When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire

The secret of life is that there is no secret of life. It's all hard work. Yet you still have to find the right works and be free to choose direction that is best for you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Running Coaching


Comments from people I work(ed) with:

Olga, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you did to prepare me for this epic adventure. I always felt strong, and I was sure I could dig myself out from the looming cutoff. Then people just showed up after Robie Point to make me run as hard as I could. You would have loved to be there. When I briefly put my hands on my hips to catch my breath on the hill, Rob Krar yelled at me to pump my arms, then said not to shuffle but to run. Next I heard was that I COULD NOT slow on the next hill if I wanted to make it to the finish. And to run HARD! I felt like I flew down the hill. Once I saw the clock I knew I had it. l just know the track workouts you had me do did the trick. My legs knew just what to do. I’m sorry that I caused so many people to just about have  a heart attack as the drama unfolded.
Olga, I knew that if I was going to have a coach, it had to be you. You are truly a kindred spirit, and the rest of my life will be enriched in many, many ways because of your friendship, your expertise and your trust in me.
Once things settle down a bit, I’ll have a chance to talk with you.
Gunhild Swanson, WS100 oldest female finisher at the age of 70, class 2015, 29:59:56

Thank you so much Olga! I seriously appreciate it! Through your training I can tell that I am not the runner that I was 6 months ago when we started this journey!  Granted, it wasn't always easy, but today, receiving my first Western States buckle made it all worth it!!  Thank you for believing in me. Angela G

I have no doubt that I was able to finish and recover so easily because of your plan.  I would love to work with you again. Chris

Thank you very much for all your help, I really appreciate your guidance. It gives me purpose and makes me more confident in my abilities. G.

Your plan for me was solid and I truly do not think I would have had nearly the successful outcome, had I just gone and trained on my own.  Thank you!!! I have learned a lot from you and cannot wait to work with you again. Thank you again! C.B.

I really look forward to working with you again. You were my rock and kept me on task to get it done this year, so I’m counting on you to do your magic again. I love working with you! You inspire and push me. 

I'm so happy. It really couldn't have gone much better. I thought it was going to be tough and it was but there was never a point that I thought I couldn't do it or that I wouldn't finish. Thank you so much for all your help and encouragement. I'm looking forward to some rest and then my next training plan. Verity

I wanted to let you know that I have discovered a few things about myself: I love having a schedule, I don't hate speedwork (the challenge keeps me motivated) and you coaches are amazing.  You have been really awesome to work with and despite my creakiness, I can tell that my strength and endurance has improved.  So, thank you. Christine

Anyway, thanks so much for coaching me through the race to a successful finish!  I’ll be in touch for my next go round.  We will see what the next race could be next.  Thanks again! William C.

Just had a 16 minute PR over my previous trail marathon time (which was a PR also). I am 1st in the 40-49 sub-ultra category (and 4th overall female). The ultra 2nd place 40-49 female is secure also. Long trail race season is over and I accomplished my goals (THANK YOU!!!). :) This year I had a 50M PR and 2 trail marathon PRs, not to mention the numerous top 5 placings I had. I will count this as a damn successful trail running year. Jody K.

I love running and I hope it stays that way. I really enjoy going out on a long hard day with friends where they push the pace then I get a chance to push the pace. I just hope that love continues on into the future. You and your training has meant a lot to me and has helped me overcome some amazing feats, my first 100mi race and my first 100km race. Both at the same park on almost the same course. I have become a much faster runner and ran my first sub-6min/mi under your training.  Alex B.

My first 50M race went great! Finished in 13 hours and some minutes. Thank you so much for all the help training! It really payed off! Amanda

One thing I've noticed in the last two races is that I'm passing people during the last half of the race. What USED to happen is that I was the one being passed in the last half and I sort of like this new change. I could get used to it. Jacki

And not to be forgotten, thank you so much for your expertise, guidance, and enthusiasm. I can be rough on myself, sometimes unfocused, and be of the opinion that I'm never doing enough. But you set me straight and change my way of thinking. Thank you. I credit your training plan with making my day yesterday so very enjoyable. Greg K., Bull Run Run 50M 10:19

I feel I have become such a strong runner with you as my coach and I hope to some day be able accomplish even a portion of what you have accomplished in your running career.  You are a strong, committed runner and I can't think of anyone else I would rather work with again than you.  Thank you so much for all of your help in helping me achieve me my dreams of running JJ100!  It was a difficult day where more didn't make it, but thanks to you, I was one of the few to finish! Angela

One thing I am particularly thankful for. YOU!!! You have made all the difference in my training. I feel like I am at the fitness level I was at 10 years ago. Thank you so much!

You have been fabulous and I strongly believe in you are your coaching. I would be happy to write a testimonial for your web site any day! So thank you for all that you have done for me. I wish sometimes that this wasn't so impersonal.I beg to remain, Ma'am, your most humble and obedient client, DP

Just wanted to thank you almost personally :) for nailing a good training program at least to me. I am happy where I am right now, recovered 3 times better after 22 hr AR100 than I did at Rocky and that's the way I like it. - HorHey (JR)

I do want to THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH THOUGH for all of your help and inspiration in training me for this race!  Like I said before, I know that even running 4:29:08 (my previous PR was 5:09:05 btw!), my body was TRAINED to run this race even faster - at least 4:25 I'd say!  I never felt "tired" at all until those last couple of miles and I think it was as much a fueling issue at that point as anything (I took exactly 3 stinger gel chew packets during the race and a couple of 100mg caffeine pills).  My body (my legs and my lungs) WANTED to run faster and felt strong to the end.  The limiting factor for me was the pain I was feeling in my hip, although I have to say the rest during the last couple of weeks was probably what made it heal enough that I was able to finish at all, much less at 4:29.  Alma

I just have to say Olga. Thank you. You've made me a stronger runner already. Today's workout was tremendous. William C.

It (hard training) can't help but become the main focus for a few months if you really want to succeed at it. Same with almost anything.  If you really want something, you have to want it bad enough, more than almost anything else - it has to become the primary priority - and THEN you WILL make it happen.  It's a case of how bad DO you want it?  Are you willing to put your family somewhat on the back burner temporarily to make it happen?  I ask for their blessing before doing so and thank goodness I had their support to be able to do so. For this race, I got exactly what I wanted and got out of it exactly what I put in.  HWPO - hard work pays off.  :) Alma

Hi, Olga!  I wanted to make sure I relayed some important information to you.
As I ran my 5 miles last night, running the whole way even after pounding out a grueling, hot run the previous day, I realized that you have helped me get back to a state of mind that I have been sorely lacking for a few years - STRENGTH.  I know I won't always get it right, but I know I can get it done.  I used to be very hard on myself with my training, or lack thereof, and I allowed that negativity to hold me back from even attempting things.  Last night, despite the fact that I was already tired, my return on my loop was all on an incline, I kept remembering your instructions to finish STRONG, and I finished my second half three minutes faster than my first half!  It might not have looked pretty, but pretty was not the point!
So in all of that, here is my important information:  I APPRECIATE YOU!  You have been encouraging, positive, and have helped me keep my head on straight, holding me accountable without letting me beat myself up!  I feel it is important to let you know what a positive influence you have had on me, and it has spilled over into other aspects of my life.  God bless you for sharing yourself and your talent to those who need (YES, NEED) you!  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

I forgot to mention that I have dropped 15 pounds, no doubt to better eating habits and regular exercise!  :)
Shannon I. 

I have to say, I am finally feeling like a real runner.  Being able to easily run a sub 30 minute 3 miles today was pretty amazing!  I am feeling stronger and healthier.  

My training plan was great and thank you for getting me prepared for this beast!  :)

I needed to email you because I think I have had a break through. This week the hill workout had a high of a 10% grade and an average of 6%. I did have to walk a little however it had nothing to do with muscles, but with cardio/heart rate. My back to back runs this weekend were "easy" (relatively speaking) my legs felt fresh today after my 16 miles yesterday. I am down 6 pounds since working with you. I remember feeling I was never going to get there and now I am starting to see progress. I am starting to feel stronger than I have ever felt.


I just want to send a big ol'hug and shout out to Olga Varlamova-King. Olga reached out to me when I was a young pup in this sport and helped guide my training. Later on I got the chance to learn from her directly when we participated in events together, sometimes as her pacer, sometimes as a fellow runner. One of those times was at Bighorn in 2007. It was both our first time and we had planned to do the whole thing together, pacing each other throughout the run. I learned a lot that day. I'll pass on two; don't take your time at the aid stations unless you really need it and walk like you run - with purpose. She wore me out on that run, running after her leaving the aid stations (her 30 second stops vs my 2 minute lounge time, running after her when I get dropped trying to keep with her walking. Since 2007 a lot has happened in Olga's life, life changing events, injuries, etc but she has always managed to come back strong and swinging. Last weekend at San Diego 100, my favorite all-time 100, she came under 24 hours on a very hot day. 188 started and only 82 finished. She would state later in Facebook that it was worse than 2006 "Fire and Ice" Western States. I was there too in 06, I can believe it. Olga is impressive because she is a strong person on and off the trail and after all this time she is still kickin' ass. Continuing to drive forward through all the ups and downs. I'll think of you this weekend my friend, hopefully hours ahead from our splits from 07.
Rick G.

Hi Olga!!!
Thank you so much for taking me on to train me for this event!  It was definitely difficult, but so happy that I made it through and completed it!!!  There were definitely highs and lows but I kept focused on why I was doing this...which was for my puppy that passed in may...I loved her with all of my heart and soul and wanted this to pay tribute to her....I became so emotional at the ending shoot because all I felt I had to work through just to get to that point.
I will definitely be taking it easy for a bit!!! Thank you for all of your help and guidance!
Angela G.

Bottom line what I learned from you is that focus gets you to the finish line. I really thank you for helping me. You're the best coach I've ever had. EC

Just a quick note to say WOW! I am feeling fantastic this AM! THANKS FOR EVERYTHING! I know I only owe $x (I sent $y), but I knew all along you were UNDER charging for your services!! And I want you to know that I appreciate all the time you spend on my behalf.And have I told you that I LOVE you??!!

Thank you very much -- I just signed up for 1 more month I hope that's ok! YES, you are 100% worth it!!!!!

I wanted to let you know that you are a awesome coach and made me the fittest I’ve ever been as a runner. When I am ready to start training again and if you are still available, let’s reconnect and see about working together again. Bill

Just wanted to officially thank you for the awesome coaching job you did. Thanks to you I'm a better runner, at least I think am and have learned to keep going when the body doesn't want to)...As soon as training starts I'll get in touch again for yet another training regimen :-) Thanks again. HH.

The race went well today (marathon)!  Went totally by HR and kept it under control...then realized I was set to qualify so I went for it....even had 2 bathroom breaks along the way!   I was totally surprised today that it went so well!  Definitely due to your training!  Did a 3:38! - BQ! Angela.

Thanks to Olga for coaching me and giving me words of encouragement in an Olga kind of way.  HH.

Hi Olga,
first off, thanks for mentoring and coaching me this year, it has been a hell of an experience in the best kind of way. I wish you the best next year to you, Larry and the rest of your family.

I love the ultra community and the great support. And you may not know it but you figure prominently in that for me. The Mt. Hood PCT 50 was my first ultra race in 2008, and I absolutely loved it. And the Hundred in the Hood was my first 100 mile race (Wasatch is now 19th 100 mile finishes for me) and you may remember I was the last one in, an hour and half past the cutoff, limping with IT problems and terrible shin splints. I had walked the last 75 miles of the course but I had not quit. You and Larry and my wife and friend Kurt were the last ones left. Everything else had been cleared away and all the people were gone, but you gave me that finishing hug, and I appreciated that you had waited for me to the end. That race absolutely taught me how tough I could be, and that I could keep going even after was sure I was done. It defined me as an ultra runner. I tell that story often as an example of what ultra running can teach you about yourself if you are willing to push past the desire to quit. So thanks for that. It helped me get through the Slam and it will help me for future efforts.
Dennis A.

I busted my big toe (black nail) and a nice trail tattoo on the forearm after falling at the Dome. I like the fact that I ran the last two laps almost at the same pace. And yes, it's been nice to drop 10 extra lbs. since you started couching me! A.

I do love the punishment indeed! Today, I ran the 26 miler without walking! Well, actually I settled for 25 because I ran out of water and it was so freaking hot! I kept repeating to myself "No walking allowed!" for five hours, even after landing on a superman fashion, I had to run right after getting back on my feet! 

Thanks for all your awesome coaching!!!!

Hills.  - This was amazing.  I am still in shock over the whole thing.  As I was running up, I kept thinking about that first time we ran it together and how it seemed impossible back then.  This run was still a challenge, but nothing like it used to be and I ran all the way up and got faster each time!!! The power walking is a real challenge - I can see that the real trick is going to be trying to maintain a steady and fast powerwalk even when I am dog tired during my 100. S.

Gotta share just a tad bit of good news: After running 2 quality workouts Fri & Sat and an easy trail pace but solid route this morning, I finished the day with a great tempo run on TL. 5 miles in 43 min. Yeh! I can only write this to my coach!

I can say the success and word of the day was: consistency. I ran rock solid with no real high's or low's. Nutrition spot on. Finished strong! Yeh! Cris S.

Huge PR! Felt bad all of for 5 min only!  I felt like I was flying over that rough terrain.  Felt great! Jim O.

All I can say it THANK YOU Olga King. Today I ran all the way up Smokey Valley, Mountainclimb, Ladera to the second Backtrail on the Sunday road hills run - first time ever to run all the hills! Now to get faster at it! Stephanie H.

So, I'm home recovering from the race.  Sore quads but that is to be expected because of the hills.  You'd be glad to know I actually ran negative splits.  My second loop was 2 min. faster than the first.

I really am grateful for all that you've done for me so far, and even though things haven't been as I'd hoped, I have still learnt a lot. Thank you also for being so supportive of me.

Yes it was worth it. I woke up this morning and my first thought was that I really did run 100 miles. I'm glad I stuck with it with the injury set backs. It shows what can be done. And of course you rocked as my coach. I think a lot of coaches would have given up on me once I bust my foot. Thanks for sticking with me and helping me believe   I could do it. And that best sound bite "it is hard." And, not that I care, I wasn't DFL! Did you see the drop rate? About half. It doesn't make sense. The weather was perfect and the course is really nice. I think a lot of HCTR folks could do well at this race. There's a lot of short rolling hills and some mildly rocky sections. Anyone training in the green belt would have it down. Sometimes it can be hot and humid (not this year) but by early June people in TX have been running hot and humid for 2 months. It's a nice race and the people were good. Talk to you when I get back. Julia

I was telling my friend that I ran with tonight that the gains I made with you came so quick it was incredible. I can see I am much stronger now....thanks to you. G.

I know I am a stronger, faster runner right now than this time last year.  C.

Hey, thanks a lot! I owe a lot to you and whenever I'm asked how I got to where I'm at, you're always a big part of it. This past year was a real shock to me. I went to Cactus and planned on a 33 hour finish, the at Rocky, I went just to try and finish, and if that was in sight, then I'd try for a sub 24. Crazy, huh? Your training is still with me! T.

I am feeling stronger and love that feeling.  J. 

I told some friends that I should write a book.  How to go from not running to ultramarathon in 18 months. Thanks for all your help and support!!! J

Thank you - I know I have gotten much stronger in the past weeks since I started your workouts.

I really felt I was benefitting greatly from the coaching and just beginning to feel fitter and stronger. N..
Over the past few weeks since I started working with you I've enjoyed my running so much and begun to feel so much stronger (mentally and physically) - I've loved pushing myself on hard sessions and the two longer runs at the weekends.  This is exactly what I wanted to feel - as although I want to improve so that I can race and be as competitive as I can be, the major reason that I want to become stronger, faster, fitter is because I love being outside and running so much and it's really good for me.  

I feel like I can run stronger for longer when I'm actually doing the running part. J.

She's trying to kill me, I swear that woman is going to kill me BEFORE the race. I had to take a nap before lunch I was so tired!

Thanks, Olga! Can't say enough good things about you and your coaching, just love it! 

Well we must be doing something right since I am feeling pretty darn good, I have to say! Angela.

I have never worked so damn hard on my own! And to think I thought the tempo run was a challenge! Ha!  I was beyond sore next day, but I just thought sore=soar in my next race! I value the quality of the weeks you put together. Thanks you! E.

And a very special thank you note to Olga who helped me to complete CR100 with the proper training, care, and advice! Arturo.

Thank you for all your support all season in preparing me well for CR this year. Cris

Thanks again for solid training schedule. I thrive on having someone tell me what to do. It works and I'm keeping it up. Elizabeth

I have felt like my running has been faster and I've been stronger so thank you for all the great workouts that obviously resulted in my strong performances.  I'm not sure what I'm doing for 2013 but when it comes to serious training I'll be hiring you again. Jeanette

Thank you for your training, friendship, and support.  I a truly grateful to you!

Olga, Thank you for helping me to discover that there is more potential in me that I originally thought. Arturo