yoga or not?
With only just over a week to go till the WHW race I’m starting to feel very nervous now. I was supposed to be taking part in an ultra event last weekend but something just didn’t feel right about potentially running 35-45 miles 2 weeks before my epic challenge. I had been experiencing a bit of stiffness just behind my right knee that only bothered me when I stopped running. I’m more than confident in my own physical and mental capabilities as I have pushed myself to the limits of both but having endured the WHW last year I know how brutally hard it is. For this reason I didn’t want to put any thing at jeopardy so I pulled out of my last long planned event. So roll on the tapering!!! I’m loving it!!! I’m still training at the gym and doing circuits, weights ect but I’ve cut my running right down. ( to barely none!!) Just short 3-4 miles off road always with positive thoughts in my mind.
Last night after my run I decided to try yoga at KLC. I; like many parents, am acutely aware of the serious health problems our children face in the future from far too much screen time, lack of physical activity and an abundance of crap foods. I try to feed my daughter well but I know she has sweets when she is away from home. She is relatively active but I think its important to spend time together doing fun active things (this is hard with teenagers!!). At KLC there are very few classes that young adults can attend with an adult which I think is a real shame. I know Abi (who is 15) would come with me to more if she was allowed. So luckily the yoga class on a Wednesday night allows under 16’s to attend with an adult.
The class is called ‘freestyle fitness yoga‘ and is a level 1 class so suitable for beginners or all abilities. It was nice and dynamic so the movements flowed from one, slowly into another. There was lots of lumbar mobility throughout and sections in standing and then moving down onto the floor. I ran a couple of miles prior to the class so was already nice and warm (and a bit sweaty). The final few minutes were spent relaxing, thinking about our breathing and focusing on the space our body was inhabiting. I loved this bit as its very rare to just simply lie down and ‘be’. Abi enjoyed it and had a bit of a laugh at me trying to touch my toes in sitting (oh she may laugh now with the joy of youth on her side!!) but I have never been particularly flexible through my back and hamstrings. I came away feeling like I’d had a lovely stretch out after a long day and would definitely return.
However (!!!!), for most of the runners I see yoga isn’t something I would recommend. New runners need to get themselves strong to help reduce their risk of injuries and their efforts would be much better spent on going to strength based classed that incorporate weights. There is a whole host of research now that supports S&C based exercises for reducing the risk of injury in runners but pretty much non that supports stretching. Most running injuries are caused by errors in training, poor running form and weak muscles. Very few people actually have true restrictions in muscles length which reduces ROM and to actually change a muscles length takes weeks of intensive stretching and neuromuscular retraining which is usually achieved by dynamic movements. If you get the basic bits of the puzzle right then yes yoga may be beneficial to help produce better movement form and it will certainly improve balance and core stability. It also helps focus breathing and body awareness and encourages long strong muscles. As part of an all round approach to training and an active lifestyle yoga can be a great addition but for runners you can’t beat good form, the inclusion of strength and conditioning and a good training programme.
What are your thoughts on this?
Me and my daughter. Our children look up to us; inspire them, listen to them, interact with them and help them be the best they can be.