Training Day; Loves Running
A typical training day when not at a team camp, is a solitary affair. “I am training with my own coach at home. Usually, I train 2-2.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the afternoon. The afternoon depends on how strong or hard the morning is! Usually the morning is on rollerskis.
But my favorite training is a long running session. I am not your typical runner, but I like it the best. Mornings are usually more complex, technique or interval training. It depends on the time of the year. In the beginning of the summer, it was less intensity; now it is more intensity, more race training.”
This summer was a nice mix of solo training and the chance to train with some other athletes in places like Antholz and Correncon-en-Vercors as well as some competitions. “I met with the Italian, US and French teams and we had some test races. This was perfect for me. You come to this (mix of solo training and training with others) after you have a lot of experience and know what works for you.”
Three Summer Events
Yurlova-Percht enjoyed competing at all three of the big summer events: Blink, Wiesbaden and the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival. “For me, it is nice to have these little tests. On the other side, I have a lot of emotions and enjoy them. It is different from the winter, relaxed and no pressure. These are great for our sport; it is great for fans to see their favorite biathletes in the summer.”
Pasta and a Snack
Once morning training is over on a day at home, lunch is typically “pasta which I like a lot, with Parmesan.” Then, adding with a laugh, “maybe I am Italian!’ Post-lunch is “usually a short nap, an energy bar and some drinks before the second training. I cannot eat too much in the afternoon. If the morning was hard, then the afternoon is quiet, double-poling in slow-motion or craft-training in the gym.”
Play Time, Reading Books
When training is done, “I pick up my daughter from kindergarten. It is play time then. We both have our own toys.”
The evening is devoted to family time for this lady who is always quick with a laugh and a smile. “In the evening, my favorite thing to do: is play and spend time with my daughter. We read books and do things like Lego. When I am at my parent’s house, we walk in the garden and collect berries and pick cucumbers. She likes to pick berries!”
Weekends have a little different feel when Yurlova spends even more time with her daughter. “Kira does not go to kindergarten on Saturday and Sunday, so we have a little different schedule. Sometimes she comes to training and cheers me at the shooting range and on the tracks. She says, ‘Mama! Mama!’ This is really great support and positive energy.”
That positive energy and her perpetually sunny outlook is what helps Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht enjoy every day in her biathlon life.
*Photos: IBU/Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht