A New Yoga For Runners Journey In 2017

By January 10, 2017Yoga

I’ve taken the plunge and booked on my next teacher training course – Teaching Yoga to Athletes and in Sport.  Being a running and triathlon coach plus a yoga teacher is a bit like being a hypocrite.  As a coach you tell your groups they need to work harder in training, train harder, race harder to see results.  As a yoga teacher you tell your students they need to relax.

Which role do I like the best?  The answer is both!

I love teaching hardcore strength, high intensity circuit or core sessions that help people get results in their training, see them glowing and see them buzzing and feeling great after releasing mega endorphins.
I love teaching yoga and seeing people completely relax in savasana.
I love telling runners how to maximise their running potential.

Here’s an example of a session I recommended to a runner this week training for Manchester Marathon:

Week 4 of training – 1 mile warm up, 20 minutes at marathon pace, 10 x 60 seconds at 5k pace with 60 seconds jog recoveries straight into 15 minutes at marathon pace, 5 minutes jog.

This is where balance comes into training, making the session tough but not too tough, working at different levels.

Here’s some tips on balancing out strength and relaxation that I hope aren’t too contradictory:

Be grateful – you can run, you can train, you can get out in the fresh air, you can enter races, you are free!

Do yoga – not just to stretch, to gently strengthen tendons, joints and muscles.

Yoga comes from the inside, you don’t really notice what’s happening, it helps the mind, the internal organs, the connective tissue. Yoga will strengthen your mind to provide some inspiration to feel more connected to your running. It will help keep you strong in races when you feel tired and your mind will be strong to keep you focused and strong.

Yoga will teach you how to breathe fully instead of shallowly. Increase lung capacity, increase lung power, run faster for longer. Balance your training. It’s key to not overdo your training.

Yoga helps you with body awareness so you know when you’re doing too much. This allows you to train hard without burning out.

Take time out for yourself, your body works hard in running – Practise relaxation and rest up in savasana, legs over a chair or legs up the wall, release stale blood from the legs, relax the calves, reset the body, reset the back and shoulders, lengthen the hamstrings, open the hips, send fresh oxygen around the body. A runner I coach says doing this has given his running a new lease of life. There’s so many benefits to doing this one simple thing I can’t believe it isn’t on prescription!

Regarding running, shake things up a bit! Go to parkrun www.parkrun.org, join a running club local to you. Try intervals, hills, x country, trail runs, mile repeats, tempo runs. Try a different session once a week, keep a running log and mark which ones you enjoyed the most.

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading, check in again to hear how the Yoga for sports weekends went.